Following a veritable blanketing of snow overnight, the snow polo field was in impeccable form for day two at the 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel 2020.
It’s day two of the event, and in front of the sold-out VIP tent, eight teams wrapped up warm and prepared to battle for the Semi-Finals of The 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel. With over 10cms of snow overnight, the surrounding terrain became a winter wonderland, the ideal backdrop for this exciting winter tournament.
Despite the snow falling at a record pace outside and the mercury dropping, the passion was hot on the field. The two eight goalers, Brit Jonny Good and Argentine Alejandro Novillo Astrada, were flying around the field with zeal, but it was Engel & Völkers who was the first to put their mark on the scoreboard. Before half-time, the red devils were ahead 6-1, but following the break, Bendura Bank came back with a vengeance.
Bendura Bank Captain Melissa Ganzi had the match of the year thus far, scoring four goals in two chukkas and helping to narrow the scoreboard to 10-5 with a phenomenal lofty pass forward to Novillo Astrada. But alas it was not enough, as young Segundo Darritchon showed the avid spectators what snow polo is all about, with an epic ‘air-shot’ run to goal, securing an 11th and final goal for Engel & Völkers, and with it, the victory.
Next up it was a chance for 2019 champions Sebastian Schneberger and Valentin Novillo Astrada to redeem their 2020 chances for the Laurent Perrier team following their defeat yesterday, as they came up against 2020s newest line-up, Bernd Gruber. The expert pairing of Santiago Marambio and Pato Bolanterio was a force to be reckoned with, with the 7 goalers fighting tooth and nail.
At half-time, there was little in it. With the teams sitting at 4-2½ in Bernd Gruber’s favour, passions were flying high. Throw in a yellow card, and a penalty shot so close to the goal line that umpire Mark Holmes had to jump down from the tower to call it personally, (against Bernd Gruber), much to the team’s dismay. It was edge of the seat excitement until the very last moments. In the end, Bernd Gruber rode away with a 5-3½ victory and with it, the glory.
The third match of the day was set to be a ‘belter,’ as the Americans, World Polo League, came up against a side led by one of Kitzbühel’s own, Intocast, with Matthias Normann at the helm.
With a 1½ goal handicap advantage, Intocast started strong, but American number one Nic Roldan and the mighty young Argentine Juan Bautista Peluso ensured they didn’t hold onto that lead for too long.
Intocast’s Martin Jauregui was all over the play, securing two goals in the second chukka with the help of teammate Micky Duggan to ensure Intocast were out in front, if only just. But this fast, passionate play was strenuous for all involved and by the final chukka, World Polo League had taken the edge, finding themselves out in front, 6-4½. New for 2020, World Polo League had a point to prove and prove it they did, as they championed this exceedingly competitive match, 7-5½.
If three matches of pure excitement weren’t enough for the avid spectators on the sidelines, the fourth was a stupendous final instalment for the second day of play in Kitzbühel. GP Mobility, another new team for 2020, came up against the might of long-time Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel supporters Corum.
The German number one, Patrick Maleitzke was first to make his mark on the scoreboard for Corum, but the Brazilian six-goal powerhouse Guilhermo Lins was all strength as he scored his first of seven goals for GP Mobility, putting the all-Brazilian boys in white five goals ahead by the beginning of the second chukka.
With a slight delay in play at the beginning of the third chukka, with both Team Captains, Marcus Schalldach and Eckhardt Juls, finding themselves having both dismounted, both teams reassessed their tactics. Maleitzke, refreshed from the break found the goal posts three times, but it wasn’t quite enough to put his team in the Final.
At the last bell, GP Mobility had sealed the win 8-6, and their spot against World Polo League in the Final tomorrow afternoon.
The final day of play will kick off with the first match, The Kitzbühel Cup for seventh and eighth place at 10.30 am tomorrow morning. The highlight of the day, The Bendura Bank Trophy, will take place at 2.15 pm and will see both new teams for 2020, World Polo League and GP Mobility battle for the trophy and the 2020 honours. But who will be crowned champions?
While the VIP area is sold out, entrance to the public area is free, with delicious local delights and refreshments available from a multitude of food concessions, keeping spectators warm and ready for the third and final day of thrilling action from the heart of the Austrian Alps.
Programme of the 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel
Sunday 18th January
- 10 am Gates Open
- 10.30 am Kitzbühel Cup (7th/8th Place): Bendura Bank vs Laurent-Perrier
- 11.45 am La Martina Trophy (3rd/4th Place): Corum vs Intocast
- 1 pm KCC Cup (5th/6th Place): Bernd Gruber vs Engel & Völkers
- 2.15 pm FINAL Bendura Bank Trophy: World Polo League vs GP Mobility
- 3.45 pm Prize Giving
- 5 pm Aprés Polo – Hornköpfl Hütte
Read more about the 18th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel here.