The Newest Trend in Polo is Heating Up
The Argentine season is coming to an exciting climax with teams dropping like flies and just the last two clinging onto the possibility of the biggest win of them all. But that is not the only competition that is hotting up in Argentina. Earlier this season Fantasy Polo, the first online game for polo, was launched and there has been a fantastic reception to the interactive and competitive game. With over a thousand Fantasy teams signed up in just over a week and the number growing daily it has brought a whole new dimension to the sport, encouraging people to watch, research and follow polo and the players throughout the season to prove their knowledge of the game and win big prizes.
People from all over the world have been getting involved with the high goal season, picking their fantasy four-man team and avidly following their players as they perform in each real life match.
The Semi Finals offered two spectacular games with the big players making big Fantasy points. Juan Martín Nero and his nine field goals (100% shot on goal to goal conversion rate) plus his foul free game against Cría Yatay, saw him rack-up an impressive 54.75 Fantasy points, making him by far the biggest point scorer of the Semis. Polito Pieres, in his Ellerstina match against Alegría was not far behind on the goal scoring stakes with eight field goals and only one non-converted shot to goal. This means he scored more field goals than he made backhands in the whole game. Nicolás Pieres and Guillermo ‘Sapo’ Caset made an impressive 17 backhands each, while Ignacio ‘Iñaki’ Laprida was the biggest backhander of them all with 19. That’s 19 Fantasy points for those with him in their team. While teams often see winning throw-ins as a very important part of winning a game it is interesting to note that both finalists lost more throw-ins to their opposition, preferring to gain possession out in the open field. These statistics are not only a driving force behind the Fantasy Polo game, but also a way of modernising polo and pushing the boundries of the sport with regards to statistical analysis.
Now is the crucial moment for the game. With teams out of the running and injuries occurring late in the season, it’s important to stay clued-up about what’s going on so that you can use those transfers to their full potential. Read-up on your players and check that you’ve made the right choices. The fun thing about this game is working out the tactics and timing. The transfer system (swapping players in and out) is what the game is all about and it’s at this point in the tournament, with the Final just one week away, that people need to be switched on and mixing up their teams to stay on top of those leaderboards.
Katie Vickery says, “We have been overwhelmed with the response to the game. It’s what so many people are talking about and we hope that this will only increase as the competition heats up. We have big plans, so this is just the beginning. The US season starts in a month and will be full of polo, points and prizes.”
Photograph: Finalists Juan Martín Nero and Polito Pieres were big Fantasy point scorers of the Argentine Open Semi Finals. By Katerina Morgan