Exciting polo action returned to the Apes Hill Polo Ground, St James yesterday when the First Citizens-sponsored Barbados Open Eight-Goal Polo Tournament got underway with victories for Silverpoint/Chester and Rubis.
In the first game played, Silverpoint/Chester defeated Snakebite 8-5 with Jonny Coddington and Mike Henderson in ripping form for the winners. The start of the game though gave no indication of what was to transpire, as Snakebite initially literally ran rings around the Silverpoint/Chester team.
Cristan Chaves was the man with the menacing mallet as by the end of the first chukka he had a hat-trick of goals as Snakebite led 3-0 when the second chukka started. But it was at this stage that the Snakebite team seemingly ran out of venom. Chaves would score a fourth goal in the second chukka but there was little else on the offensive end from Snakebite.
On the other hand, sensing the opportunity to salvage the game, Coddington, who last week showed off his mettle for Cheshire, and Henderson, led Silverpoint/Chester’s roaring comeback. Both players would score a brace of goals in the second chukka to bring parity to proceedings at 4-4 when time ran out for that period.
It was in the third chukka that Silverpoint/Chester won the game with some stirring play on both the defensive and offensive ends. Once again, it was the dynamic duo Coddington and Henderson that led the charge.
Coddington lashed two more goals in this period and Henderson chipped in with another. From an awesome start, Snakebite now found themselves trailing 7-4 with the momentum of the game completely shifted from them.
The fourth chukka followed a similar pattern as the third, but with Silverpoint/Chester making it clear they wanted to control play in the middle of the field as well as the flanks. With the cushion of three goals they merely had to play smart polo and they did so although they conceded a goal when David Ashby scored. But Silverpoint/Chester would add another goal to their tally thanks once again to Henderson.
Snakebite consisted of Max Kirchhoff, Richard Deane, Chaves and Ashby. Silverpoint/Chester’s team comprised Damien Luke, Richard Thomas, Coddington and Henderson.
In the second game, Rubis beat Buluva 5-3 in a close encounter that Rubis controlled from the very start leading 2-0 at the end of the first chukka.
Roddy Williams and Oliver Taylor were the marksmen for Rubis in the first chukka. Williams extended Rubis’ lead in the second chukka but Jeff Evelyn would finally get Bulova on the scoresheet with a well-timed goal.
The third chukka started with Bulova trying earnestly to reduce Rubis’ 3-1 advantage but Taylor scored Rubis’ fourth goal.
Evelyn, who gave it his all throughout the game, would score in the third chukka again to make the score 4-2 and with everything to play for in the final period. But similar to the earlier game the exertions of the first three chukkas seemed to be impacting on the players as there was a slight drop in intensity.
Guillet Clerice did manage to add a further goal for Rubis and Jamie Dickson narrowed the scoreline with Bulova’s third goal but that was as close as they would get for the remainder of the encounter.
The Bulova team was Sir Charles Williams, Dickson, Pablo Crespin and Evelyn. The Rubis team was made up of Stewart Gill, Clerice, Williams and Taylor. The tournament which is being contested over the next three weeks has attracted players from Argentina, New Zealand and Britain.