Taking it to the Edge .....Swiss Low Goal
"We love the super field and the relaxed atmosphere here in Polo Bern" was a comment I heard from players who enjoyed a hot summer weekend of polo 8 -9th July in Bern. And while Christopher Kiesel looks more like a surfer dude than a polo player and gives off that laid-back vibe, I was in Polo Bern on the Friday to watch the busy preparations by Chris and his team. The field had been watered and was being given another cut, lines were drawn, sun umbrellas, chairs and tables were being set up with temperatures soaring into the low 30°.s
And just like that, it rained early on Saturday morning, as if we had ordered it. Great for the field and causing a slight drop in temperature combined with a light breeze. Players and ponies certainly appreciated that, and gave us two first class games. Martin Fewster, the umpire from the UK, remarked on the level of improvement in this low goal tournament. These late afternoon games then merged into the players night, with a barbecue and local band, Dunon Lane, smashing out their hits to an enthusiastic crowd.
Talk about half-goal games! Sunday gave us two of them, showing just how close this low goal championship was. Intense and thoroughly entertaining, with plenty of up-front play and dramatic defensive saves, they really took it to the edge.
Each team had a +2 player directing and managing the play, and all four were obviously completely focused and ready for battle.
The first game between Colomé Largovia Polo and Polo Bern saw Chris Kiesel using speed, judgement and his ability to place the ball wherever he wanted to out play Dominik Velazquez's vibrant performance and bring Team Polo Bern to third place in this championship... 41/2 to 4.
The stage was set for a thrilling final between the trophy holders, Amalaya Polo Club Zug and Gräff and Friends from Polo Park Zürich. We knew it would be a high-energy game and we weren't disappointed. Tommy Gräff seemed unstoppable, ruthlessly exploiting any spaces left by the opposition, but Janik Örtli's intensity was relentless. Despite a bit of a wobble in his team's performance in the third chukker, Janik's pace never slowed up. His determination was almost tangible and with the help of his well-positioned team, Amamlaya Polo Club Zug pushed Team Gräff and Friends to second place. The trophy stays in Zug
Amalaya Polo Club Zug:- Aline Haerry, Vivian Sauter, Thomas Wolfensberger, Janik Örtli
GräfF and Friends:- Anja Gutbrod, Reto Hausamann, Markus Gräff, Thommy Gräff
Polo Bern AG:- Ann-Kathrin Brändle, Marcel Lanz, Chris Kiesel, Jobst Wagner
Colomé Largovia Polo:- Nicolas Eckenstein, Gabriel Eckenstein, Gian-Andrea Conrad, Dominik Velazquez
Best Player and leading scorer:- Janik Örtli
MVP:- Markus Gräff
BPP:- Inocente owned and played by Chris Kiesel
Thanks Polo Bern for the Swiss Low Goal 2023
Photo credit Victoria Adams Photography