24 -02 -2019 | Delhi,india
A taut battle between Garcha Group-Aravali Polo and Sahara Warriors on the final day of Northern India Open Polo Championship 2019
The grandstand was packed with people excited to their nerves for the match to begin. Preparing for the finals of Northern India Open Polo Championship 2019, the players were excited and nervous about the match. Greeting each other with a warm welcome, the players and the team owners had a motivational talk before the match. The commentator for the match, Sharad was ready with some good punchlines to start off the match. Blank expressions of the crowd soon turned into happy faces when the band performed. The players massed around the umpire, the commentator called every player individually, players got themselves clicked, the photographers clicked team photographs, the crowd was anxious and enthusiastic at the same time and the play for the finals began.
Sahara Warriors and Garcha Group-Aravali Polo got ready to get in action for the finals of the 16-goal tournament
|Garcha-Aravali Group||Sahara Warriors|
|Satinder Garcha +2||Vandit Golechha +1|
|Angad Kalaan +3||Siddhant Sharma +4|
|Col Ravi Rathore +5||Dhruvpal Godara+5|
|Manuel F. Llorente +6||Matthew Perry +6|
The action for the finals finally began with the umpires, Martin Pascual and Abhimanyu Pathak, blowing the whistle for the players to assemble. Garcha Group-Aravali Polo, playing in blue-yellow coloured jersey were off to a flying start as a counter attack from Manolo Llorente missed the goal by a few inches. Matthew Perry, leading the team in white, ran towards the goal but missed a chance to score. Manolo Llorente and Matthew Perry, battling for the ball, were involved in a feisty clash for the ball. Col Ravi Rathore took a powerful spot hit and assisted Angad Kalaan, who scored the first goal of the game. Matthew Perry's attack was stopped midway by Manolo Llorente but Matthew scored in the final seconds of the chukker to wind up the first chukker at:
The action for the second chukker quickly began with Angad Kalaan charging furiously towards the goal. Hitting a powerful shot to interrupt Matthew's defence, Manolo wasn't able to convert it into a goal. Siddhanth Sharma passed a lofted through ball towards the goal which was converted into a goal by Vandit Golechha. The score was 2-1 with Sahara Warriors in the lead. Sahara Warriors were lucky to get a chance to extend their lead but the 60’ penalty was missed by Matthew Perry. The luck was in favour of Sahara Warriors today as Dhruvpal Godara converted a 30’ penalty into a goal. As the match resumed from the centre, Angad Kalaan scored another one for Garcha Group-Aravali Polo to bring them back in the game. Garcha Group-Aravali Polo were coming back in the game but Manolo Llorente's shot from the angle missed the goal and Garcha Group-Aravali Polo failed to equalise the scoreboard. Another chance to equalise the scoreboard was grabbed by Manolo as he hit the goal from the 30’ spot to end the chukker at:
As Abhimanyu Pathak rolled in the ball for the start of the third chukker, Siddhant Sharma and Manolo Llorente involved in an intense tussle which resulted in a 40’ penalty in favor of Sahara Warriors. Dhruvpal Godara's shot from the 40’ spot was stopped by Manolo Llorente. A close encounter after the miss was ended by Dhruvpal Godara as he scored a goal to bring Sahara Warriors back in the leading position as the score was 4-3 in favor of Sahara. Manolo Llorente missed a chance to score an equaliser from the 30’ spot. The match progressed towards the second half of the third chukker as Manolo missed another one from the 30’ spot. Dhruvpal Godara, attacking Angad Kalaan's defense, made a brilliant run towards the goal but the shot missed the goal. Matthew Perry scored a goal to end the chukker on a high for Sahara Warriors.
The action for fourth chukker began with a fantastic backhand from Col Ravi Rathore to assist Manolo Llorente which ended with Garcha Group- Aravali Polo awarded a 30’ spot which was converted by Angad Kalaan. A fantastic ball from Dhruvpal Godara for Siddhant Sharma couldn't be scored as the ball ran past the goal post. The score was 5-4 in favor of Sahara Warriors. After a break Angad Kalaan scored from the 40’ spot to equalise the scores at 5-5. The match resumed as Col Ravi Rathore managed a beautiful play which was completed by Angad Kalaan as he striked the ball to mark the 6th goal for Garcha Group- Aravali Polo and the chukker ended at:
Opening the action for fifth chukker with an awesome hit towards the goal, Angad Kalaan quickly brought the play in action. Cool Ravi Rathore's ball was defended by Dhruvpal Godara as he hit a powerful backhand. Manolo Llorente passed a lofted through ball for Col Ravi Rathore and Col Ravi Rathore, leaving Dhruvpal Godara behind, hit a powerful shot that marked the 7th goal of Garcha Group-Aravali Polo. Sahara Warriors retaliated to the goal with Dhruvpal Godara scoring from the 30’ penalty. The play resumed and the umpires blew the whistle for a foul. After a serious discussion between the two umpires, Sahara Warriors we're awarded a 40’ penalty which was scored by Dhruvpal Godara to equalise the scores at 7-7. Sahara Warriors was back in lead as Dhruvpal Godara scored another one from the 40’ spot. A great tussle in front of the goal was won by Vandit Golechha as he drifted past Manolo Llorente but missed the ball and his effort won a 30’ penalty for Sahara Warriors. With less than a minute left for the chukker to end, Dhruvpal Godara scored from the 30’ penalty. The match resumed with Col Ravi Rathore passing a through ball to Angad Kalaan and the play was defended by Dhruvpal Godara's backhand to end the fifth chukker at:
The sixth chukker kickstarted with Angad Kalaan scoring from the 30’ spot to bring Garcha Group-Aravali Polo back in the game. The game started from the center and Angad Kalaan passed a great through ball to Col Ravi Rathore which was tapped in by Col Ravi Rathore to level the scores at 9-9. Manolo Llorente and Matthew Perry were involved in a great tussle in front of the goal which was won by Manolo Llorente as he hit the ball towards the goal but missed by a few inches. The game was paused for the players to change their horses which resumed with Manolo Llorente scoring a goal from the spot hit. Manolo's goal brought Garcha Group-Aravali Polo in the lead. The match was neck to neck in the last chukker as a lofted through ball by Manolo Llorente was defended by Dhruvpal Godara. Matthew Perry, drifting with the ball towards the goal, was bumped by Manolo Llorente and a quick backhand from Angad Kalaan put the ball in the safe zone but Sahara Warriors were awarded a 60’ penalty in the last 15 seconds of the sixth chukker. Dhruvpal Godara’s shot was defended by Garcha Group-Aravali Polo and Sahara Warriors we're awarded another 60 yarder which was scored by Dhruvpal Godara to level the scores in the last seconds of the sixth chukker. With no team being able to score in the extra 30 seconds, the game progressed to the seventh (sudden death) chukker.
As soon as the match for the death chukker kicked off, Angad Kalaan fell off his horse but keeping the Polo spirit alive, he got back to play. Manolo Llorente raced off with the ball from the left but a goal line save from Siddhant Sharma disallowed the goal but Garcha Group-Aravali Polo were awarded a spot hit which was converted by Manolo Llorente into a goal. Garcha Group-Aravali Polo won the Northern India Polo Championship by :