July 23 the Moscow Polo Club hosted the second Russian-French polo tournament – Coupe Franco-Russe.
The Moscow Polo Club team was represented by: Gleb Fetisov (handicap -2), the club’s President Alexis Rodzianko (0) Alexander Patyutko (0) and the highest rated Russian player Misha Rodzianko (3). The French team consisted of Florent Garaud (3), Charlotte Garaud (0), Marceau Hue (0), and Alexander Garese (-1) – all from the Polo Club de Chantilly.
The unofficial program began on Thursday with a private player presentation dinner in the recently opened StandArt design hotel – the first Russian member of the Design Hotels collection. This was a great chance for players of both teams to meet before the game while tasting delicious dishes prepared by the hotel’s brand-chef Angel Pascual, whose restaurants in Catalonia have earned two Michelin stars.
On Saturday players and guests gathered at the Moscow Polo Club for the game. The Russians started the game confidently with a beautiful goal on the very first minute, but the French managed to level the score quickly. The beginning of the second chukka saw two goals from both sides, then Alexis Rodzianko had an excellent run the length of the field only to catch a bounce right before the goal and going out off the cane. Although a goal wasn’t scored the audience was impressed with the open and fast paced game, especially due to the fact that during this attempt his mallet broke. Meanwhile, the well-thought strategy of the French team showed results very soon – two more goals were scored in the goals of the Moscow Polo Club, and the first half of the game ended with the score of 4-2.
In the third chukka teams were very level moving from one end of the field to another, attacking the opponent’s gates and fighting for the ball right in front of the marquee to the delight of the audience. No goals were scored and the French maintained their advantage. However, a few excellent carries by Charlotte Garaud in the fourth managed to increase the gap, and the match ended with the score of 6-2.
When the game finished players gathered in the marquee for a prize-giving ceremony, which was opened by Alexis Rodzianko, who again welcomed the French team and thanked the spectators for supporting polo in Russia. Polo Club de Chantilly was awarded trophies and Charlotte Garaud was named the best player of the tournament. Best playing pony was awarded to a 5 year old Arab-karachaevski gelding named Connor, played by Misha Rodzianko in the third chukker and owned by Marina Belyakova.
The French team continued the winning tradition, started by their predecessors in the past year, so all the Moscow Polo Club fans will now have to wait for the next tournament, when the Russian team will have a new chance to become champions on their own field.