Following the announcement that polo at all levels had the green light to go ahead, we were pleased to host our first low goal tournament of the season, the Richard Underwood 4 Goal, with a healthy six teams entered. The first game of the Richard Underwood saw Smiths dominate throughout, at one point leading 6 goals to 1 against Bluestone Insurance. In the fourth chukka Bluestone fought back but it was too little too late, and the game concluded 3 – 7.
The second match was a much closer affair, despite Shibumi having a half-goal lead on Los Chinos due to handicap difference. Each team gained a penalty in the first chukka, making it 1 ½ – 1 going into the second. Fresh from playing in the Gold Cup the week before, Zac Beim scored a goal only to have Mark Baldwin follow up by taking the ball from one end to another, making it 2 ½ – 2. As soon as one team scored, the other responded in kind and soon it was 3 ½ – 3. Los Chinos scrabbled to score a goal and it almost went in but was knocked out by Shibumi. A penalty followed and Los Chinos were back in the lead 3 ½ – 4. With 20 seconds to go, Mark Baldwin raced down with the ball towards the goal but could not hold on to it and the clock ran out.
Shibumi’s next opponent was Sirius. Having conceded defeat the day before they were not keen to repeat this and set a punishing pace. Goals from Mark Baldwin, Freddie Meade and Robbie Slatter brought the score up to 4 – 0 by the end of the first chukka. In the second, Alex Boucher, in his dedication to score the first goal for Sirius, sent the ball and himself through the posts with an unplanned dismount. Shibumi quickly responded, passing the ball between them to reach Robbie, 1 – 5. Freddie Meade brough the ball close to the line and in their attempt to swipe it away from danger, Sirius accidently knocked it through and it was 1 – 6 to the boys in red. Sirius converted a penalty, but a final goal by Freddie saw Shibumi win 2 goals to 7.
The following league game saw Smiths repeat their impressive win, this time against Beaufort. Cristian Chaves kicked things off with a goal, followed up by a great solo effort by Kim Croutear to make it 2 – 0. George Deverall had a chance to add to Beaufort’s side of the scoreboard with a penalty, but it just went wide. Chaves took the ball straight from the line to the posts on the other side of the field, with none of the Beaufort team able to catch him before he made it 0 – 3. Deverall then scored a great goal, sending the ball soaring through the air and hitting the post, but tapped it through before the Smiths team could get their sticks to it. However, Smiths continued their onslaught, with Chaves and Seb Chialvo sweeping the ball away and past the Beaufort defences. By the final bell the score was 3 – 8.
In the game between Los Chinos and Sirius, father and son duo, Zac and Tom Beim secured the first two goals for Los Chinos. Sirius then drew level 2 – 2, converting two penalties thanks to Bobby Melville. Alex Boucher made it 3 – 2, only to have Los Chinos level again with a goal by Tom Beim. Los Chinos then overtook 3 – 4 in the third chukka. Tom Collie then made an impressive cut shot to bring Sirius back from the brink and it was all to play for in the fourth chukka. Despite several almost goals for Sirius, a penalty for Los Chinos saw them ride out the winners, 5 – 4.
As the sun beat down on the No2 ground, Bluestone Insurance and Beaufort took to the field, with both teams looking for their first win. First out the gate was Beaufort, scoring two goals to Bluestone’s one. The rest of the game was decided on penalties, with Beaufort receiving three that they capitalised on to win 5 – 2, sending them to the Subsidiary Final.
On Saturday 1st August, Sirius took on Bluestone Insurance, with both teams looking to record their first victory in this tournament. A textbook penalty by Bobby Melville for Sirius was quickly rebuked by a 90 degree angled shot by Jono Smail for Bluestone. What followed was a ping pong match, with Jono scoring again to make it 2 – 1, only to have Bobby reply to make it 2 – 2. On and on this went, until in the 3rd chukka it was 4 – 4. Bluestone then started to edge ahead, with a penalty from Jono sailing through the uprights followed by a goal by Chris Walker, subbing in for his daughter Jemima. With the score at 4 – 6 heading to the fourth chukka, it looked like Bluestone had the game in the bag. In the battle to hold back Sirius, Bluestone conceded a penalty, which Bobby completed with ease. With 8 seconds left on the clock, it looked like it was all over for Sirius when the whistle was blow and Sirius were handed another chance. Bobby lined up towards the ball and took his shot, which soared high in the air and gave Sirius a 6 – 6 draw against Bluestone Insurance.
With bright sunshine bathing the No1 Ground, Smiths Polo took to the field against Los Chinos. James Cooper, subbing in for Zac Beim, was first on the ball, driving it up the length of the field. A penalty for Los Chinos allowed Tom Beim to make it 1 – 0, but Smiths were quick to reply to make it 1 – 1. In the second chukka, Tom Beim made it 2 -1 but clearly Seb Chialvo had his Weetabix that morning because in the third chukka he proceeded to utterly demolish the Los Chinos defences again and again, scoring an impressive four goals in a row. With the score at 5 – 2 at the start of the fourth, Seb decided he was not quite finished and took a long run to goal, with Tom Beim on his tail, making it 6 – 2. Kim Croutear sent a pass to Christian Chaves to make it 7 – 2 and a final penalty by Tom Beim concluded the game 7 – 3.
Shibumi started out strong in the Subsidiary Final against Beaufort. A penalty by Mark Baldwin followed by a hard-fought goal saw them climb to a 2 ½ – 0 lead by the end of the second chukka. In the third, George Deverall picked up the ball from the back line and took it all the way to the other end of the field to score for Beaufort. Mark Baldwin then made it 3 ½, before saving a penalty and converting a penalty of his own to extend Shibumi’s lead to 4 ½ – 1. Beaufort attempted to make a comeback in the last few seconds of the 3rd chukka, with Tom Jodrell running the ball to goal only to have the final bell ring as it was about to go through the uprights. In the fourth, Harry Fuller took the ball to goal, with Emma Wood hitting an acute neck shot to score. However, a final goal by Robbie Slatter sealed the deal for Shibumi 5 ½ – 2
Prizes were very kindly provided by The Spiced Hawk, our Clubhouse caterers who commissioned painted glassware by the very talented Sami Elwell for our winners to drink their celebratory champagne from!