The Fortune Heights Snow Polo World Cup 2013 (“Snow Polo World Cup”) continued into the sixth day at Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club (“Metropolitan Polo Club”). Quarter finals conclude; Argentina, England, Hong Kong China and South Africa will move forward.

Snow Polo World Cup is one of the major events on the world polo calendar, and is the largest snow polo tournament in the world. This is the second year running that Metropolitan Polo Club, the largest polo facility in China, has been chosen as the venue of this prestigious event. The tournament is hosted by the Equestrian Association of China and the Federation of International Polo (FIP), and is organized by the Tianjin Sports Bureau, the Hong Kong Polo Development and Promotion Federation (HKPDPF) and the Tianjin Polo Association, with support from various sponsors.

Twelve teams have been participating in this year’s tournament with handicaps ranging from 14 to 16 goals, making this the world’s premier snow polo event. The teams, selected in cooperation with the Federation of International Polo, represent 9 out of the top 10 polo countries. Countries represented at the start of the tournament were: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Hong Kong, China, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. Eight of these teams passed through the qualifying rounds into the 2-day Quarter Finals, which concluded today.

Yesterday saw Hong Kong, China, last year’s tournament winner, defeating New Zealand on a tense penalty shootout after a 5 goal to 5 tie. England then scored a decisive victory, 6 goals to 3 against Chile. Today, both of these Semi-Finalists watched intently from the elegant comfort of the viewing gallery, hoping to deepen their understanding of their upcoming opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Along with the cheering crowds, they were treated to some of the most spectacular demonstrations of skill yet seen in the tournament, with South African player Tom De Bruin, and Argentine player Juan Ruiz Guiñazú in particular distinguishing themselves.

South Africa took a hard-fought, but decisive win against Canada. The first two chukkas were packed with action, long swings and team players galloping up and down field, but were low on goals. At the end of the second chukka the match was still very much undecided, at 2 goals to 1 in favor of South Africa. The third chukka was again full of action but light on goals, South Africa added 1 goal, and Canada looked almost certain to take 1 additional on a penalty shot, with the ball traveling fast and straight into the South Africa goal, only to see the ball knocked right back at them from out of mid-air by De Bruin. Continuing into the final chukka with excellent teamwork and tactical positioning, South Africa unleashed an onslaught, scoring 3 goals in succession. The match ended with a 6 goal to 2 win for South Africa. South Africa team manager Clive Peddle, acknowledging the skill of the Canadian team, ascribed today’s victory to strategy: “in these challenging snow conditions, we decided it was best to play a long-game, rather than keep the ball close-in, we kept to our strategy and it paid off for us”.

The final match of the Quarter Final saw Argentina play France. As in earlier matches, we saw Argentina demonstrate their full-on, forward-pressure style of play. Almost like 3 powerful magnets pulling towards a piece of iron, the Argentine players seemed drawn to their opponents’ goal posts. France handled the onslaught with a skill and a power of their own, letting in only a single goal during the first chukka, and then taking their only goal of the match in the second chukka. Towards the end of the second it looked like the effort to restrain Argentina had become too much, with Argentine power player Dario Musso making two very nearly successful long charges against the French goals.

It was in the third chukka that the crowds were treated to the most exciting play of the match. First, Dario Musso charged in and scored 29 seconds into the chukka. Then we saw teammate Guiñazú make a spectacular run, taking control of the ball on defensive play at the French goal line, and charging down the full length of the field, swinging forward on both sides as he galloped and finally placing solid strike into the French goal. Argentine team manager Santiago Gaztambide later commented: “this was our proudest moment of the tournament so far”. The match ended with a 5 goal to 1 win for Argentina. French team manager Philippe Perrier was disappointed to lose, but commented: “it is so exciting for us to be here in Tianjin, there is no other snow polo event in the world that provides such a global field of competition as this one” the French team will now return home, and will be looking forward to playing the final snow polo tournament of the European season in Cortina, Italy.

The Semi-Finals will be played on Saturday, 2nd February. The following matches will be played: Argentina vs. South Africa; England vs. Hong Kong, China.

The results:

Friday, 25th of January 2013

England

:

USA

4

:

2

Hong Kong

:

Brazil

7

:

4

South Africa

:

India

7

:

3


Saturday, 26th of January 2013

Argentina

:

Canada

6

:

3

England

:

New Zealand

2

:

4

Hong Kong

:

Chile

2

:

3


Sunday, 27th of January 2013

South Africa

:

France

4

:

3

Argentina

:

Australia

3

:

2

USA

:

New Zealand

1

:

4


Monday, 28th of January 2013

Brazil

:

Chile

4

:

5

India

:

France

2

:

5

Canada

:

Australia

5

:

4


Wednesday, 30th of January 2013

New Zealand

:

Hong Kong

7

:

8

Chile

:

England

3

:

6


Thursday, 31st of January 2013

South Africa

:

Canada

6

:

2

Argentina

:

France

5

:

1




The Teams:
ZONE 1
England (+16)
George Meyrick (+5)
Oliver Hipwood (+5)
James Harper (+6)
Reserve: Alen Kent (+3)

New Zealand (+16)
Glenn Sherriff (+4)
Christopher Brooks (+4)
John Paul Clarkin (+8)
Reserve: James Wood (+4)

USA (+16)
Robert Yackley (+3)
Alan Martínez (+6)
Mike Azzaro (+7)
Reserve: Joel Baker (+2)

ZONE 2
Hong Kong (+16)
John Fisher (+4)
Martín Inchauspe (+5)
Guillermo Terrera, Jr. (+7)

Chile (+15)
Juan M. Gerstle (+4)
Pablo Villela (+5)
Matías Vial (+6)
Reserve: Pablo De Vescovi (+3)

Brazil (+15)
Gustavo García (+3)
Pedro Zacharías (+6)
Luiz Carlos Figuera de Mello (+6)

ZONE 3
South Africa (+16)
Lance Watson (+4)
Chris Mackenzie (+5)
Tom de Bruin (+7)
Reserve: Terence Spilsbury (+4)

France (+14)
Edouard Pan (+4)
Pierre Henri N´Goumou (+5)
Juan M. González (+5)
Reserve: Clement Delfosse (+4)

India (+16)
Uday Kalaan (+4)
Basheer Alí (+6)
Shamsheer Alí (+6)
Reserve: Col Navjit Singh Sandhu (+4)

ZONE 4
Argentina (+16)
Martín Joaquín (+3)
Darío Musso (+6)
Juan Ruiz Guiñazú, Jr. (+7)
Reserve: Santiago Gaztambide (+6)

Australia (+16)
William Gilmore (+4)
Kelvin Johnson (+5)
Glen Gilmore (+7)
Reserve: Edward Goold (+4)

Canada (+16)
Robert Stenzel (+3)
Marcelo Abbiatti (+5)
Frederick Mannix, Jr. (+8)

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