Man and horse join forces tomorrow in a test of skill and dexterity as the First Citizens Investment Services-sponsored Barbados Polo Open eight-goal handicap tournament starts at the plush Lion Castle, St. Thomas grounds.
The highly anticipated tournament was officially launched at First Citizens’ Warrens, St. Michael branch today and will also receive corporate sponsorship from Bulova, Virgin Atlantic and Courtesy Garage.
Vice-president of the Barbados Polo Club, Danny Atwell, welcomed the participating teams in the tournament and expressed his pleasure and gratitude at the involvement of the sponsors whom he noted always contributed to the successful staging of such tournaments.
Atwell said that polo fans could expect some exciting action as teams were more evenly matched this year than they were last year.
Among the seven teams which will be participating in the five-day tournament which starts tomorrow at 3.15 p.m. are Bulova, Rugby, First Group, Veuve Cliquot, Range Rover, CGI Clifton and ICBL. Matches will also be contested at Holders Hill and Apes Hill, St. James.
The Bulova Team A will consist of Sir Charles Williams, Jamie Dickson, Cesar Polledo and George Gemmell , while the line-up for Rugby is Rhys Odle, Nico San Roman, Bobby Dundas and Jeff Evelyn. The First Group team will consist of the crafty Pablo Crespin, Oliver Browne, Gary Shepherd and Tarquin Southwell. Veuve Cliquot will be fielding Damian Luke, Richard Gooding, Marc Atwell and Mike Henderson. Range Rover comprises Jason O’Selmo, Phillip Tempro, Martin Jauregui and Danny Atwell, The ICBL will have Stewart Gill, Teddy Williams and Oliver Taylor in the saddle with the fourth player still to be announced.
Also slated to see action is regular on the polo circuit, Bruce Bayley. He will join Christan Chaves, David Ashby and a fourth player still to be determined, in a line-up hoping to make the March 17 final at Apes Hill.
Speaking to Barbados TODAYBritish player Gemmell, who has never failed to impress local polo enthusiasts, said he would be turning out for Bulova and hoping to reap the same success he achieved when he was in Barbados two years ago. Back then Gemmell played outstandingly to help the Digicel Team lift the prestigious trophy. Gemmell said he expected tough opposition as polo tournaments in Barbados tended to be extremely competitive.
Also speaking to Barbados TODAYwas New Zealander Henderson who now resides in the United Kingdom. Henderson said he had previously played polo in Barbados and indeed was in the island as recent as last month when he took part in a six-goal handicap tournament. He will be playing for Veuve Cliquot.
“We are the dark horses of the competition, but we all have a good chance of winning the trophy,” he said, adding it was about playing as a four man team. Henderson noted that polo apart, he loved playing in Barbados because of the sunshine and the good food.
In addition to players from Great Britain and New Zealand, three players from Argentina will also see action over the next few days. A number of players from last year’s First Citizens’ 10-goal open tournament are also back this year, including Crespin, Dundas, Atwell, Tempro and Gooding. Last year Bulova, First Caribbean, First Group and Range Rover played excellent polo and will be among the teams closely watched.††