Abu Dhabi: Defending champions Ghantoot Polo gained revenge over Emirates Polo with a 9-7 win to lift the Golden Polo Cup, the first competitive tournament of the season to be held at Abu Dhabi’s Royal Club.
Ghantoot Polo lost their opening match in the event to Emirates Polo 6-5, but the home team, who also drew 8-8 with top Dubai side Habtoor Polo, lifted their game for Friday’s final.
Ghantoot, who finished the preliminary games on the same points as Habtoor, made it into the final on goal difference having scored 13 to Habtoor’s 12.
Tournament runners-up Emirates initially appeared the run-away favorites to take the title, having won their preliminary matches. But they couldn’t sustain their winning ways in the final.
It began as an even affair, with the sides on level pegging until the fourth chukka. Each side scored two goals in the first chukka, one in the second and one in third to go into the fourth chukka tied 4-4.
But Ghantoot scored three times to Emirates’ two in the fourth and put two more goals between the posts in the fifth and final chukka. Emirates could only score once as Ghantoot emerged as victors.
Ghantoot put on a decisive team performance, with every player getting on the scoresheet, headed by team top scorer and six-goal handicapper Hugo Barabucci, who claimed three. Nasser Al Shamsi, Abdullah Bin Desmal and Juan Juaretche scored twice each.
For Emirates, Oscar Colombres scored four times, Nasser Al Dhari twice and Gonzalo Yansom once.
Yansom emerged as the tournament’s highest scorer with an impressive tally of 10 over the week.
“We may not have got the best of starts, but we showed improvement during the week and saved our best polo for the final,” said Ghantoot’s Argentine Barabucci, who scored eight times in the tournament. “It was a little bit too close for comfort, but there are no easy polo games in the big UAE tournaments and this was no exception.”