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NCB Black win polo thriller
Orville Clarke, Freelance Writer
In an exciting contest, NCB Black clipped NCB Blue 6-5 to win the annual NCB Capital Markets Limited High Goal Challenge Polo tournament at the Kingston Polo Club, Caymanas Estates on Sunday.
So close was the match (14-goal handicap) that both teams were locked 5-5 in the fourth and final chukka with only a minute remaining on the clock, before NCB Black gained the winner 30 seconds from time when the MVP of the final, Mark Wates, scored from a melee.
In the preceding consolation final, NCB Gold defeated NCB White 6 to 41/2 with two goals each from Kurt Chin and the Argentinian professionals Tomas Martinez and Jose Lartirigoyen. For the losers, the Argentinian Juan Humbert scored three times.
In the semi-final, which was rained out on Thursday and had to be rescheduled to Saturday, NCB Black defeated the yellow team 6-3 to advance, thanks to four goals from Paul Lalor, while NCB Blue drubbed the white team 5 to 11/2 with the Argentinian Tomas Gandara flicking in three.
Sunday's final, which saw NCB group managing director Patrick Hylton throwing out the first ball, was action-packed from the word go. NCB Blue wasted no time in asserting their authority, thanks to two quick goals by Gandara and John G. Byles.
But NCB Black were not perturbed and hit back to level the scores at 2-2 before the end of the first chukka. Mitta Rousseau, in a spectacular solo effort, broke clear from the half line and despite several of his opponents giving chase, shot cleanly from 20 metres out to make it 2-1, while Wates levelled the scores shortly after.
In the second chukka, Rousseau again broke clear, only this time his shot rebounded off the post, leaving Wates to tap in the ball. The black team then led 3-2.
As the match progressed, it was a ding-dong tussle until the final chukka. Lesley Fong-Yee scored for the blue team to level the scores at 5-5 with one minute and 22 seconds remaining, before Wates hit back with seconds remaining to give the black team a memorable win.
Wates and the Argentinian professional Jorge Donovan got two goals each, Rousseau and Lalor one each for the winners, while Gandara scored two, Byles, Fong-Yee and Andy Vernon one each for the losers.
Cowboy, owned by Paul Lalor, was adjudged the best playing pony.
The day's activities also included a fashion show by Go West and a parade of topline cars by Euro Star Motors.