Team Engel & Völkers, including Johnny Good, Katrina Thomas and Alec Banner-Eve, wins the 14th Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup in Kitzbühel 2016.
Snow polo at it’s best and in the truest sense of the word. In a setting of steady snowfall the final of the 14th Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup was a thrilling and dynamic spectacle. 8-goaler Johnny Good started straight away with two goals and brought his English team Engel & Völkers together with Katrina Thomas and Alec Eve-Banner into the lead. But team Valartis Bank with Bash Kazi and Omar Magalji, sharing one position, Pelon Escapite (7) and Tito Gaudenzi did not hesitate and caught up until the end of chukka one. At the beginning of the fourth and final chukka, Valartis Bank led because of a 0.5 goal advance by 4.5-4. Johnny Good and Pelon Escapite fought hard and finally Engel & Völkers made it with half a goal in advance and won by 5-4.5. Johnny Good, who plays polo as a professional for over 15 years: “The final was a really hard and even match, Katrina and Alec played excellent and we took our chances. Great to win here at Kitzbühel.”
The match for the third place between teams Istra Domizil/Blackdove and KCC/Gym Entry left no doubt who was in better shape today. KCC/GymEntry featured advanced team play and an effective performance towards the goal. Thomas Winter, Wolfram Trudo Knoefel and Agustin Kronhaus won clearly by 12.5-8 against the winning team of last year Sebastian Schneberger, Philip de Groot and Julio Novillo Astrada.
The fifth place went to team Audi which defeated Bernd Gruber by 5.5-4. Straight from the beginning team Audi took the lead. Arena specialist Patrick Maleitzke put continuous attacking pressure on team Bernd Gruber, but Adrian Laplacette and the two ladies Eva Brühl and Steffi von Pock are an experienced team, which played many times in Kitzbühel. They did not let Maleitzke, Magnus Kaminiarz and Horacio Fernandez Llorente take away the lead further.
Tournament organisers Frank Bahrenburg and Tito Gaudenzi of Lifestyle Events: “We saw fabulous matches on a remarkable playing level. It was a great pleasure to have the team from England and Bash Kazi, Omar Magalji and Pelon Escapite from the United States here at Kitzbühel. Lots of snow turned playground and mountains into a winter wonderland. A big thank you to Dr. Andreas Insam of Valartis Bank, Kitzbühel Tourism Authority and all the sponsors, to all people behind the scenes and the grooms, who take care of the horses 24/7.” For the first time Cosmopolo was official supplier of this tournament.
Mare “Chismosa” of Tito Gaudenzi was awarded Best Playing Pony of the tournament. Most Valuable Player became 31-year-old Katrina Thomas from England.
Polo-Expert, -coach, -player and commentator Jan-Erik Franck: “Today’s final saw as expected E&V and Valartis Bank battle it out. As all the previous matches of the tournament, the final was no different and was also a very close game. E&V nicked it in the end by winning it by half a goal. The combined experience of Alec Banner-Eve and Johnny Good secured them their victory.”
Gerhard Walter, Director Kitzbühel Tourism: “As every year the snow polo is a fix point in our event calendar. Our team prepared the field and gave its very best to provide perfect conditions for players and horses. As result we got three days of snow polo in a winter wonderland. A truly virtuous commence of our Kitzbüheler Winterfestival which will be highlighted with the Hahnenkammrennen next week. We are very much looking forward to see everybody again in 2017.”
Friday, 15th January
Bernd Gruber : Engel & Völkers 7.5-7
KCC/GymEntry : Valartis Bank 5.5-7
Audi : Istra Domizil/Blackdove 7.5-10
Saturday, 16th January
Engel & Völkers : Istra Domizil/Blackdove 9-5.5
Valartis Bank : Audi 8-7.5
KCC/GymEntry : Bernd Gruber 9.5-8
Sunday, 17th January
Match for fifth place
Audi : Bernd Gruber 5.5-4
Match for third place
KCC/Gym Entry : Istra Domizil/Blackdove 12.5-8
Valartis Bank : Engel & Völkers 4.5-5
#1 Engel & Völkers
#2 Valartis Bank
#3 KCC/Gym Entry
#4 Istra Domizil/Blackdove
#6 Bernd Gruber