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Families and Friends do Swiss Low Goal




The weekend of 13-15th August was Swiss Low Goal weekend at Polo Bern and very obviously one for polo families and their friends. In blistering heat, shady umbrellas were erected, home-made lemonade served, picnics set up and sun-screen slathered on. Sun hats outnumbered polo helmets and pets sprawled into any cooler spot available.

"Wow, is this Low Goal?" is what I heard as I arrived field-side on the Friday. Checking the action I could see that Sébastian Le Page's team, Los Lobos, with his wife Morgan Van Overbroek, son Armand Le Page and Facundo Kelly were battling with Team Hausammann comprising of Reto Hausammann, Sacha Djafarian, Andrew Guthrie and Walter Cortez. Both teams from Polo Park Zürich were packed with experienced, acrobatic operators who would thrill us for the rest of the weekend. Walter Cortez was on brilliant form with both his penalties and passes, an example being a well placed pass in the third chukker to Andrew Guthrie who swept the ball between the posts putting their team ahead by 51/2 - 1. But Facundo Kelly is a streetwise performer and upped the game's pace in the fourth chukker, setting his team alight to bring their final score to a close 5 to Team Hausammann's 61/2


Local Heroes


Next up was the local Team Polo Bern with Ann Meier up front in attacking mode supported by Thijs Povel, Chris Kiesel, club trainer and manager, and Jobst Wagner, club President. They were in a Round Robin with Team Polo Club Zug who presented a team with Aline Haerry, Vivian Sauter, Andrew Drummond and Juan Marenda, and would stay on the field after two chukkers to play Team Scheckenstein from Largovia Polo Club with Nicolas Eckenstein and his father Gabriel, Marcel Lanz and Dominik Velazques. Polo Bern needed a bit more time to come to terms with Team Zug, losing out at the end of their two chukkers. Chris and Thijs combined better as they moved into their second two chukkers against Team Scheckenstein. Thijs exploited any space available putting himself into perfect position for the passes from Chris and Polo Bern came in winners here.

Saturday saw more high-intensity action with Polo Bern holding Team Hausammann for the first chukker as Chris Kiesel, on a fast thoroughbred, Muli, directed play and Jobst Wagner effective in defense with a number of spectacular saves. It was not enough, however, to defeat Team Hausammann who were fast emerging as potential favorites for the title of Swiss Low Goal champions. By the end of the day it was clear that Los Lobos, after a decisive win against Team Zug , would be their formidable competitors.


Infinity Pool??

Saturday night was barbecue night up on the clubhouse terrace. With the sweep of the field below us and the mountains as our backdrop, it was picture perfect Switzerland. The comment that an infinity pool "might be a nice addition" brought laughter from the crowd of family and friends enjoying a truly splendid summer evening with Pimms, salads, steaks and the usual aprés-polo chat of moves made, fouls committed and ponies compared.


Thriller

Honestly, I felt for the umpire, Micky Keuper. Sunday was even hotter and he looked as if he was battling through a sauna. The young women, Isabel and Kathrin on scoreboard and timekeeping were true troopers too, never missing a beat.

For Team Zug, Aline Haerry's performance was lifted a level by the support of her friends providing her with a personal fan club and giving her energy for yet more of her, by now well known, solo runs to goal. Andrew Drummond, reading the game well with his clear, clean shots, combined with Vivian Sauter and Juan Marenda's capable consistency to bring this team to third place.


It's always great to see a new young player out on the field and Nicolas Eckenstein was thrilled to be playing his first serious tournament with his father. His calm and quiet concentration on the field was commendable. However, despite super pace from Dominik Velazquez and good all-round performance by Marcel Lanz, it was Polo Bern that came in fourth.

The final, Team Hausammann vs Los Lobos, came through a thriller. Walter Cortez was superbly mounted and obviously relished every second of every challenge put up by Facundo Kelly who had shown firm attacking intent from the start. The defensive pairing of Morgan and Sébastian

was hard at work, but it was young Armand Le Page who scored two quick goals in the third chukker bringing their team back in the running. Cortez then pushed Sacha Djafarian to up his approach play and keep the opposition busy. A penalty converted by Cortez in the final minutes of the last chukker confirmed Team Hausammann's victory and ultimately concluded an entertaining and competitively compelling tournament.

Walter Cortez was unanimously voted in as MVP and BPP was Mara, played by Morgan Van Overbroek. Nearside.ch donated the prizes and gave a special prize to Swiss young star, Nicolas Eckenstien. Thank you Polo Bern for this year's Swiss Low Goal Championships.




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