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It's Jamaica by a whisker : local polo players win three-match series

Orville Clarke, Freelance Writer

The Audi Jamaica team clipped the visiting Virgin Atlantic Indian polo team 6.5-6 in the final match of their First Caribbean International Bank Wealth Management-sponsored Jaipur Trophy series at the Kingston Polo Club, Caymanas Estates, yesterday.

The large crowd on hand was treated to exciting polo and it went down to the wire so to speak. Jamaica snatched the lead two minutes from time, the all-important goal coming from Alexander Melville.

Other members of the Jamaica team were James Robertson, Mark Melville and Paul Lalor, captain and the MVP of the final. Alexander Melville and Robertson scored two goals each and Lalor one.

Chin's five goals

Jamaica thus capped the three-match series 2-1, having won the opening game 9-6, thanks to five goals from Kurt Chin, on the previous Sunday in Sandy Bay, Hanover, while the Indians pipped the St Ann Polo Club Jamaica team 61/2-6 in the second match at Drax Hall on Saturday afternoon, with four goals from Kalaan and two from the rookie Om Singh.

A fourth match was played at Drax Hall last Thursday, but this was a mixed team round robin encounter.

With both teams locked at 1-1, the outcome of the series was on the line yesterday and there was never a dull moment. By virtue of their 13-goal handicap, the Indian team had to give up a 11/2-goal advantage to the lower-ranked Jamaica team (10-goal handicap) and this made a big difference in the end.

Clever shot

The Indian team comprising the highly ranked Angad Kalaan (captain), Vicky Nihalani, Ajit Singh and Vishal Singh (who scored four goals) and managed by Colonel Kuldeep Singh Garcha, opened the scoring through Vishal, but Lalor replied for Jamaica who led 21/2-2 at the end of the first chukka.

Thereafter, the Indians were in front for the most part, but James Robertson's clever shot early in the fourth and final chukka took Jamaica to within half point (6 to 51/2) of the Indians, before 'Zanda' Melville found the winner.

Prior to this match, Ponderosa, captained by Mark Wates, won the Kingston Polo Club premier league title, beating Chukka Caribbean 51/2-4 in the final.

In the presentation of prizes, each member of the Jamaica team was presented with Movado wrist watches (valued at $120,000) by Gordon Tewani, managing director of Mall and Tropical Jewellers, while LOUISA, owned by Dennis Lalor, was adjudged the best playing pony.

Among those present were Minister of Industry and Commerce Karl Samuda, Mexican Ambassador Leonora Rueda and Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva.