Offbeat lost in the Ndume Cup Christmas Polo Championships final to Lachlan, but clearly, they were the most enterprising team in the tournament at Manyatta Polo Club in Gilgil over the weekend.
The handicap Seven team led by Gideon Moi (1), Archie Voorspuy (3.5), Harry Griffiths (1.5) and Kigen Moi proved their mettle when they lost by a whisker falling 11-13.5 to Lachlan, who are the new Christmas Polo champions.
While trailing by five goals in their first match against Lachlan, Offbeat withered the storm to close the gap by two goals at the end of their second encounter, which they lost 13.5-11 to Lachlan, who started the match with an advantage of half a fraction of goal.
In the return match, Offbeat scored seven goals against four.
“Our chances to win the title were disrupted with the absence of Kigen. We lost by a margin of five goals,” Gideon told Standard Sports.
Handicap One Kigen was briefly substituted by Handicap 0.5 Chris Foot, who only played in two chukkas of the first match, before Kigen made a return for the final two chukkas. By this time, they had conceded most goals.
“With his (Kigen) presence in the return match, the pendulum swung in our favour and we recovered to score seven goals against four,” Gideon added.
Lachlan team comprised of handicap 2.5 Izzy Parsons, Kimoi Moi (2), Ben Stonewigg (1) and Harry Stichbury (1).
Kenya Polo Association chairman Gordon Millar said the stiff competition between the Kenyan teams proved that standards of the game have greatly improved.
“When players compete to win and lose matches in equal measure, from team to the other and from one tournament to the other, the indication is that the growth and standards are moving northwards,” Millar said.
The tournament was affected by heavy down pour on Friday forcing cancellation of the first matches.
In the second tier tournament – The Kessier Cup, in memory of Manyatta Polo Club player, the late Martin Kessier, Rift Valley Roses emerged champions in the round-robin series.
In the four-team tournament, which included Hygrotech, Tack Rack, Rift Valley Roses and Morendat, Rift Valley Roses made an aggressive start by narrowly winning 4.5-4 against Hygrotech and later defeated Tack Rack 7.5-4 to scoop the coveted title with maximum six points from two round matches.
On their part, Tack Rack finished runner-up with three points from two rounds of matches after dismissing Morendat 6-1 in their opening match and lost 4-7.5 to Rift Valley Roses.
Hygrotech were third, also with three points, after losing 4-.5-4 against Rift Valley Roses in their first match and later smashed Morendat 8.5-3.
Morendat trailed with no point after losing in all matches. In Division C Championships, Livewire won the two-team competition.