Ghantoot captain Abdullah Bin Desmal paid tribute to his team after they defeated AM/Habtoor by 10 goals to 7½ in a thrilling final of the prestigious Emirates Open Polo Championship at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club on Friday evening.
Bin Desmal said his team deserved the win against a top side like AM/Habtoor and expressed his delight with their five-game winning run in the 15-handicap tournament. Ghantoot remained unbeaten in the five-team tournament which served up a royal treat over the two weeks of fierce competition.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win such a prestigious tournament as the Emirates Open,” said Bin Desmal. “I think the key to our success was that we kept improving with every game which helped strengthen our confidence going into such a tough final with AM/ Habtoor.
“It was very tight in the first two chukkers, but by the end of the second, we began to gel as a team and gradually took hold of the match. “We will celebrate this now but then start preparing for the rest of the season. AM Habtoor was well-prepared and performed really well. Good luck to them next time,” Bin Desmal said.
Abu Dhabi Polo Team beat Mahra/ Bangash 10 goals to 7½ in the sub-final. Zayed Alaboudi Al Zaabi, Ghantoor’s managing director, congratulated the winners and runners-up on a very entertaining final.
“We could not have asked for a better performance from both teams,” he said, “All of us present at Ghantoot were on the edge of our seats right from the start to the finish. The standard of polo on display was top class and this is what we want to see and encourage at Ghantoot.
“We strive to be the best and competitions like these show that the UAE is right up there with the best polo playing nations in the world. We look forward to hosting more exciting events and tournaments in the months to come,” Al Zaabi added.
The 2019 season has been a special year for UAE polo as El Overo Z7 UAE defeated La Dolfina to win the Women’s Argentine Open.
The first chukka saw the teams eye each other up, with neither side finding the uprights, but as the second chukka commenced, El Overo Z7 UAE’s Lía Salvo secured two goals, putting her side ahead, where they stayed for the remainder of the match.
By half-time, El Overo Z7 UAE were 6-2 ahead, with little in response from the La Dolfina Brava ladies. Salvo led her team valiantly, scoring five goals despite playing at back.
In the third chukka and on her debut in the Open, young Brit 18-year-old Milly Hine, kept up El Overo Z7’s pressure, scoring a golazo as she took the ball along the boards from halfway in front of the grandstands, and found the uprights with a neck shot from 80 yards out.
La Dolfina Brava came back in the seventh chukka, narrowing the lead to 9-5, but El Overo Z7 UAE’s lead was just too strong. Clara Cassino signed on the dotted line for El Overo Z7 UAE with a final goal in the eighth chukka 19-5, to secure the title for the first time ever.