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  • Writer's picturekieseljanmarie

The Comeback of Copa di Francesco

It was touch and go for a while! Would Chris van Eupen, Comanche Gallardo and their team get this tournament off the ground? Cancellations, disappointments, difficulties were all taking their toll right up to the day before the tournament weekend 2-4 September. But they did it. And they did it splendidly.

The Copa di Francesco has an interesting history behind it, and André Hieberler, the cup's sponsor, tells this story well. An old clergyman was given a seat in a crowded bus in Buenos Aires by an employee of André's. The old man was impressed by this courtesy and, as he got off the bus, he presented the employee with a coin, explaining that it was blessed and that he was the cardinal of Buenos Aires. A few weeks later this cardinal became Pope. The coin has since embellished the Copa di Francesco and, after a couple of covid-hit years, this was its revival.

Friends and team mates

It was also a reunion. Landsberg polo has always had a loyal group of followers, and from my commentary stand, it was gratifying to see so many familiar faces. Dr Günther Kiesel, founder of the club and its former President, brought his golfing friends along to watch. Retired players and former club members arrived for a bit of nostalgia. And they were treated to three days of absorbing polo, played on a well-prepared field, in perfect late-summer sunshine.

Speed and skill

The Team H3 Polo Passion, with André Hieberler, Chris and Max van Eupen and Comanche Gallardo, looked to me like the most balanced team, with experience of playing together. They did all they could to salvage points on the board, but perhaps the energy involved in getting this tournament up and running had taken its toll, and they were not able to capitalize on an all-round promising performance, coming in at fourth place.

Speed and skill was certainly demonstrated by Team AHAA Manufactur comprised of Coco Juls, Helwig Falch, Cirilo Allende and that ball acrobat, Segundo Copello. Helwig brought out his thoroughbred, Danish King (Danny), a striking grey with incredible pace, while Cirilo shone on Twixi , a five year old dunn playing her first tournament. Segundo was the engine room for the team and Coco was set to bother the opposition with sticking and correct position play. But team coordination was just not quite there, and despite a win against H3 Polo Passion on the Saturday, Sunday saw this team slip to third place.

Patricio Gaynor, that level-headed, elegant player, never slowed his pace, relentlessly directing Team Landsberg Lions, with Patricia Rohde-Deutsch, Phillip Saame and Joachim Feller to second place. The Sunday game saw Phillip start brightly scoring two goals in as many chukkers. Patricia pushed the ball between the posts too and put pressure up front with a number of lofted shots along the side-line. Joachim put on the pace and sliced through the opposition 's defense with his attacking play. The Sunday game was theirs.

Shredding the script

But it was the teams Realeyes with Lorena Renggli, Emanuel Jenisch, Joaquin Copello and Cristian Zarate which made more clean breaks, more quick-fire bursts of speed and, most importantly, more goals, winning all three matches. Joaquin is a very talented player, no doubt about that, reading the game well and timing his passes superbly for his players to show individual brilliance. Both Lorena and Emanuel played above their ratings and Cristian was impressive, relishing every second of every challenge. It was this team's formidable focus which brought them in as winners of the Copa di Francesco 2022.

Patricio Gaynor's Mimosa won Best Playing Pony. Patricio praised Mimosa's 15 seasons of play, explaining that it was, however, now time for her to retire. She's been such a star and we've all enjoyed watching Patricio perform his magic on her. Everyone wishes her a pleasant retirement.

So Polo Club Landsberg-Ammersee finished the season with a splendid tournament.

Thank you Polo Club Landsberg-Ammersee.

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