Sibling rivalry took centre stage in the Kenya International Polo tournament as Patrick Mavros beat White Cap 8-7 in the final Nairobi Polo Club yesterday.
The Gross brothers, handicap five Casmir and three-goaler Tarquin captained White Cap and Patrick Mavros respectively to a fast and furious man-and-horse action in the six-goal showpiece finals.
White Cap, comprising Casmir, twins Ben (1) and Tom (0.5) and Sasha Craig blew their three-goal lead in the first half to hand Patrick Mavros—Tarquin, Mbu Ngugi (2.5), Joss Craig (2) and Morton Jensen (-1)- an 8-7 win.
Patrick Mavros drew the first blood in the opening chukka courtesy of Tarquin’s field goal as both teams showcased their highly defensive tactics on and off the ball leading to a 1-0 score-line at the end of the period.
During pony change over, White Cap regrouped and turned tables on Patrick Mavros. Casmir’s side cunningly set foul traps for their opponents and under the watchful eyes of international high goal umpire Charles Seavil (from the UK) and Kenya’s Raphael Nzomo, White Cap’s strategy worked well.
Casmir restored parity from a field goal before hitting in four penalty shots to give White Cap a comfortable 1-5 advantage. A few moments later, Tarquin narrowed the gap to 2-4 and proceeded to the break.
On resumption, Jensen continued to gather ground for Patrick Mavros for 3-4 as Tarquin slotted on one more to level affairs (4-4) at the Club’s Stables pitch. It was all slipping away from White Cap but once again Casmir rose to the Occasion and gave his lineup the lead (4-5) again.
Patrick Mavros returned the favour in the fourth chukka where they scored four goals. It was a give-and-take scoring pattern as Tarquin garnered a hat trick to turn fortunes around and Casmir notched in a double in the last chukka for 7-7. Ngugi added one goal with less than 60 seconds to go to put Patrick Mavros to an 8-7 lead. White Cap tried to rush the game but the bell rung just when they were threatening to send the match to tie. Casmir applauded their opponents for the hard-fought win saying: “It was a beautiful game and a well-deserved win for our opponents.”
Tarquin was voted the Most Valuable Player as Sasha Craig the best female player and Phyllipa Gulden the most improved player.
Tarquin said: “Playing with tough opponents, we could only expect a hard faceoff. But despite calling each other out late in the game, I am glad we won. It was a good run.”
Action will resume on Friday with the highly anticipated 14-goal tournament which will see high handicaped players jet in from South Africa and Tanzania.