womensSmith Scores Winning Overtime Goal

Northern Trust took the US Open Women’s Championship for the second consecutive year yesterday, after a close match only resolved in overtime by a winning goal from the stick of Julia Smith, the team’s 4 goal player. The game, against Rocking P/ The Plank Company’s strong team, pitted Brits Sarah Wiseman and Hazel Jackson against each other in a rematch of the Semi Final, which ended in Northern Trust’s favour, 7-5.

Northern Trust made a clean start when Kristy Outhier converted a 40 yard penalty for a goal, however the lead was short-lived as Caroline Anier equalised for the opposition. A fast game, described as “tough” by players on both sides saw Northern Trust in possession of a 4-3 lead by half time, a lead that Rocking P/ The Plank Company soon erased, leading at one point by 7-4.

However, impressive teamwork by Northern Trust’s Julia Smith and Sarah Wiseman saw the score levelled again, with the teams entering overtime equal on 7 goals apiece after neck-and-neck play. Despite a fast and furious sudden death overtime chukka, the combined forces of Jackson and Anier couldn’t prevent Smith, one of the stand-out players of the tournament, from slipping the final goal past the opposing team, to take the Championship, 8-7.

Speaking to Polo Times, Rocking P/ The Plank Company’s Hazel Jackson said, “It was a super tough game and unfortunately we didn’t utilise our chances. We had it in our palms, but Northern Trust didn’t give us any time, to be honest and in the end we made too many mistakes. It has been an incredible tournament in a stunning location – next year we will be back!”

Sarah Wiseman also spoke to Polo Times, ” We always knew the final was going to be tough. Although we beat Rocking P in the previous game, it was tough and we had a feeling they would change their tactics. We stuck to the same plan, though they played a more open, running game. It was a great match to play in and both teams worked extremely hard. We managed to up our game in the second half of the 4th chukka and score three goals to tie the match, having gone 7-4 down at one stage. I have never played with a team with such determination. We knew we could do it! Just goes to show never give up, anything is possible! The US Women’s Open is the highest handicapped ladies’ tournament in the world and the polo is of such a high standard. It’s an honour to be invited to play and I feel very lucky to have won it two years in a row!”

Kristy Outhier had an incredible match, winning both the Most Valuable Player Award and two best playing pony awards, with the Pro’s Best Playing Pony going to her ride Man and the American Quarter Horse Association Best Playing Pony Award with her horse Reata, whom she played in the third chukka. Kendall Plank’s Taxi won the Patron’s Best Playing Pony Award.

US Open Women’s Championship Final teams:

Northern Trust (25): Sarah Wiseman (7), Julia Smith (4), Maureen Brennan (6) & Kristy Outhier (8)

Rocking P/The Plank Co (24): Courtney Price (2)/Kendall Plank (2), Hazel Jackson (8), Dayelle Fargey (7) & Caroline Anier (7)

Photograph: Northern Trust win their second consecutive US Open title. By Kaylee Wroe

http://www.polotimes.co.uk/?pg=35

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