Story by United States Polo Association with contributions from Pololine
October 28, named “Super Saturday” by the organizers, featured a full schedule with a staggering four world-class polo matches at the Sydney Polo Club. Argentina and Chile emerged victorious from their respective zones and will face each other Sunday in a thrilling contest to take home the XI FIP World Polo Championship Sydney title.
India and New Zealand started off the day. India managed to stay on top for the majority of the game, leading 8-6 in the final chukker, but then, something unexpected happened; New Zealand buckled down and scored three consecutive goals, two minutes from the final bell—the last of which, took place precisely as the final horn sounded. New Zealand rode away with the win 9-8.
India: HH Padmanabh Singh, Angad Kalaan, Rabb Rathore, Siddhant Sharma
New Zealand: Adam Haworth, Guy Higginson, Glen Sheriff, Johnny Jones.
Later on, it was USA’s turn versus Spain. It was a relatively easy game for the Americans, who scored 15 total goals and undoubtedly played their best game of the tournament. “We got our confidence going into the second game,” Team USA member Jim Wright said, “and then today we just tried to ride that wave.” Rated at 13 goals, Spain received a .5 handicap at the onset of the match. The USA was able to dominate from the start, scoring four goals to Spain’s one in the first. Spain found their footing in the second scoring three goals, but they were bookended by two more USA goals to maintain the lead. Spain tried to get up to speed, but the USA was relentless on attack, outscoring their opponents in two of the final three chukkers, all USA players contributing to the final 15-9.5 score.
“We have the team, the brand and Association supporting us. We want to show that we are worthy of the investment.” – -Felipe Viana, Team USA
Spain: Jaime Serra, Mario Gomez, Pelayo Berazadi, Jose Trenor
USA: Matias González, Jesse Bray, Felipe Viana, Jim Wright
In the third match-up of the day, England beat Chile in a thrilling game, in which the Latin American team started off considerably well with four goals. Despite the strong start, later on, Chile was barely able to score due to significant defensive effort by the English. The final score was 8-5 in favor of the Englishmen, but unfortunately, the goal difference was not enough to give them the pass to the finals, and by goals, Chile secured their championship final position.
Chile: José Martinez, Jose Zegers, Andrés Vial, José Pereira
England: Ed Banner-Eve, Satnam Dhillon, Henry Porter, Peter Webb
The last match of the day was a spectator favorite as the local team played against the best team in the Championship so far, Argentina. The South American powerhouse was superior and managed to keep the Australians at bay throughout the match. The final score, giving the light blue-shirted team an easy pass to the finals 9-5.5.
Argentina: Lucio Fernández Ocampo, Hector Guerrero, Valentin Novillo Astrada, Tomás Panelo.
Australia: James Lester, George Hill, Jack Archibald, Jake Daniels
The day was completed, with several entertainment options such as a fashion show, live show for children, and the evening closed with a concert by Bobby Valentine, Ollie McGill and Marty Rose.
The grand finale between Chile and Argentina will be played Sunday at 3:00pm. But before that, at 11:00am AEST (Saturday at 8:00pm ET), the USA will face England for third place. In between these two matches, the club has prepared a thrilling series of live shows and a dressage demonstration to make sure the crowd can enjoy a full last day at the Sydney Polo Club.