At the end of the three day show that married top polo action, glamour and a healthy dose of charity, it was Inanda Polo Academy (IPA) who carried the day with 10-6 victory over the seasoned Team Green Machine.
The party is still going on for the winners who succeeded last year’s champions, Supa Guavas who opted out of the title defence.
IPA led by Murray Butcher had to rally 2-4 from behind in the second chukka to take the lead 6-4 in the third before sealing victory over the experienced Team Green Machines 10-6 by the end of the fifth.
Team Green Machine through their three-goaler Wayne Hartley, took the lead after he scored a brace. Team-mate Wareen Lurie a two-goaler then followed with another brace in the third chukka.
IPA captain Butcher came to the rescue in the third chukka to score a penalty equalizing 4-4 and not long after Crispin Cheadle gave them a 5-4 lead.
By the fourth chukka IPA had their eyes on the prestigious trophy with Butcher scoring the winning goal. With heads held up high Butcher had scored four goals for their emphatic win while Cheadle and James each scored a hat trick for IPA.
Various teams competed in this year’s event including African Polistas, Linetrale, Rutland Ridge, Veuve Cliquot Champs, Inanda Renegades, Envirobiz, Los Potros and Polo Africa, a development side. Players from Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt were among them.
The Sunday final was a culmination of three days of polo action that saw hundreds thronged the Inanda Polo Club.
South Africa Tourism made it possible for journalists from various countries to cover the event by hosting the to a three day visit as part of their showcase of this beautiful country down south.
For the final day it was a beautiful sunny setting with polo enthusiasts and others not as passionate donning high end attire in all colour, sizes, design and taste.
It stayed true to its billing as event to showcase high end African fashion but on the pitch the prowess and skills of some of the best horsemen on the continent that included club teams from Nigeria and Ghana were on display.
Besides the glitz and glamour on parade, a VIP fundraising dinner was also organised to raise funds for the Inanda Club’s chosen beneficiaries, namely: Alexandra Aids Orphans and the Highveld Horse Care Unit.
The event also featured a groom’s race and the test of ‘horse power’ where a thoroughbred pony raced against a high performance vehicle.
Polo in Africa
South Africa’s Polo president Walter Grinrod said the premier event was, “A leading initiative within the promotion of club polo within Africa. If you look at Inanda, it’s not an international competition even if we are competing against Kenya, or Zimbabwe. It’s a sort of test-the-water-to-see how the club system works continentally.”
“I think it will be a great initiative if we could get some internationally recognized sides by the association of African countries. That will be the next step but at the moment this will remain as a club event.
His parting words were simple and to the point.
“The future looks good, we need more African countries in here but certainly this is the best I have seen in all the years we have played the Inanda.”
This year’s event followed the success of previous edition which was won by the Supa Guavas.