Injuries have costly impacts on high-goal teams
By Alex Webbe
According to Answers.com, polo is the second most dangerous sport in the world, second only to car racing, but you’d be hard pressed to convince the field of players competing in this year’s Cartier Queens Cup at the Guards Polo Club in London of that.
In a rash of recent injuries to players competing in England a number of the game’s top players have been sidelined, creating hardships for their teammates while they are recuperating.
Both Zacara and Dubai suffered severe setbacks in Queens Cup play with Zacara team captain Lyndon Lea and 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero being sidelined with injuries. Dubai’s Adolfo Cambiaso, the highest ranked player in the game today, was injured so severely that he was unable to play in the final of the Queens Cup, watching from the sidelines as his Dubai team fell to King Power Foxes 11-10 in overtime.
Both Cambiaso and Cavanagh have returned to the Dubai lineup, and showed good form in their opening game of the British Open, pummeling HB Polo (Ludovic Pailloncy, Cristian Laprida, Ignacio Toccalino and Sebastien Pailloncy), 17-9. Juan Martin Nero returned to the Zacara lineup as well, but an opening British Open loss to Salkeld (Nick Clarke, Juan Griz Zavaleta, Joaquin Pittaluga and Luke Tomlinson) might be an indication of a longer lasting injury to the Argentine 10-goaler.
Thai Polo patron Harald Link was injured in the subsidiary match of the Warwickshire Cup at the Cirencester Polo club and was forced to miss his team’s 2015 British Open debut while King Power’s Guillermo Willington was hurt when his horse went down in the fifth chukker. Willington left the field with Francisco Elizalde filling in as King Power held on to their lead and recorded a 10-6 win.
The problem facing top teams when one of their key players suffers an injury is the inability to properly replace him in the lineup. It isn’t just the ability to find a player of a like handicap, but trying to find someone who will have the same chemistry with the other players. The aspect of the horses is another consideration. Regardless of the riding skills of a player, playing unfamiliar horses is bound to have an effect on his ability on the field.
Injuries are a part of the game, to be certain, but the impact these injuries have on a team can be devastating