Polo Rider Cup Rocks Chantilly
Chantilly is famous for its castle, its horse museum and horse racing, but this year, 2022, Chantilly was buzzing with the excitement of hosting the second Polo Rider Cup - - 14 teams competing over 10 days from 8th-18th June.
An incredible feat of organization with way over 450 polo ponies, their grooms, players and partners, officials, sponsors and guests, all descending on Chantilly to enjoy splendid surroundings, lavish hospitality and thrilling polo. Thanks to LoudSpeaker Agency I was privileged to be a part of this, as commentator for the live TV global coverage. Arriving for the Quarter Finals, the TV crew of cameramen and technicians plus myself, covered four 6-Chukker matches from two different fields. Piling masses of equipment, cables and cameras into two vans we managed the dash to the next field and everything was set up in record time for me to start on point commentating. A full-on afternoon with eight teams battling their way to the semi-finals.
Surprises and Disappointments
Often in polo the teams are based around a patron and/or sponsor, but the focus of the Polo Rider Cup is the clubs, similar to the focus found in football. And from the start, the team Ellerstina looked like a solid winning machine, with the combination of Jauretche and Chavanne ripping through the opposition's defense, young Sam Sztarkman putting plenty of focus up front, while his father, Alex, used strong backhands to close the back door.
Team Chantilly surprised with their team of young French players and, as locals, were crowd pleasers. With young Bulteau reading the game superbly and putting himself into position to pick up well-timed passes from Jarrige playing at position 3.With their captain, Reynes, keeping his composure under pressure and slicing the ball to Robineau, this team had the potential to reach the finals.
Chatting to Richard Harris, the captain of Team Polo Park Zurich I learned that he was happy with his team of Copello, Amieva and Joaquin and enjoyed the games. However, as defending champions, he was disappointed with the end results, being edged out of the Quarter Finals.
Hamburg was another team that had all the potential, with the father-son combination of Daniel and Caesar Crasemann, enjoying good link-up play. Dumrath freed up space in defense and Zaveleta's quick fire bursts of pace could easily change the momentum, but they could never quite stretch clear of Empire Polo Club in the Quarter Finals and so lost their slot in the semis.
Robert Kofler of Team St Moritz was ecstatic to have worked hard with his team and get into the finals. He was playing with the fast and elusive Kennedy who we'd seen playing confidently with Rinderknecht/Venot. The position 3 was held by the +7 player, Aguerre who's ability and pace could impose itself on the game. However, the opposition was one to be reckoned with: Team Ellerstina. Not only was that magical combination of Jauretche and Chavanne able to give us a master class in anticipating play, they used their supporting players of Sam and Alex Sztarkman to dominate the line-ups, wrestling the ball away for some high-intensity passes towards goal. The alarm bells started to ring just a bit too late for Team St Moritz who came back into the game in the 5th and 6th chukkers. The big question was, could they get the job done in the time remaining. It was not to be. Ellerstina were able to finish their dynamic approach play with the end product!
Winners Polo Rider Cup 2022
Best Scorer: Martin Aguerre
Rookie of the Year: Emil Grabosch
BPP in the Finals: La Virgin played by Nacho Kennedy
Thank you Polo Rider Cup for this great experience.
photo thanks to Andes Agency