Peter Ibrahim Abisheganaden reporting for POLO+10 from Malaysia

La Pampa – GTM hung on for a narrow 4,5-4 win over La Boheme in the Visa Cup final of the Malaysian Ladies Polo Championships. Sarah Wiseman and Claire Donnelly engineered a fantastic win. Playing superbly with patrons Fazila Filippi and Melissa Tiernan, they stunned La Boheme by going out to a 3,5 goal lead in the early chukkas of a rain affected game. Sunny Hale, Kirsty Hawkins, Claudia Zeisberger, Lorna Dodd and patron Puan Seri Leah Hamdan made a valiant fight of it, never giving up and coming back strongly in the final chukka, but ran short of time.

Sunny Hale was contained in the first half by some brilliant defensive marking by Claire Donnelly. The British lass had to use all her power-lifting strength to handle America’s strongest lady player. Her performance was to win Claire the title of Most Valuable Player. She won a flower seat saddle from Zack’s Tack and a set of CD’s of the Argentine Open Finals.

It was a clean sweep of the prizes as Melissa Tiernan won the Jaeger-LeCoultre Ladies Reverso for Most Valuable Patron. Her 8 year old Argentine mare, Petraka, played by Sarah Wiseman, won Best Playing Pony.

While she may not have won the prizes, it was Sarah Wiseman who hurt La Boheme the most with a couple of brilliantly taken goals in the first two chukkas. Capitalizing on Claire’s good work on Sunny, Sarah was able to cut through La Boheme to take La Pampa – GTM to what proved to be an insurmountable lead.

Sunny eventually broke free, but on a rainy afternoon, it was just not her day. La Boheme’s valiant comeback in the final chukka was cut short by the final bell.

In the Jaeger-LeCoultre Cup for 3rd place, Butterfly Twists were easy victors over Jennzilla. Hazel Jackson and Lia Salvo were back at their best, demolishing Jennzilla 6-1,5. Saskia Baharuddin and Dato’ Aslizan Zabidin got a goal each to cap a great run in the Malaysian Ladies Polo Championships. If not for HPA’s who-beat-who rule, Butterfly Twists would have contested the final. Their only loss was to the eventual champions La Pampa – GTM.

It was not to be for Jennzilla, who finished the tournament as the only team to finish winless. Jennifer Too has had a wonderful season, and is arguably Malaysia’s best lady player at present. But the team with Adilla Jamaluddin, Marina Galarza and the great Paola Martinez never clicked.

Visa’s Country Manager, Stuart Tomlinson gave away the prizes and indicated that Visa has every intention of supporting Malaysian Polo again next season.


The standings:
1. La Pampa – GTM (+1)
Fazila Filippi (-2)
Melissa Tiernan (0)
Clare Donnely (+1)
Sarah Wiseman (+2)

2. La Boheme (+3)
Puan Seri Leah Hamdan (-1)
Kirsty Hawkins (+1)
Sunny Hale (+3)
Claudia Zeisberger (0)
R: Lorna Dodd (-1)

3. Butterfly Twist (+3)
Saskia Baharuddin (-1)
Lynly Fong (+1)
Hazel Jackson (+1)
Lia Salvo (+2)
R: Daryl Yeap (0)

4. Jennzilla (+2)
Adilla Jamaluddin (-1)
Jennifer Too (0)
Paola Martinez (+3)
Marina Galarza (0)