Team Cadillac powered to a second consecutive Beach Polo Cup Dubai presented by Cadillac victory on Sunday evening, the defending champion narrowly edging Team Lindt 10-8 in a topsy-turvy climax played out under floodlights at Skydive Dubai.
Trailing 3-2 after an intense opening chukka, Team Cadillac fought back to draw level at 5-5 at the game’s midway point. With scores tied 7-7 going into the fourth and final chukka, Team Cadillac found the extra gear to pip Team Lindt in a dramatic finale enjoyed by hundreds of stylish polo fans and sporting enthusiasts.
Cadillac’s team included Emirati patron Tariq Albwardy, who scored the final’s opening goal to further underline his position as an influential figure in the local polo scene; patron Sam Instone from the UK, who plays at Dubai’s Desert Palm Polo Club, and internationally-acclaimed Argentinian professional Matias Machado, who followed up leading Team Cadillac to victory last year by scoring what proved to be this year’s title-clinching goal.
Racing clear with only two minutes and 30 seconds on the clock, Machado’s pivotal goal ended the brave challenge put up by Team Lindt’s British-born patron Stuart Wrigley, patron Carlos Pinal from Spain and Maxi Malacalza, the Argentinian player who is a long-time supporter of the Beach Polo Cup Dubai.
“It was a brilliant finale and Team Cadillac’s Tariq, Sam and Matias had to really dig deep to retain the title. Stuart, Carlos and Maxi displayed real determination to pushed themselves right to the limit,” said Gabriela Katiela, the event and tournament director. “Defending a title is often said to be harder than winning one – and so it proved tonight.”
In the first match of the evening, Team Qatar Airways triumphed over Team Hills Advertising in the third and fourth play-off game, with a comfortable 15-8.5 win. After a thrilling first half, Team Qatar Airways broke away in the third and fourth chukkas following an imperious display by talented Argentinian player, Lucas Labat.
With Labat’s compatriot Martin Gandarra setting an impressive tempo for Team Hills Advertising, Labat and Team Qatar Airways scored four goals in the game’s final five minutes to add gloss to the final score-line.
“It was brilliant to see so many people showing their support for beach polo – a game that is growing in popularity in the UAE and across the world,” added Katiela. “Beach polo resonates so well locally and internationally because it is so far removed from the traditional, elitist image of polo. This energetic format focuses on a younger, more sociable crowd and it really is a sport for everyone.”
With the curtain drawn on 2016, Katiela revealed her team at mamemo productions – which owns and organises the event – has already set its sights on upping the ante further next year. “Our goal is to portray Dubai and the wider UAE as a sporting hub and a luxury event destination,” said Katiela. “A key aspect of delivering that objective is evolving the event every year.”
For further information on the Beach Polo Cup Dubai, contact mamemo productions on 00971 4 3408589 or visit www.beachpolo.net