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Sun 28th Jan 2018

The Red Shirts of Cartier Win Again!

Three days of thrilling action comes to a head in St. Moritz

The 'Godfather of Polo' Reto Gaudenzi, who is the man responsible for introducing the snow polo to the world and now is CEO and organiser extraordinaire of the greatest snow polo event on earth told us that, "God must be a polo player". The almighty certainly must be a polo fan as not only has the ice been frozen to optimum depth, the snow has been crisp and plentiful, but also the sun has been warming the thousands of spectators gathered in the bustling Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz stands for the final day of thrilling snow polo. 

 
The first match saw 2017 runners-up Badrutt's Palace take to the arena against Azerbaijan Land of Fire for the La Martina Cup. Azerbaijan, fresh from their win against the same team yesterday, were keen to have a repeat performance. With luck on their side and the pristine arena ready for action, cousins Adrian and 'Lala' Laplacette were on their usual, vivacious form, expertly ferrying the ball up and down the arena to thunderous applause from the Azerbaijan fan-base in the stands. By half-time the scoreboard read 3-2 in Azerbaijan's favour and the goal scoring bonanza didn't stop there. Despite efforts from top goal scorer Melissa 'hat-trick' Ganzi and her team, the boys in white had luck on their side and by the beginning of the final chukka it looked like it was all over. But, showing true resilience Badrutt's Palace came back fighting, with a goal in the final moments, however it just wasn't enough and Azerbaijan rode away the winners 5-4. Following the match, Enrico Roselli, CEO of La Martina Europe, presented the teams with their prizes to a roar from the Azerbaijani crowd. Ganzi said after the match, "I was the first woman to come to St. Moritz to play snow polo and it's so amazing to see so many lady players now showing an interest and taking part. I feel like I had a little part to play in that - it's a great feeling."
 
The Final was an epic battle which reflected the three days of fierce challenges - as soon as the first ball was thrown in, the Cartier goal-scoring machines Dario Musso, Chris Hyde, Rommy Gianni and new Cartier teammate Juan Cruz Greguoli were out in force, notching up the initial goals needed against Maserati. As the teams thundered around the frozen lake in the first chukka, the boys in blue, Maserati, stuck to their 'Red Devil' adversaries like glue, desperately trying to keep the goal-scoring firepower at bay. Greguoli was the first to convert his continued efforts on goal, an excellent example of the ease with which these high goal players convert their grass polo expertise to snow. Despite a goal-less first chukka, from half-time, Maserati were taking no prisoners - Hissam Ali Hyder raced up and down the field with Robert Strom and Gerardo Mazzini ably backing him up. In a great play, Strom dribbled through not one, nor two, but three Cartier players to gently place the ball through the posts, thus narrowing the gap between the scores to 3½-3 going into the final chukka. As the final chukka of the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 2018 ticked by, Hyde suddenly became alive with polo fervour. Following a perfect penalty 4 goal, to put the scores to 4½-3 he raced in front of the tense crowd with his stick in the air, who responded with a roar of thunderous applause led by the Cartier Managing Director (Switzerland) Mrs Laurence Bourgeois. With 1.41minutes on the clock, Maserati made one more attempt to even the scoreboard and with the successful goal it looked like they might be able to break through, but the clock had other ideas. Tick, tick, tick…and it was all over. The 'Red Devils' won The Cartier Trophy and with it the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 2018 - the third consecutive win for Captain, Rommy Gianni and a monumental seventh win for 'The Prof' himself, Chris Hyde. The Cartier Trophy was presented by Mrs Laurence Bourgeois, Cartier Managing Director (Switzerland) and Mrs Kaethy Dobers, the Boutique Director of Cartier St. Moritz. The Most Valuable Player was awarded to Dario Musso, whilst the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug was presented to Zedan, played by Musso. Unsurprisingly, the Best Playing Patron was presented to the Cartier Captain Rommy Gianni.
And so, the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 2018 drew to a close. The several thousand-throng of spectators had enjoyed the perfect combination of traditional Swiss hospitality and thrilling polo, but most importantly, each and every one of them had enjoyed a fantastic experience. All that remains to be said, is, we can't wait for the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 2019, on 25,26 & 27 January 2019! 
The Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 2018 teams:
Cartier (16): Rommy Gianni (1), Juan Cruz Greguoli (4), Dario Musso (6) & Chris Hyde (5)
Maserati (17): Zhanna Bandurko (0)/Raya Sidorenko (0), Gerardo Mazzini (6), Hissam Ali Hyder (6) & Robert Strom (5)
Badrutt's Palace (16): Melissa Ganzi (0), Juan Bollini (6), Alejandro Novillo Astrada (8) & Tito Gaudenzi (2)
Azerbaijan Land of Fire (16): Rashad Hasanov (2), Elchin Jamalli (3), Adrian Laplacette Jr (6) & Lala Laplacette (5) - Reserves Ali Rzayev (0), Amil Namazov (0) & Tarlan Gurbanaliyev (1)
 
Photograph: Cartier secure the coveted Cartier Trophy once again at the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz. By Polo Times

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