Trachten and tradition....at OctoberFest Cup Tagmersheim
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
The perfect polo weekend got off to a grand start on Friday 13th squashing all old superstitions flat! Tagmersheim Polo Club's OctoberFest tournament has become a late summer highlight in the German Polo calendar. The quirky mix of players and spectators in trachten, combined with the traditions upheld by the Schleppjagdverin Bayern who enthral the crowd on the final day with a display of horses and hounds in full flight is a sight to behold! A special atmosphere and surroundings for the official photographer, Christian Prandl www.perfectshot.at, to excel in.
Now while the final day always draws the bigger crowd, I personally love Saturday's games. The nerves have settled and the ponies are accustomed to their new surroundings. All options are open, the games hard, competitive and intense. We could watch Segundo Copello +3 taking control of most of the line-ups, Christobal Durieu +4 swinging his ponies onto the line of the ball, and of course Patricio Gaynor +4 making it all look easy with his elegant lightness of touch. The intensity of the games was reflected in the scores at the end of the days' play and with only one or two goals between winning and losing, the teams sorted into their slots for the finals.
The first game on the Sunday between Pur Men www.purmen.de and Grimm-Käuffer www.regina-moves.bemergroup.com had a complete party atmosphere to it, with the Pur Men supporters setting up their picnic under the shade of the umbrellas and enthusiastically supporting their team's every move. Oliver Dümpelmann's runs got boisterous applause and both he and Reinhold Hoffmann for Pur Men were able to effectively pick up passes from the dynamic combination of Augustin Guavara and Francisco Rattagan +3 playing at positions 3 and 4. Never to be underestimated, Grimm-Käuffer, with Christobal Durieu turned up the heat in the third chukker and looked ready to turn the game around! Soeren Haestrup played above his -1 handicap, and was a master of defense. Ingo von Morgenstern at Nr 1 for Grimm-Käuffer was always well in position to pick up the long balls from Christobal and head towards goal. Benedikt Jaenecke was in powerful action mode, fighting along the boards for every ball, so the finish was unbelievably close... 6 ½ for Pur Men and 6 for Grimm-Käuffer.
Team Luxembourg were first-time guests at Tagmersheim Polo Club and were competing against the home team for third place. Tagmersheim fielded a family team with Isabel von Morgenstern, her son, Benedikt, and daughter, Annabel. They had the support of Segundo Copello playing a brilliant Nr 4, turning that little mare, Rihanna on a sixpence to outwit the powerful duo of Pablo Casero and Roman Rampello for Luxembourg. Benedikt had replaced another player in the first game of the day and so was playing 8 chukkers but he showed no signs of slowing down and his perfect penalty conversions were right on track. Annabel wowed the crowd with her speed and fearlessness, picking up passes and riding off effectively. However, she kindly left the goal scoring to her mother, Isabel, who put two goals between the posts.
Polo Club Luxembourg http://www.polo.lu/, however, had their own secret weapon – Paloma Lauro -2 handicap and 12 years old. From the start, it was obvious that this young lady would be a strong contender for Most Valuable Player prize. Her anticipation was remarkable, turning and getting onto the line of the ball and scoring two goals for her side. Peter Herrig and Cindy Hite who shared a position, were strong in their ride-offs and gave plenty of assistance to Pablo and Roman who combined brilliantly and broke clear time and time again to bring their team to third place with a 6-3 win over Team Tagmersheim.
This led to the game for first place, but before the game began, we were treated to the traditional display by the local drag hunt, Schleppjagdverein Bayern http://www.schleppjagd.de/. A fascinating break from the polo, and display of horse- and hound- manship and a real crowd-pleaser.
And then, it was time for the final showdown.... van Laack https://www.vanlaack.com/de/ vs Harbour Space https://harbour.space/. Spectators were in for a magnificent display of open polo. Miguel Amieva +4 was the playmaker for Harbour Space, his years of experience showing in the game, helping him to keep his cool and concentration, placing the ball for his aggressive Nr 2 Polina Nasarova. Heino Ferch, on determined form, was the man for Team van Laack, nudging Polina off her line. It was a gripping first half with Harbour Space keeping a tight hold on the scoring, but in the first seconds of the third chukker Patricio Gaynor, Nr3 for van Laack, swept in from nowhere, sensationally clearing the ball from Amieva inches from the goal line. The wake-up call. Patricio combined with Heino to make breaks and runs to goal which kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. Andreas Golling, Nr2 for van Laack, then pulled off two goals for his team and it was all looking much more open. Amieva, sensing the danger, tried to slow the game down, holding the ball until his players were in position, then feeding Susanna Jahn, his Nr2, who then scored. A few minutes later Amieva drove a 30 yard penalty between the posts. With time ticking down, Patricio was forced to work even harder and compete for the ball with some snappy stick work, shots at goal either going just wide or being deflected by the opposition. Patricia Rohde-Deutsch, van Laack's Nr1, gave a courageous performance after her fall the previous day and stopped numerous backhand shots from Harbour Space in mid-flight, springing into attack. It was an electrifying fourth chukker and in the final seconds Nr1 for Harbour Space, Svetlana Velikanova pounced on a loose ball and pinged it between the posts for the final score of 71/2 for Harbour Space and 4 for van Laack.
Players and spectators gathered around the heavily laden prize-giving table and Ingo von Morgenstern thanked his wife, Isabel, and her team with Angela Streller for their commitment and attention to detail. He got a good-natured laugh from the players when he said he often had problems with umpires.....but only because he set a high standard. Clearly, with Gonzalo Lopez Vargas @gonza.lv, selected as part of the Palermo Open umpiring squad, his exacting standard had been achieved.
As predicted, Most Valuable Player went to Paloma Lauro and Best Playing Pony was the sleek little mare, Blanca, owned by Heino Ferch.
Svetlana cracked open the champagne dousing the players after the group photo, and with that the Tagmersheim OctoberFest tournament was successfully concluded over for another year. Prost Tagmersheim!