HLF Polo pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, defeating Thai Polo in the final of the RMPA International League. Playing for the MPA Challenge Cup, HLF Polo defeated Thai Polo 9 – 5 in a final that was much closer that the score suggests.
HLF Polo blasted off from the start, scoring four goals in the first four minutes of the game. Patron Dato’ Mohamed Moiz opened the scoring straight from the throw-in. Horacio ‘Diablo’ Etcheverry got two goals and Shaik Reismann the other, as HLF stunned Thai Polo with their attacking team play.
It was not to continue as Thai Polo clawed their way back into the match. Raul Laplacette and Carlos Pando tightened their defence and started their own comeback. HLF were held scoreless in the second chukka, and could only manage a tap-in penalty that Horacio nervously put against the post before following up to finish the third chukka 5 – 3 in front.
Carlos Pando opened the final chukka with a goal to bring Thai Polo within a goal of HLF. Raul Laplacette then tied the game at 6 -6 with half a chukka remaining.
Thai Polo looked like they would capitalise on HLF Polo’s nerves, but instead the HLF players threw caution to the wind and went back to their attacking formation. Fortune favours the brave, and it yielded instantaneous results. Etcheverry scored from a 30 yarder. From the restart, Shaik Reismann was sent on a run, which he finished in style. Not finished, Shaik Reismann had another run and finished the game with a glorious neck shot to nail a 9 – 5 win.
Ali Jumabhoy made his full debut for La Sarita in the Burma-Malaysia Polo Challenge Cup subsidiary final. La Sarita defeated Royal Pahang 7 – 3. All three Pahang princes, HH Tengku Mohamed, Tengku Amir and Tengku Shazril scored for their team.
Horacio Etcheverry was named Most Valuable Player by the umpires, Daniel Boudou (ARG) and Ben Turner (ENG).
Champagne, a 9 y.o. Chestnut Argentine Mare, bought from Lucas Monteverde and played by Raul Laplacette and owned by Thai Polo, was named Best Playing Pony for the second International League tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
RMPA International League
Thai Polo won the RMPA International League for the third successive year. They finished well ahead of La Sarita in the league points table.
The 2016 RMPA International League is a 12-goal league comprising of four tournaments:
- B Grimm Thai Polo Open
- RMPA Open
- Royal Pahang Classic
- RMPA International League Final
The RMPA International League was started in 2005 and has been played every season since. This season, the sponsors are Royal Salute, EFG Private Bank, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Celcom Axiata, Zack’s Tack and Harper’s Bazaar. The host clubs are Thai Polo & Equestrian Club, Royal Pahang Polo Club and the Royal Selangor Polo Club.
It was Thai Polo’s fourth official league win, and sixth if you include the years that the league was officially suspended.