Thai Polo came from behind to defeat La Familia 6 – 5 1/2 in the final of the RMPA Open, in terrific final played at the Royal Selangor Polo Club on Saturday 22nd August. It was a game that had the 300 spectators on the edge of their seats as it went right to the final bell before the game was decided.
Gines Bargallo and Horacio Etcheverry got La Familia off to a bright start. They created the better plays in the opening chukkas. Tun Yasir came back into the La Familia side, replacing Cipita but it was Dato Zekri who was the dangerman up front, scoring two good goals in the match.
Thai Polo found themselves trailing 2 1/2 – 0 in the second chukka. Their self belief never wavered and Carlos Pando and Agustin Canale fought their way back into the match.
La Familia continued to lead 4 1/2 – 2 at half time, but Thai Polo refused to give in. They came back stongly in the third chukka. Thai Polo took a 1/2 goal lead with a chukka to play and stretched it with another in the the final chukka. La Familia came back with a goal of their own by Dato Zekri with 30 seconds to play, but time ran out for the local club.
Thai Polo patron Dato’ Harald Link had another solid game, man marking his opposite number. It was nice to have two players playing in their first RMPA International League season in this final. Vinod Kumar had a solid game in attack for Thai Polo. Tun Yasir Moiz has played well in all his International League games for La Familia.
Thai Polo were deserving winners of the Royal Salute Cup of the RMPA Open.
While Carlos Pando had another typically super game, it was Agustin Canale (pic right) who was given the prize of a custom made Proline mallet for Most Valuable player. It was a courageous performance as Canale had been sick all week with a virus and had missed both midweek games.
Paton, a 12 year old chestnut Argentine gelding, won the prize for Best Playing Pony. Owned by Dato’ Harald Link’s Thai Polo, it was played by its breeder, Carlos Pando.
In the earlier round robin for 3rd place, La Sarita beat Royal Pahang and Head Hunters to carry the Malayan Polo Association Cup.
The prize-giving was followed by a dinner a dance put on by The Royal Malaysian Polo Association.
With the win, Thai Polo moved further ahead in the RMPA International League standings. They again took the 15 points for the win, bringing their three tournament total to 42 points. It is an unassailable lead in the league.