Yesterday, Tuesday 28 February, the Semi Finals of the Dubai Challenge Cup were played at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club.
In the first match of the day, Bin Drai appeared to have learnt from their mistakes made in their previous qualifying match against Mahra and put in a solid performance which secured them a place in the Final on Friday 31 March. Both teams were tied in the third chukka with a 6-6 score, but Bin Drai began to pull ahead and eventually defeated Mahra 13-10, with both Bin Drai’s Raúl Laplacette and Mahra’s Jerónimo del Carril named as top goal scorers, with 6 goals apiece.
The second match of the afternoon was lower scoring, but no less thrilling. Habtoor Polo, featuring young Brit Tommy Beresford, had a tough battle on their hands to defeat the tenacious Wolves and until the third chukka there was little activity on the scoreboard as both teams locked down their opposition’s attacks on goal. However, Habtoor built upon their marginal lead and by the final whistle led 8-4.
This result means that the 2017 finalists for The Dubai Challenge Cup will be exactly the same as the 2016 finalists which saw Bin Drai narrowly defeat Habtoor 8-7 – will Bin Drai be able to retain the trophy?
Dubai Challenge Cup Final Teams:
Bin Drai (18): Saeed Bin Drai (0), Gregorio Gelosi (4), Raúl Laplacette (6) & Fran Elizalde (8)
Habtoor (18): Mohammed Al Habtoor (0), Tommy Beresford (4), Juan Zubiaurre (5) & Nicolas Pieres (9)
Photograph: Bin Drai vs Mahra. By Gonzalo Etcheverry-DPGC2017