World Polo League champion maiden Final in Kitzbühel Snow Polo
Finalizó la 18a Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup en Kitzbuehel, Austrlia. Tras tres días de compenticia y eventos sociales de primer nivel, pasó una nueva edición de este prestigioso torneo que se juega en el corazón de los Alpes austriacos. Participaron 8 equipos con 24 jugadores top y 120 caballos disponibles para el juego.
En la gran final, el equipo de WORLD POLO LEAGUE, integrado por el argentino Juan Bautista Peluso y los norteamericanos Marc Ganzi y Nic Roldan superó por 10 a 8 al team 100% brasileño GP MOBILITY que formó con Henrique y Marcus Schalldach y Guilhermo Lins.
Día #3 FINAL 19/1 Kitzbühel Cup (7th/8th Place): Bendura Bank 8 vs Laurent-Perrier 6½
La Martina Trophy (3rd/4th Place): Corum 5 vs Intocast 6
KCC Cup (5th/6th Place): Bernd Gruber 7 vs Engel & Völkers 7
FINAL Bendura Bank Trophy: World Polo League 10 vs GP Mobility 8
Día #2 18/1
1st Semi Finals - KCC Cup - Bendura Bank 6 vs Engel & Völkers 11
2nd Semi Finals - KCC Cup - Bernd Gruber 5 vs Laurent Perrier 3½
1st Semi Finals - Bendura Bank - Trophy Intocast 5½ vs World Polo League 7
2nd Semi Finals - Bendura Bank - Trophy Corum 6 vs GP Mobility 9
Día #1 17/1 Corum 10½ vs. Bernd Gruber 5
GP Mobility 8½ vs. Laurent Perrier 5
Intocast 7½ vs. Bendura Bank 5
World Polo League 8 vs. Engel & Völkers 6½
DAY #3 English version. World Polo League champion maiden Final in Kitzbühel
Kitzbühel, 19th January 2020. With conditions nigh on pristine, a layer of fresh powder perfectly enveloping the field and two teams ready to take their maiden voyage into the Final of The 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel, the third and final day of this thrilling tournament was always going to be a spectacle.
A snowy Sunday was what greeted the abundance of spectators, taking their positions on the sidelines for the first Final of the day in the heart of Kitzbühel, but as the first ball was thrown-in for The Kitzbühel Cup Final, the sun broke through and a cheer of expectant joy rustled through the crowd.
2018 champions Bendura Bank were first up against rivals Laurent-Perrier, whose team coincidentally sported two of the three members of the 2019 winning Cîroc team, so it was champion versus champion to commence this epic day of polo. With the fresh snow making conditions a little slippery, and with safety as the paramount concern, the riders took the first chukka at a reasonable pace, but with the ponies finding their footing, they turned up the pace as the match went on. Bendura Bank’s Tito Gaudenzi was the first to find the posts, and two more goals off his stick ensured his team were ahead going towards half-time, but a quick fire goal from Laurent-Perrier’s Valentin Novillo Astrada turned the tables at the bell, putting his side half a goal ahead, 3½-3. Laurent-Perrier held the lead up until the final chukka, but a fall from Captain Sebastian Schneberger and subsequent substitution from Intocast’s Captain Matthias Normann, gave Bendura Bank the brief respite they needed to regroup. Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Bendura Bank’s powerful 8 goaler, secured the three goals needed in the final chukka to ensure a win for his team, 8-6½.
The second match of the day for the La Martina Cup was always going to be an even tussle. 2017 champions Corum, with the German number one Patrick Maleitzke leading the charge were all power from the word go, but they found a real challenge in the form of a new team for 2020, Intocast. Making their debuts at The 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel, Argentine 5 goalers Micky Duggan and Martin Jauregui, ably led by Captain Matthias Normann, meant business, scuppering Corum’s attempts on goal, time and time again. This end to end match upped the already heightened tempo on the Kitzbühel snow, with spectators on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the teams’ next moves. At halftime, Intocast firmly led 5-3 and there was little chance of them relinquishing the lead in a hurry. Maleitzke, in a constant battle with his rival Jauregui, fought valiantly, securing two goals in the third chukka, but following three near misses in the final minutes of play, Corum just couldn’t find the posts. This fast and thrilling match came to an end with Intocast holding onto the lead, 6-5.
In the bid for third and fourth place, Engel & Völkers, in their true red devil form, were out for victory, following their win against Bendura Bank yesterday. Bernd Gruber however, making the most of their updated 2020 line-up, came firing out the starting gate. The match was fast and frenetic within moments, with the pace once again upped from the previous match. Brit 8 goaler Jonny Good, with his 17-year-old teammate Segundo Darritchon hot at his heels, scored two out of the red devils’ three goals in the first chukka, with only one in response from Bernd Gruber’s mighty Santiago Marambio. With tensions heating up on the field, it took an impromptu blizzard to cool heads and calm the pumped up players, but as the sun broke through once again, what is sure to be considered the goal of the tournament saw Marambio, with the head of his stick missing, score his team’s second goal. Going into half-time, the scores rested at 5-2 in Engel & Völkers favour, but with Bernd Gruber still very much in contention. The match continued to be close until the final bell sounded – with titfor-tat goals between Darritchon and Marambio, in teshe next two chukkas. Depite the fiery play and cohesive team work of both sides, Engel & Völkers maintained the upper hand and the red devils left the field with an 8-6 victory, much to the delight of the red-shirted fans on the sidelines.
