It was a beautiful afternoon for the Swedes to return to Newport for USA vs. Sweden on Saturday, August 5th as part of the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines. Team Sweden arrived in Newport for their second battle in the International Series, their debut was back in 2014. Fans came from all over New England to watch this thrilling six-chukker match with blue and yellow clothes and tailgates to support our visiting international team.
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 double trouble with two specialty cocktails for the day, the Waterloo, with ABSOLUT vodka, passionfruit, lychee, and sparkling wine as well as the S.O.S. featuring Sipsmith Gin, Orange Juice, and Strawberry Lemonade.The Pro Shop was packed with spectators browsing new arrivals and shopping for classics such as the Nike Premium Hoodie, this week’s featured item. Gourmet Food Trucks were field-side serving delicious Newport classics to spectators with options from Hawaiin Jim’s Shave Ice, Weiner Wagon, Amano Pizza, Newport Chowder Company, Chelsea’s Creamery, and Java Jai Coffee Company.
At 5PM the pre-game opening ceremony began with a coin toss led by Inna White, Senior Wealth Advisor at Wells Fargo Private Bank. After the coin toss, William Crisp the announcer for the match introduced the two teams as the umpires escorted the players onto the pitch. In white was USA with Sam Clemens at #1, followed by president and founder Dan Keating at #2, Dr. Dave Bullis at #3, and George Hempt anchoring the home team in the #4 position. In blue was Sweden with Samira Waernlund in the #1 position, followed by powerhouse Nick Snow in the #2 position, Jonathan Willen at #3 , and finally Gustav Rausing rounding out the visiting international team in the #4 position. Following introductions, the Star Spangled Banner and Swedish National Anthem wrapped up the opening ceremony.
The match started off with ferocity as Snow scored for Team Sweden within the first 30 seconds of the match. Snow scored again in quick succession to give his team an early lead. Hempt scored first for Team USA off a penalty to end the first chukker. In the second chukker, Rausing scored for the Swedish to widen their early lead. In an exciting third chukker, Hempt of Team USA tried to close in on the Swedish lead by scoring another two goals for his team, but Snow was unstoppable, scoring an impressive four goals for his team to maintain the lead bringing the score to 7-3.
At the start of halftime, spectators were invited to participate in the traditional divot stomp to level the field and prepare it for the second half. The Vendor Village was bustling with people shopping around at Cutco Cutlery, Woof Woof Pet Boutique, and Mermaid Tears Jewelry. The Pro Shop was bustling as well with spectators turning in their raffle tickets for the Daily Door Prize in hopes of winning a special gift from Veuve Clicquot and earning their entry into the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize, awarding the winner with two business class tickets to anywhere in the world on Turkish Airlines. During halftime, judges circled the field to find the best blue and yellow tailgate to award the winners of the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest Prize, a special gift from Stella Artois.
In the fourth chukker, Team USA came out strong with goals from both Keating and Hempt. The winners of the Best in Show tailgate were announced along with the winner of the Daily Door Prize Raffle. In the fifth chukker, Rausing scored for Sweden to maintain their strong lead. The sixth and final chukker was an exciting way to end the match as Hempt put in another goal, alongside Clemens, who scored off a penalty. Team Sweden’s Snow scored the final goal of the match off a penalty as well to widen the lead and secure the win for his team; the final score was 9-7.
After the match, Teams USA and Sweden made a lap around the field in the Newport Victory Salute. Following the salute was the Veuve Clicquot Trophy Presentation where Anissa L. Paolillo, Team Manager at REDFIN Premier presented the trophy to Team Sweden and the Providence Diamond Player’s Trophies to the players. After the presentation, players and spectators shifted to the Modern Luxury Lounge for a player’s toast and the apres polo New England Lobsterfest catered by McGrath Clambakes.
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, 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, and Switzerland.
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.