We've got talent!
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
We've got talent! Loads of it! It was effectively on display in Schloss Park Donaueschingen at the 14th International German Championships from 26 to 28 July with 6 teams entertaining us with their skill, courage and speed. The National Youth Trainer, Thomas Winter, www.poloschule.de, had his work cut out keeping an eagle eye out for new talent for his squad. Gone are the days when the commentator had problems keeping the spectators focused on the field and away from the prosecco! These kids gave an inspiring performance of free-running action, good horsemanship and team spirit.
All six teams played to their full-potential, and looked stunningly smart in tournament supplier's Cosmo Polo sports shirts https://cosmo-polo.de/ . Their own team, with the four Grabosch brothers, looked from the start like the team to beat! However, there were definitely some other serious contenders! The title defenders, Engel and Völkers with a team based around their play-maker, Julien Winter, were a determined, well-mounted group. Team Hotel Vierjahreszeiten was noticeably well-balanced with a goal-orientated Henri Dold and a sharply-defensive Janik Oertli.
The tournament opened with demanding games at temperatures of 32 degrees. Players may have been a bit over-motivated but swift, instructive umpiring by Micky Keuper and Tony Kyte soon quietened frazzled nerves and tempers so that by the Sunday we knew we were in for three classic games. Action on the Sunday kicked off at 11am with Team Hannibal versus Team Garant and it looked good for Hannibal with Lukas Leibold riding out strongly on Escultura, his 12 year old Brazilian pony and Henriette Querner on Gringa making a quick, clever little goal for her team. Despite powerful attack from Lenny Wolf and strong defence from Benedikt Querner, it was team Garant that came out on top. Balthazar Lama-Kaiser created numerous opportunities for Garant with his hard work combined with natural athletic ability, and Fabian Stege played well over his -2 handicap.
The fight for third place was a close one between Team Haus Fürstenberg and Engel and Völkers. Haus Fürstenberg's Come Dubois from France set his players up for attack with long, lofted, well-placed shots and Leopold Ludorf from Luxembourg showed great anticipation saving the situation for his team time and time again. Ultimately, this was no match for the power of Engel and Völkers who with the invaluable defense of Jasper Martin and the classy attacks of Filipe Odia and Naphat Sprockto won their place on the podium with Winter .
Then to the grand finale! The final showdown between Cosmo Polo with Paul, Anton, Emil and Michl Grabosch, and Hotel Vierjahreszeiten comprising of Henri Dold, Laurenz Gabrin, Janik Oertli and Nicholas Neutze. Vierjahreszeiten started with a 2 goal advantage on the scoreboard meaning that Cosmo couldn't waste any time to make their mark. And they didn't! 2 goals within the first minute. Vierjahreszeiten hit back with a goal, and the game remained tight. Laurenz kept up heavy defense and Henri also swept down the field keeping Vierjahreszeiten in the running until the third chukker. It was then that Cosmo got the bit between their teeth and broke away with both Anton and Paul displaying fast and elusive action ending in 7 goals for Cosmo and 5 for Vierjahreszeiten.
The ponies were exceptional, displaying speed combined with agility and bravery and to just give you a flavour we had the thoroughbred, Blue Moon ridden by Julien Winter and Chaja, a 14-year old Argentinian polo pony belonging to Carlito Velazquez played by Nicholas Neutze. Laurenz Gabrin was thrilled to have his pinto mare, Celina, win Best Playing Pony.
Parents played a huge part in this tournament, grooming, supporting, coaching and shouting encouragement. And their children did them proud! Yes, indeed. We've got talent!