So, with only one match to go, the all-important Final between two new, and powerful, teams, World Polo League from America and GP Mobility from the Copa Cabana itself, Brazil, the stage was set for an almighty showdown. Ahead of this exciting Final, the consensus was that the game was impossible to call, with the teams so expertly balanced. The daunting force of American number one Nic Roldan was unquestionable as the teams rode onto the field, but GP Mobility had the advantage of two goals on handicap, so World Polo League were going to have their work cut out. But the fear for the Ganzi contingent on the sidelines was short-lived, as within as many minutes, a goal from WPL Captain Marc Ganzi, aka the Cobra, and his 8 goal teammate Roldan, had evened the scoreboard 2-2. The 6 goal Brazilian, Guilhermo Lins was a force all of his own from the off. Scoring GP Mobility’s primary field goal, his ability to not only challenge the Americans, but overcome the powerful Roldan ride-offs was a spectacle to behold. In the first half, GP Mobility had their work cut out, with 80 percent of their play on the defensive. With a phenomenal pass, straight to the waiting stick of his Captain, Marcus Schdallach, later named Most Valuable Player for his consistently impressive play, GP Mobility were back in business at 4-4. It was fast, it was furious, and boy was it exciting. As the teams headed into the half-time break, a flurry of near misses and ultimately goals, saw World Polo League back ahead, but GP Mobility were hot on their heels, 7-6. Tensions were mounting both on and off the field in the third chukka, with players responding to bad bounces with bigger hits, as this end-to-end excitement seemed to bring these two powerhouse teams to almost breaking point. The scores evened up once again, this time at 7-7 thanks to Lins, but young Juan Bautista Peluso wasn’t done yet for his World Polo League side, as he found the posts just in time for the bell. If you thought the first three chukkas were exciting, then what happened in the fourth would have beggared belief.
As the ball flew up to the Brazilian’s end of the field, Roldan, in a play worth way more than his 8 goals permitted, took the ball from the halfway line, in the air, bouncing one, two, three times before striking the ball under the neck of his pony and scoring a seemingly impossible goal from one of the most challenging positions on the field. His extraordinary skill had the crowd in stunned silence, which then erupted into a resounding cheer! This fantastic play was the sign of things to come and, however hard GP Mobility fought, the Americans were just that one step ahead. With another ‘air shot’ volley goal from Roldan, to only one in response from Lins, who was later named the recipient of the Fair Play Award, it was all over for the team from Brazil.
The World Polo League team, a brand new addition to the 2020 instalment of The Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel, were crowned the resounding champions and one thing’s for sure, with skill like that, Kitzbühel can’t wait to welcome them back next year!
DAY #2 English version. Snow arrives for Saturday Kitzbühel, 18th January 2020. Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow. Following a veritable blanketing of snow overnight, the snow polo field was in impeccable form for the second day.
GALERÍA DE FOTOS / PHOTO GALLERY
Despite the snow falling at a record pace outside and the mercury dropping, the passion was hot on the field. The two 8 goalers, Brit Jonny Good and Argentine Alejandro Novillo Astrada were flying around the field with fervour, but it was Engel & Völkers who were the first to put their mark on the scoreboard. Before half-time, the red devils were ahead 6-1, but following the break, Bendura Bank came back with a vengeance. Bendura Bank Captain Melissa Ganzi had the match of the year thus far, scoring four goals in two chukkas and helping to narrow the scoreboard to 10-5 with a phenomenal lofty pass forward to Novillo Astrada, but alas it was not enough, as young Segundo Darritchon showed the avid spectators what snow polo is all about, with an epic ‘air-shot’ run to goal, securing an 11th and final goal for Engel & Völkers, and with it, the victory.
Next up it was a chance for 2019 champions Sebastian Schneberger and Valentin Novillo Astrada to redeem their 2020 chances for the Laurent Perrier team following their defeat yesterday, as they came up against 2020s newest line-up, Bernd Gruber. The expert pairing of Santiago Marambio and Pato Bolanterio was a force to be reckoned with, with the 7 goaler fighting tooth and nail. At half-time, there was little in it, with the teams sitting at 4- 2½ in Bernd Gruber’s favour, but with passions flying high, a yellow card awarded and a penalty shot so close to the goal line, that umpire Mark Holmes had to jump down from the tower to call it personally, against Bernd Gruber much to the team’s dismay, the edge of your seat atmosphere lasted until the very last moments.
Bernd Gruber rode away with a 5- 3½ victory and with it, the glory. The third match of the day was set to be a belter, as the Americans, World Polo League, came up against a side led by one of Kitzbühel’s own, Intocast, with Matthias Normann at the helm. With a 1½ goal handicap advantage, Intocast started strong, but American number one Nic Roldan and the mighty young Argentine Juan Bautista Peluso ensured they didn’t hold onto that lead for too long. Intocast’s Martin Jauregui was all over the play, securing two goals in the second chukka with the help of teammate Micky Duggan to ensure Intocast were out in front, if only just.
