Updated: Aug 12, 2020
It was girls only at Polo Park Zurich's 21st International Ladies Tournament 8-9th August. 26 female players competing at two levels - the Challenge League, a chance for many to play their first competitive polo, and the Medium Goal League where two professional female players, Rebecca Walters UK +6 and Jeanine Hugo-Menendez SA +5, strengthened and directed their higher goal team mates.
We were blessed with a sizzling, sun-drenched weekend and polo to match. Saturday's games saw the three teams in the Challenge League sorting themselves out and pushing for points in a Round Robin competition. Shiva Strub, youngest player of this tournament at only 15 years of age, opened up the scoring for her team, Princes de Venoge, who went into Sunday with 2 points, Team Jolies Filles and Team Grand Cru with 1 point each.
The game between Estée Lauder and Aston Martin provided an entertaining start to the Medium Goal League. The teams were balanced and the chukkers tight, with both sides having opportunities to win this game early on. And, at first it appeared to be going in Estée Lauder's favour, with Rebecca's powerful hit-ins setting up Ann Meier +1 CH for some classy runs. Aston Martin, however, were not prepared to provide a tame surrender and Jeanine called for her team to maintain their relentless pursuit. This paid off and they moved into Sunday with a hard fought win.
On Sunday the spectators started to gather early for the first game of the Challenge League at 11:00. The Place Salon normally in Zug, was set up field side to tidy and style heat-dampened hair and ice buckets were filled with complementary drinks. The prize-giving table was weighed down with prizes and sponsor gifts. Team Princes de Venoge came onto the field displaying a well-earned confidence. Belen Podesta and Anja Gutbrod were a great combination. Assisted by Antonia Sturzeis/ Claudia Ide and their goal getter, Shiva Strub,this team came out on top of the Challenge League with Jolies Filles second and Grand Cru third. The Most Valuable Player in this league was awarded to young Shiva.
At 12:30 we were ready for the Medium Goal, the two sides escorted onto the field by luxury cars from Aston Martin and introduced to the swelling spectator crowd. The meeting between these two outstanding teams did not disappoint. The teams had had time to get to know each other and they gave an inspiring performance. Again Estée Lauder went into the lead and kept up their half goal advantage until half-time, but the third chukker was the game changer. Jeanine was on very fast ponies and seemed to be everywhere. Morgan van Overbroek +2 BE came out on her favourite pony, the 6 year old Torcacita, and the body language was determination. Beata Dudler +1CH on her special third chukker pony, Lucy, looked equally determined. A hard fight ahead! Annita Van der Hoeven +1NL caught the spirit and the four powered into this chukker catching Estée Lauder daydreaming for a split second. Rebecca called to her side and got Indira Krattiger BR sprinting down the field to help in defence with heavy ride-offs. Larissa Esser +1NL gave her team some cracking backhands but Team Aston Martin had caught a whiff of success and moved into the lead. At this point, Estée Lauder were running out of time. In the end, it was Aston Martin's day and they took the prize for first place at this 21st International Ladies Tournament.In this league, it was Beata Dudler who was awarded the prize for the Most Valuable Player.
Gifts for the Girls
It would be hard to beat a prize giving like this at Polo Park Zurich's 21st International Ladies Tournament. There were smiles all round as each player was presented with wine, cosmetics, gift vouchers and polo equipment. DJ Zoe heated up the music and as I left the field I could see all 26 female players enjoying a drink together with family and friends. Fabulous atmosphere. Polo Park Zurich has done it again.