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Day 2: Title defendant Cartier and BMW in tomorrow’s finals in St. Moritz

St. Moritz, 31 January 2015. In a thrilling match set against the backdrop of the magnificent Engadine Valley below a bright blue sky, Team Cartier went on to victory against Team Badrutt’s Palace and is set as the first participant of tomorrow’s finals. 

The day had awoken to excellent ground conditions after a bitingly cold night. In the first chukker of the Etihad Cup, Richard Le Poer Beresford (Badrutt’s Palace) and pro Chris Hyde (Cartier) shot their teams to scores level at 2 : 2. Then, Team Cartier, thanks to a superior Chris Hyde, got ahead of their opponent and increased their lead to 3 : 5. But Team Badrutt’s Palace, who on Friday had lost against Team BMW with just half a goal difference, were not ready to accept defeat. Quick and decisive actions, notably by Richard Le Poer Beresford (+6) and James Harper (+6), brought the scores back to a tie.

The score board showed 5 : 5 at the start of the fourth chukker—which, so far, has been the most fascinating chukker of the tournament. With the prospect of an even score at the end of the regular chukkers, a fifth chukker and a so called «golden goal» was about to decide on which team made it into the finals. Time was running out…Once again, in the last 30 seconds after the first bell, merely 10 seconds before the extra time, the incredible Chris Hyde scored a power goal bringing the title defendant, Team Cartier, into the finals. 

The second finalist was decided in the match for the Kempinski Trophy between the teams Trois Pommes and BMW. Both teams had played in close matches the day before—Team Trois Pommes with the two Swiss Cédrid Schweri and Thomas «Tutti» Wolfensberger and Argentine pros Pepe Riglos and Piki Diaz Alberdi, as well as Team BMW with the two pros Dario Musso (+7) and Lucas Labat (+6), beautifully in tune with each other, the German Paolo Netzsch, and the Italian team captain Rommy Gianni.

Team BMW entered the battle for the Kempinski Trophy fiercely, being, at the same time, the decisive match for the qualifications into the finals. By the start of the third chukker, BMW had gained a lead of 3 : 0; one very elegant goal having been scored by team captain Rommy Gianni (+1). Early on in the third chukker, Team Trois Pommes was presented with the opportunity to close the gap. Piki Diaz Alberdi, six-time winner of the St. Moritz tournament, scored two 30-yarders into the undefended goal and, for a few hopeful moments, at the score of 2 : 4, it seemed that Team Trois Pommes might win back a tie after all. But the duo Musso-Labat, playing supremely well, left the Swiss-Argentine team no room for manoeuvre and increased their team’s lead to a final score of 6 : 4 for Team BMW.

Two very strong teams will be facing each other in tomorrow’s finals—and they won’t be giving way easily. Exhilarating anticipation for yet another day of great polo at the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz—hopefully to a packed house again, as today.

Published: 31 January 2015