The Hong Kong Polo Team (HKPT) has won the final of the Hong Kong Challenge Cup 2016. This victory at Korea Polo & Country Club marks HKPT’s 5th international win, beating the Royal Salute Jeju and Korea BMW teams in a five-chukka match.
The final game saw HKPT versus the Royal Salute Jeju team (who had beaten Korea BMW earlier). It was a great final, with an uncertain result until the very last few seconds. JB Lee and his son Rock scored early in the first chukka, keeping the tempo, anticipating HKPT’s mid-field, making it a struggle for Russell and James to keep pace with a very well mounted Royal Salute’s midfield. Out running HKPT, the Royal Salute left a 2 vs. 1 and 3 vs. 1 inside HKPT’s 60-yard mark. It was 3-0 to Royal Salute at the end of the first chukka, leaving a lot of work to do if HKPT were to turn it around.
Slowing the ball on the second chukka, Pato Furlong, Captain of Hong Kong Polo Team, controlled the pace of the match and disrupted Royal Salute’s long-passing game. Drawing their midfielders close, left Kwan and Russell more freedom, allowing HKPT to score 2 goals in quick succession. With only 3 minutes to play, Kwan hit the ball forward off a scrimmage, allowing Pato Furlong to break free whilst being chased by a very fast JB Lee. Russell then picked up the ball, scoring from a short distance – levelling the score at 3-3 with only 2 minutes to go. Rock from Royal Salute then missed a shot inside HKPT’s 60-yard line. Allowing Russell to seize an opportunity to score the match-winning goal through a narrow gap in between 2 Royal Salute’s defenders with only 10 seconds left to the final whistle. It was a fantastic comeback, showing great determination and a winning mentality from HKPT.
Hosted by J.B. Lee, the Chairman of the Korea Polo Country Club, the polo matches were aired live for the first time on Facebook and YouTube. With the final match commentary narrated by seasoned English polo player Toby Copson. In terms of post event celebrations, Macey and Sons staged a live auction with proceeds going to HKPT’s charity Riding for the Disabled (RDA).
Patrick Furlong, Captain of Hong Kong Polo Team: “What a result! Following a very tough last day of competition, against two very determined Korean teams, we fought hard for the HK Challenge Cup at the Korea Polo Country Club in Jeju. We had a strong start in the preliminary games on Friday. Kwan Lo was a constant threat to the opposition’s defence and was very quick on the ball with our counter attacks. Russell Tyre and James Bean worked tirelessly in midfield, keeping a very disciplined defence-attack format with good timing and covered each other during our opposition’s attack. We are very happy with the end result, this is our second successive victory in Korea. I’m particularly proud of the team’s attitude, discipline, focus in difficult times and our ability to adapt game plan gave us the victory today.”
Dave Savage, President of Asia World Polo: “What an incredible couple of days and a nail biting finale! Host J.B. Lee and his team put on a spectacular event and it was a pleasure to be invited back to play against two strong Korean teams. Once again we would like to thank all our sponsors for their on-going support and in particular for this event, JetSolution, ALFA Investors and Macey and Sons – for attending in full force to cheer on our Hong Kong Polo Team to the final bell. I’d also like to thank Connexion D’Art, ALFA Investors and Macey and Sons for their generosity by supporting our after dinner Charity Auction for the Riding for the Disabled Association. Each step we take brings us a little closer to our dream of bringing polo back to Hong Kong and the Sport of Kings to the people.”
Photos © KohGiho