26th St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
All four sides demonstrated on day one of the 26th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow that they mean business. Both games required an extra chukka and a golden goal to decide their winners, as the genuinely competitive edge was there for all to see even at this early stage.
Defending champions Julius Baer beat a new-look Brioni side in the tournamentâ€™s first game, as talisman Pablo MacDonough began just as he left off last year with an outstanding personal performance, scoring the first and last goals of the match and dominating for large periods throughout. MacDonough was the most valuable player at the Argentine Open final last month, where he lost to La Dolfina. And the Argentine season provided an interesting backdrop here, as MacDonough fought an intriguing battle against returning high-goal hero David â€™Pelonâ€™ Stirling on the Brioni side. Stirling is widely expected to replace Mariano Aguerre for La Dolfina next season.
“It was a tough, close game and we were a bit unlucky with some decisions,” said Stirling after the game. “But I think we will be back for the final.”
“The horses felt a bit tired towards the end, but the field played beautifully,” said English arena polo specialist Chris Hyde. “We are an entirely new team and so will improve as the tournament goes on.”
The main talking point of the second game of the day was the dramatic fourth-chukka comeback of team Maserati. The foursome has finished fourth in the last two years of the tournament but showed some terrific spirit to take the game into an extra chukka, after trailing 5-2 with just six minutes to play. Federico Bachmann, Pablo Jauretche and Ignacio Tillous shared the three goals that brought them level, only for Australian captain Glen Gilmore to cruelly cut short their celebrations with the golden goal that gave Cartier victory. Fellow Australian Rob Archibald made an impressive debut on the snow, handling the physicality of the contest well as the two sides played hard right from the off.