NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – “It’s not over until the fat lady sings” were the words of South African hard hitter and handicap five player, Lance Watson, after his side Samurai lost 9-6 to Space and Style in day one of the Kenya International 14-Goal Polo Tournament at the Nairobi Polo Club (NPC) on Friday afternoon.
The match was evenly marched but was only stretched and won in the closing stages of the five chukka showpiece.
In the other tough match of the day, Four Of A Kind scored late on to beat White Cap 10-9, in a match another South African Chris MacKenzie scored a remarkable seven times for the losers.
Samurai captain, Raphael Nzomo, said his team is lucky to have secured the services of the high profile goal poacher who featured for his country at the world cup in Malaysia last year.
“I feel honored to play alongside Watson. He is a ferocious player on pitch, other contestants quake in their boots at the thought of meeting the beef farmer,”he adde
Philou Salle handicap (two) has hailed the level of the game in the international tournament.
In the victory against defending champion Samurai, Salle said his team managed to control most of the game.
“In Polo, controlling the ball is everything. That is think was the big difference between the two teams.
Salle who has been playing the game for over two decades has tipped his team Space and Style to get stronger on Saturday and Sunday.
” Having top players like Buster Mackenzie and Jamie Murray in the team means we can only get better, I will take today’s match as only build up,” remarked the experienced player.
Importantly for Salle and Space and Style, the players used the first game to get to know each player’s strengths something that will come in Handy in positioning.
“The linkages and even better teamwork will be felt in the subsequent games,” the Nairobi Polo Club based player offered.
Lance Watson has predicated Samurai will bounce back after a unexpected defeat to Space and Style.
According to the top ranked South African Player, it was was though competitive game of polo.
“The scoreline is not the correct representation of the match. The match was very close to call,” summed up the handicap (five) hard hitter.
Midway through the five Chukka game, Waston argued that the match was evenly matched, luck did play a bigger part as the victors scored and extended the lead to eventually take the match.
“We had chances to narrow the gap or probably win it, but we were simply not luck.
” We take solace that this was the toughest match of the round robin tournament with two very top ranked players. Saturday and Sunday should be relatively easier,” added the South African who played in the FIP World Cup in Malaysia.
Mbu Ngugi (2.5) and Nzomo (2.5) defend the prestigious cup they won in 2017 after emerging champions in the round robin encounter.
-By Amos Abuga-