Presented by Visit Jamaica and The Hotel Viking
It was another beautiful summer afternoon for the Jamaicans to return to Newport for USA vs. Jamaica match on Saturday, August 19th as part of the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines. Team lodging and meet and greet sponsor was The Hotel Viking and the match sponsor was Visit Jamaica.
Team Jamaica arrived well-prepared to hold onto their winning position from last year’s match in the International Series. Fans came from all over New England to watch this thrilling, first-of-the-season overtime match. Aromas of authentic jerk grill, prepared by The Hummimgbird Café in Newport, filled the warm summer air. Displays of green, black, and yellow, to support the visiting international rival, blanketed the crowd.
The International Polo Grounds were bustling as soon as the gates opened. The Patio Bar served up classic Newport Polo favorites including Stella Artois on tap, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and ABSOLUT. New and classic cocktails from Goslings such as the Tropic Time Out, the Bermuda Rum Swizzle, and the Dark ‘n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series. The Cocktail Guru was serving up a tropical Chukka Rum Punch – Brugal 1888 rum, Ripe Bajan Punch, peach, & lemon. The Pro Shop was bustling with spectators as they purchased and sold out new seasonal items. No need to worry though as the Pro Shop will have plenty of new seasonal items in the coming weeks. Gourmet Food Trucks were field side serving delicious Newport classics to spectators with options from Hawaiian Jim’s Shave Ice, Weiner Wagon, Ben and Jerry’s, Newport Chowder Company, and Sweet B’s Donuts.
The pre-game opening ceremony began with our special guests for the Official Coin Toss arriving on the field by CRU – the newest in club cars- showcased by CCE Club Cars of New England. Commentator William Crisp introduced the two teams as the umpires escorted the players onto the pitch. In white was USA’s Chris Fragomeni at #1, followed Sam Clemens at #2, Dan Keating at #3, and Rory Torrey anchoring the home team in the #4 position. In black/yellow/green was Jamaica with Dougie Henderson in the #1 position, followed by Cameron Wates in the #2 position, Kurt Chin at #3, and finally Shane Chin rounding out the visiting team in the #4 position.
Following introductions, the Star-Spangled Banner wrapped up the opening ceremony.
The match commenced with each team scoring one point in the 1st chukker to tie it up early. This would ironically be the same position the teams would be in at the end of the 6th chukker. Both teams rallied to prove their worth during the remaining chukkers up to halftime. USA was leading 5-3 when the spectators were invited onto the field for the traditional halftime divot stomp.
This fun halftime ritual got spectators moving while helping level the field to prepare for the second half. The West Lawn vendors welcomed shoppers at Cutco Cutlery and Woof Woof Pet Boutique. The Pro Shop received Door Prize raffle entries from hopeful attendees seeking to win a special gift from Veuve Clicquot and earn their entry into the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize of 2 business class tickets to anywhere in the world on Turkish Airlines. As an added bonus last week, Visit Jamaica and Couples Resorts rolled out the red carpet for polo fans with the chance to win an all-inclusive 4-day vacation for two! Choice of one of four Couples Resorts locations to soak up the Caribbean sun with unlimited food and beverage, private beaches, snorkeling, sailing, tennis, squash, SCUBA diving, and much more. One lucky person from Norton, MA went home with this amazing trip. During halftime, judges concluded their search for the best Green, Black, and Yellow tailgate and awarded them winners of the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest Prize. The winners received a special gift from Stella Artois.
In the fourth chukker, both teams came out strong. USA scored 5 goals and Jamaica 4. Sam Clemens scored twice for USA while the other team members added one a piece. Newport would remain in the lead until Jamaica tied it up in the 6th chukker requiring overtime. The crowd may have been one of the loudest this season, cheering on their teams! USA was able to score the goal to break the nail-biting tie.
After the match, USA and Jamaica made a lap around the field in the Newport Fan Salute. Following the salute came the Veuve Clicquot Trophy Presentation where Hotel Vikings Robin Tosto, Director of Group Sales, and Katie Lund, Senior Event Planning Manager presented the Providence Diamond Player’s Trophies to the players. Best playing pony was awarded to Jack, owned by Dan Keating. After the presentation, players and spectators shifted to the Modern Luxury Lounge for a player’s toast, and a lively afterparty hosted by ABSOLUT and The Cocktail Guru with special authentic Jamaican Jerk Grill served jerk chicken, oxtail, and more fieldside by Newport’s own, Hummingbird Newport.
Join us next week when the Newport International Polo welcomes the East Coast rivals, New York into town to faceoff against Team Newport on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Live audiences can enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 32 years to witness the timeless sport unfold on the manicured, emerald green at Glen Farm, home of the Polo Series, in a classic exhibition of horsemanship and valor, with host, the Newport Polo Club, where the home team – Newport/USA – meets challengers each season from around the world as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport’s unique traditions & renowned attractions.
The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September. The schedule of teams is subject to change without notice, as per RI State mandates and US travel bans which may impact travel and Adult Sports. Stay current with the 2023 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.
The Polo grounds’ favorable proximity to the shores of the island’s Sakonnet east passage provides reliably cool coastal effects, moderating afternoon temperatures and providing a dependable breeze for the late afternoon polo matches all summer. Minutes from the bustling Newport waterfront, the International Polo Grounds are located on the acreage of Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of a pre-colonial settlement from the 1600’s that became the Town of Portsmouth’s original gentlemen’s farm, an 800-acre manorial estate established during a Gilded Age movement of retreat from the high life into pastoral country acres, to become the future home of polo in the next century. Its classical 19th-century stone barns and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by Polo Series founder, Dan Keating in the early 1990’s and continue to thrive as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.
The Newport International Polo Series is proud to name its 2023 sponsors including Brenton Hotel, BD, TD Bank, Turkish Airlines, Modern Luxury Boston, Herb Chambers Exotics, Vanderbilt International Properties, Hotel Viking, The Vanderbilt, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport Life, Providence Diamond, Veuve Clicquot, ABSOLUT, Clarke Cooke House, The Truth About Horses, CCE Golf Cars, BMW of Newport, Atria Senior Living, Northwestern Mutual, Charles Schwab, Insperity, AAA Northeast | Viking, A-1 Roofing, US Polo Assn, Stella Artois, Visit Jamaica, Goslings, ROCKSTAR Limo, and Classical 95.9 WCRI; and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter Tours, The Cocktail Guru, Newport Jaguar Tours, Picnic Charters, Island Adventures, On Watch Sailing, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Vineyards, Newport Mansions, Island Surf and Sport, Newport Picnic Co. and Audrain Automobile Museum.
“Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.
This is the 32nd season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 36 nations including, Ukraine, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, Colombia and Ukraine.
Gilded Age Legacy. Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th-century b.c. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for nearly 2500 years, steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport’s summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America’s first polo club in 1876. A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.