NAIROBI, Kenya, July 29 – Royal Salute edged White Cap 8.5-8 to win 2018 Connaught Cup Polo Tournament at Nairobi Polo Club in Jamhuri on Sunday evening.
The victory did not come easy as the winners were saved by a last minute penalty stunner by team captain and handicap 3.5 player, Craig Millar.
Five star Millar scored five times, including a treble in the fifth chukka, to send the expectant fans into ecstasy. Neutrals will agree the match lived to the bailing.
Nairobi Polo Club vice chairman and handicap 2.5 hitter, Rapahel Nzomo, had arguably his best match of the new season, getting on the score sheet twice, the first goal of the match in the first chukka and also his team’s fifth in the fourth Chukka.
Interestingly, for Nzomo, it was his all-round performance both offensively and defensively that won him admirers not only from his own teammates but the spectators at large. Nzomo’s amazing run upfront could have yielded over five goals had he been keen enough.
“The game was very tough and therefore it had more to do with windfall and some blessings. Most importantly I am happy to have won my first trophy of the season.”
‘For a game that went to the wire, that penalty shot was the savior,” underscored Nzomo who has had a stint in polo for the 13 years.
Tournament sponsors and match favourites, White Cap, started the match strongly, their top scorer and handicap five Jamie Murray scored a quick brace in the first chukka for a 2-1.5 advantage.
Murray continued the onslaught in the second chukka scoring once with Mini Trappe getting another for a 4-2.5 lead at the end of the chukka, Archie Voorspuy kept the salute in the match with his only goal of the match.
Murray restored his team’s three goal advantage, which was again reduced to two by Millar’s penalty to wind the third chukka 5-3.5.
Handicap 2.0 Kimoi Moi and Tarquin Gross scored in the fourth chukka to put White Cap on the verge of the tournament only for Millar’s penalty and Nzomo’s moment of brilliance to get the match to 7-5-5 at the end of the chukka.
Trappe scored his second of the match at the start of the fifth chukka seemed to have won it for White Cap but Millar had Royal Salute scoring in quick succession in closing minutes of the chukka for one of the sweetest comebacks of the weekend.
Attention now shift to the Kenya International tournament that will be held in September at the same ground.
Nzomo has promised fans of a high octane encounter in fast and furious ponies.
“I will bring two internationals from south Africa Brian McGibbons and another player to be disclosed later,” offered Nzomo whose horse, Jessica Flight, won Best Playing Pony award.