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BARBADOS - polo

LUCKY: Cheshire's Oliver Taylor escaped injury after falling from his horse during the third chukka. (Pictures by Clifton Henry.)

Compliments of the Barbados Nation Newsby CLIFTON HENRY

THE LARGEST CROWD ever to witness a polo game in Barbados turned up at the Lion Castle polo grounds, St Thomas, for the final match of the 2007 Diamonds International/Breitling-sponsored International Polo Tournament on Sunday.

President of the Barbados Polo Association, Keith Melville, told NATIONSPORT that he was very heartened by the mammoth crowd.

"I have never seen a larger crowd at any polo game in the history of polo in Barbados.

"Polo is definitely on the rise and this is evident from the increasing numbers so far for the year. This augurs well for the future of the sport in Barbados," he said.

On the field, the tournament climaxed with a thrilling 7-5 win for Barbados against the visiting Cheshire polo team of Britain.

Barbados entered the final game with the visitors leading the four-match series 2-1 and desperately in need of a win to level the series. Their recent record of not losing a series to Cheshire in four years was at stake.


Advantage


After the playing of the National Anthem, one could see the excitement and enthusiasm on the faces of both teams and spectators alike, as the horses paraded before the club house.

Both teams had huge spectator support groups, with the red colours of Cheshire very visible.

Barbados began the game with a one-goal handicap advantage, and in quick time Richard Gooding extended their lead by scoring their first field goal.

With one minute and 15 seconds to the end of the first chukka, Danny Atwell sent the hosts 3-0 up.

Cheshire, sensing the determined mood of the Barbadians, stepped up their pace early in the second chukka.

Forty seconds after the whistle, and before spectators were settled comfortably in their seats, Nick Brister scored the Brits' first goal.

Soon afterwards, wonder boy Will Emmerson collected a ball from about sixty yards out and dribbled through the Barbadian defence in spectacular fashion, as he did in the preceding game, to find the goal bars, much to the delight of the vocal Cheshire supporters.

Barbados struck back in quick succession through a Gooding goal and an Atwell penalty conversion with 44 seconds remaining on the clock, and the hosts entered half-time leading 5-1/2 to 2.

Shortly after the start of chukka No. 3, Atwell pushed the game further away from the visitors by scoring his third goal from about 40 yards out. Fewer than 20 seconds later, Gooding scored his third.

Cheshire pulled one back after being awarded a 60-yard "safety" (equivalent to a corner in football) which they scored to end the third chukka trailing Barbados by five goals.


Blazing


Cheshire came out blazing for the final burst and soon found the goal bars twice in quick succession to close the gap to a two-goal difference.

The goals came from a 40-yard penalty by Nick Brister and Emerson, producing one of his magical, unchallenged 80-yard runs, scored his second goal.

But it was too little too late for the Brits who were simply out-played.

 

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