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  • Writer's picturekieseljanmarie

Chilling Wind but Thrilling Final

Updated: Jun 26


" My weather app doesn't say ANYTHING about this" muttered Pete, groundsman and technician at Polo Park Zürich, as he glared at the heavy rain clouds threatening to break over us. For years we had been blessed with sunshine and blue skies for the Swiss Medium Goal, but this year things were different. Games on Thursday, 20th June, had been played in muggy heat before the rain hit in the early evening and continued through Friday, cancelling Saturday's games and forcing a penalty shootout to determine places for the Sunday finals. However, on Sunday morning heavy grey clouds and constant drizzle meant that the Umpires, with Polo Park's manager, Manuel Carranza, decided to have a penalty shootout for the day's first game



This was for third place between Los Lobos and Polo Club Zug. Most players hate a shootout, nerves are stretched and results are unpredictable. Spectators find it all a bit difficult to follow, so while this was happening I was able to get some children out of the tent and onto the sidelines for a bit of walking stick fun. Certainly some talent there! And back on the playing field we had our first result of the day 5 - 4 for Polo Club Zug. It was disappointing for the players to have a second game cancelled but, as always, safety first.

By midday the sky was brightening up a bit and the umpires agreed that the final would take place with the option of stopping the game immediately should they feel the field was too dangerous for ponies and players. Team Equilibrium and Team Gräff and Friends were the contenders for first place. They agreed, and, while I'm sure the umpires gave a pre-match pep-talk about safety, caution went to the winds as soon as the ball was thrown in. One of the major attributes of a polo player is that they don't hang about....they go! And, here in Polo Park Zürich, they certainly did. It was just so much fun to commentate this game.


Horsepower is always a big factor in our sport and the speed and quality of these ponies in the final was just off the scale. Both teams demonstrated the right mix of talent and timing from the start. Thommy Gräff at Nr 4 for Gräff and Friends was superbly mounted, his ponies demonstrating phenomenal acceleration. His team mate , Segundo Copello, is such an athletic player, fast and elusive, reading the game well and never giving up. Thommy was also playing with his father, Markus. A well tried and tested combination. David Kalberer came out on his impressive pony No Mi Olvides, for the first chukker, and continued through the game as a steadily supportive Nr1.

But team Gräff and Friends were playing against last year's champions, Team Equilibrium ... another father and son quality combination of Daniel and Thomas Aegerter, combining with that amazingly talented young player, Manuel Bereterbide and the great perfectionist, Francisco Fucci. And they played with the conviction of a team on the march to retain this trophy. By halftime and the score 7 - 4 1/2 it looked as if they might just have it all their own way, but Team Gräff and Friends came back revitalized after the break and gave us an electrifying third chukker with a frenzy of pace.


However, the fourth chukker had Team Equilibrium regaining their calm and quality, with Fucci able to impose himself on the game. Thommy and Segundo gave it their all, trying to limit the damage, but Team Equilibrium came in champions with 9 - 51/2


Now, my job as a commentator is not

just game focused. I was also asked to make sure that spectators realized that lunch was served in the hospitality tent. But this final was such a thriller, the ultimate crowd- pleaser, that it took a while for the spectaors to be aware that "lunch is served". It was difficult to leave field-side. No one wanted to miss the action.



Dessert was accompanied by the last game of the afternoon for fifth place. A tight encounter won by G-Squared with 5 - 4 against Bien Mirada.


There's always a pleasant crowd at Polo Park Zürich tournaments ready to enjoy the atmosphere and cheer the teams during the prize-giving ceremony. The organizers were pleased and relieved that rain had held off. A relaxed atmosphere as we said our good-byes.

Sundays at Polo Park Zürich ... we'll be back.






Winners

Equilibrium Daniel Aegerter, Thomas Aegerter

Manuel Bereterbide Francisco Fucci


Gräff and Friends Markus Gräff

Thommy Gräff David Kalberer Segundo Copello


Polo Club Zug Norman Watson

Charles Knott Janik Oertli

Facundo Guevera


Los Lobos Morgan Van Overbroek/Armand

le Page Ann-Kathrin Brändle

Christopher Kiesel Manuel Carranza


G-Squared Katja Grauwiler Richard Harris

Nik Rogerson Micky Duggan


Bien Mirada Stefan Roth Fabian Bolanterio Luca and Fabio Meier


MVP professional Francisco Fucci / Amateur Thommy Gräff

BPP Chopera owned by Daniel Aegerter, played by Francisco Fucci

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