By Bridget McArdle McKinney
February 27th, 2013 - Brilliant Play at the Pyramids
ON THE INVITATION OF FIP AMBASSADOR KARIM LOZA, WE TRUNDLED OUT TO THE ABU SIR POLO FIELD FOR THE FINAL DAY OF THE 10-GOAL ABU SIR POLO OPEN HOSTED BY EGYPT'S PREMIERE POLO ADVOCATE, FAROUK YOUNIS; PERFECT FIELD, PERFECT WEATHER, THE BEST TIME OF DAY IN CAIRO'S EARLY SPRING, WITH THE ABU SIR PYRAMIDS DIRECTLY BEFORE US. THIS PRO-AM MATCH WAS A TRUE REMINDER OF WHAT THE SPORT OF POLO COULD ONE DAY RETURN TO IN EGYPT.
We spoke with South African player, Derreck Bratley (handicap 4), who is here in Cairo to train polo horses and riders. He is bullish on the prospects of polo in Egypt. Gavin Chaplin, trainer and umpire for the match, feels that Egypt has an abundance of excellent riders and what is needed is more diverse competition, training, and a sufficient number of mounts.
The teams formed up:
No. 1 Marwan Moustafa - Egypt
No. 2 Mohamed El Suweidy - Egypt
No. 3 Derek Bratley – South Africa
No. 4 John Harris - USA
No. 1 Ibrahim Awadalla - Egypt
No. 2 Ahmed Wahby/Mohamed Bassiouny - Egypt
No. 3 Eduardo Menendez
No. 4 Franckie Menendez
(Eduardo, a 6 handicap, and Franckie, a whopping 7 handicap, hail from Argentina)
Due to the handicap count, White came up with a 4 goal bonus and with riders and umpire mounted and ready, the first chukka set the pace and style for the match - hot, heavy and no-holds-barred - resulting in 3 goals for Blue and 1 for White, leaving a chukka-end score of B3 to W5. You could see as the second chukka opened that 2's and 3's were working out strategy and defence and by chukka-end only one goal apiece was earned. The third allowed the power Menendez brothers to open up gaining two more goals against White's 1 goal, resulting in a closer 6 to 7 spread. No one sat in their seats for the fourth chukka. Goal hits, goal misses, bumps, fouls, and tremendous thundering runs down the field left us with two more goals for each side with the final score of Blue 8 to White 9.
Well done all! And thanks for an afternoon treat of some thrilling polo here in Cairo.
For more photos from the match, see: http://tinyurl.com/bm2tm9s