But this fast, passionate play was strenuous for all involved and by the final chukka, World Polo League had taken the edge, finding themselves out in front, 6-4½. New for 2020, World Polo League had a point to prove and prove it they did, as they championed this exceedingly competitive match, 7-5½. If three matches of pure excitement wasn’t enough for the avid spectators on the sidelines, the fourth was a stupendous final instalment for the second day of play in Kitzbühel. GP Mobility, another new team for 2020, came up against the might of long time Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel supporters Corum. The German number one, Patrick Maleitzke was first to make his mark on the scoreboard for Corum, but the Brazilian 6 goal powerhouse Guilhermo Lins was all strength as he scored his first of seven goals for GP Mobility, putting the all-Brazilian boys in white five goals ahead by the beginning of the second chukka. With a slight delay in play at the beginning of the third chukka, with both Team Captains, Marcus Schalldach and Eckhardt Juls, finding themselves having both dismounted, both teams reassessed their tactics. Maleitzke, refreshed from the break found the goal posts three times, but it wasn’t quite enough to put his team in the Final. At the last bell, GP Mobility had sealed the win 8-6, and their spot against World Polo League in the Final tomorrow afternoon.
DAY #1 English version. First day Firday
Kitzbühel, 17th January 2020. With the sun shining and the snow in pristine conditions, The 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup got underway this morning, with eight teams of 24 players top 120 ponies all ready and raring for the off. The first match of the tournament saw the might of the boys in yellow, Corum, up against Bernd Gruber. The talent and unmistakable team power of Corum was a tough challenge to overcome for the newly formed Bernd Gruber side, with Corum’s number two Patrick Maleitzke playing here, there and everywhere and helping his side secure a 10½-5 win at the final bell; the perfect way to start their 2020 tournament.
With the sun still shining bright, the second match got underway. 2019 champions Sebastian Schneberger and Valentin Novillo Astrada took to the ground for Laurent-Perrier, alongside new teammate Phillip de Groot, but the mighty Brazilians in the form of team GP Mobility were a force to be reckoned with. Though more stilted than the first match, as play went into the third chukka, GP Mobility number three Guilhermo Lins came into his own, securing a multitude of goals and ultimately taking home the win 8½-5.
The VIP tent buzzing with excited spectators and the clinking of champagne glasses signalled the beginning of the third match of the day; Intocast, with Kitzbühel’s own Matthias Normann at the helm, versus 2018 winners Bendura Bank. This was going to be an exciting match, as Melissa Ganzi led her strong Bendura side, once again looking to win big, but the surprise of the day was by far Martin Jauregui, the 5 goal Argentine, who controlled the play from the word, “Go”! Governing a significant amount of the play, he challenged 8 goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada at every turn and ensured the Intocast team made it through to the next round with a convincing 7½-5 win.
To end the first thrilling day of play, with hot chocolates and glühwein steaming in the hands of the avid spectators on the sidelines, the red devils, Engel & Völkers took to the field against a new addition for the 2020 tournament, World Polo League. The Americans, keen to show their power in this electrifying tournament, came firing out of the first line-out, with American number one Nic Roldan, powering shots up field, time and time again. It wasn’t long before World Polo League were ahead, but Engel & Völkers were not far behind. With passion clear on the faces of all six players, it took a final goal from young Juan Bautista Peluso who signed on the dotted line for World Polo League, taking the final score to 8-6 ½.
Play in the heart of the Austrian Alps continues tomorrow, with the first match taking place at 10.30am. Whilst the VIP area is sold out, entrance to the public area is free, with delicious local delights and refreshments available from a multitude of food concessions, keeping spectators warm and ready for another day of thrilling action.
GALERÍA DE FOTOS / PHOTO GALLERY
The 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup
Bendura Bank (12): Melissa Ganzi (1/USA – Captain) Alejandro Novillo Astrada (8/ARG) Tito Gaudenzi (3/CH) Engel & Völkers (12): Ana Escobedo (1/MEX – Captain) Segundo Darritchon (3/ARG) Jonny Good (8/ENG)
World Polo League (13): Marc Ganzi (2/USA – Captain) Juan Bautista Peluso (3/ARG) Nic Roldan (8/USA)
Corum (11): Phillip Sommer (2/GER – Captain) Patrick Maleitzke (5/GER) Juan Ruiz-Guiñazú (4/ARG)
Bernd Gruber (11): Helmet Wieser (0/AUS – Captain) Pato Bolanterio (4/ARG) Santiago Marambio (7/ARG)
GP Mobility (10): Henrique Schalldach (2/BRA) Marcus Schalldach (2/BRA – Captain) Guilhermo Lins (6/BRA)
Intocast (12): Matthias Normann (1/AUS – Captain) Micky Duggan (5/ARG) Martin Juaregui (6/ARG)
Laurent-Perrier (11): Sebastian Schneberger (2/GER – Captain) Phillip de Groot (2/NED) Valentin Novillo Astrada (7/ARG)