On Sunday the much awaited XI FIP European Championship kicked off at the Preußischer Polo & Country Club Berlin – Brandenburg, on the outskirts of Berlin, where the preliminaries are being played. 

There has been a lot of work from the club to have the fields on top conditions for the eight teams taking part of the tournament, and it really showed: most players remarked the high quality of the pitches and how easy it made the games. 

The hosting country, Germany, was the one to kick off the tournament taking on Slovakia. Germany immediately took the lead and didn’t allow Slovakia to score until the third chukka, when Justo José Santamarina managed to do so. The match ended on 10-3.5 (1/2 goal was awarded to Slovakia due to their lower team handicap) and the local team, formed by Heinrich Dumrath, Caesar and Caspar Crasemann and Niklas Steinle achieved their first victory. Later on, it was France’s turn to come after Poland. Even though the French didn’t have time to practice together due to their tight schedules – for instance, Louis Jarring was in Sotogrande until almost the start of the Championship – they managed to absolutely neuter their opponent that could merely score two goals, while les bleus scored 7. Final result was 7-3.5 (1.5 goals were awarded to Poland due to their lower team handicap).

On Monday it was the time for the Netherlands and Ireland to saddle up. Even though both teams were very strong, Ireland had a great advantage: most of the horses they were playing were in Beaufort before took part in high goal matches, and even though they travelled long, they adapted perfectly and their performances were top-notch. The result: 9-2 for the Irishmen. 

Finally, Italy and Austria closed this first round: through the first three chukkas the Italians led the game, even doubling their opponents on goal difference, but a great performance by the only scorer of the contrary team, Diego Braun, managed to turn the results around, scoring three goals on the third chukka, and the match finally ended on 6-5 favouring the Austrians.
 
Creighton Boyd, team Ireland: “Everyone was quite anxious about the first match because we weren’t quite sure about how we would function together in the field. I think we marked well, certainly in the first two chukkas. Mikey (Henderson) and Max (Hutchinson) certainly made a difference going forward, the field was fantastic so it was a really enjoyable match. It is nice to get yourself settled in the tournament specially with a result like this one. There was a lot of effort put into our team, specially from the groom’s side, you know we traveled for 23 hours, and they worked hard with the horses to get them used to the conditions here, now today they were in great shape, so we have to give them a good mention”.

Max Hutchinson, team Ireland: “We were a little anxious as Creighton said, but thankfully we were able to compose ourselves and perform well. We scored a couple of good goals early so that gave us peace of mind. The field is great, and the horses really enjoyed it, they gripped really well on the surface so that got them more confident. We are really happy about the result, and looking forward to the next match with Slovakia and then if we win that, it should be against Germany on Friday, we have to keep focused in order to continue winning”.

Schedule: 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016: 
3.00 pm – Germany vs. Netherlands
4.30 pm – France vs. Italy 

Wednesday, 31 August: 
3.00 pm – Ireland vs. Slovakia 
4.30 pm – Austria vs. Poland

Results:

Sunday, 28 August 2016
Germany vs. Slovakia – 10-3.5
France vs. Poland – 7-3.5

Monday, 29 August 2016
Netherlands vs. Ireland – 2-9
Italy vs. Austria – 5-6

Teams XI FIP European Championship:

Zone A
Germany (8)
Casper Crasemann (3)
Caesar Crasemann (2)
Heinrich Dumrath (3)
Niklas Steinle (0)

Ireland (8)
Creighton Boyd (0)
Stephen Hutchinson (1)
Max Hutchinson (3)
Michael Henderson (4)

Slovakia (7)
Ivan Weiss (1)
Felipe Kelly (4)
Martin Magal (1)
Justo Santamarina (1)

Netherlands (7)
Jim Souren (1)
Niels van der Hoeven (2)
Alexander van Andel (2)
Maurice van Druten (2)

Zone B
France (8)
Julien Reynes (3)
Florent Garaud (3)
Louis Jarring (2)
Tancrède Viguie-Desplaces (0)

Italy (8)
Emanuele Boni (0)
Juan Pepa (3)
Paolo Grillini (2)
Marcelo Caivano (3)

Austria (8)
Walter Scherb (1)
Diego Braun (4)
Martin Bieler (2)
Robert Kofler (1)

Poland (6)
Milos Ruszkowski (2)
Maciej Oibrych (2)
Michal Czatoryski (1)
Jack Ukwenya (1)

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