Thai Polo turned it on when they had to, coming back in thrilling Royal Salute Cup final of the RMPA Open 2016 to defeat Royal Pahang 9 – 7 1/2, at the Royal Selangor Polo Club on Saturday 6th August. The defending RMPA International League champions were made to work by Royal Pahang, who led twice in the match.
Young Tomas Llorente (6 goals) and tournament MVP Tengku Shazril (3) showed they were not awed by Thai Polo’s reputation, taking the game to them. Tomi Llorente was an explosive force, while Tengku Shazril showed what a composed player he is. Tengku Mohamed was a constant threat till he had to be replaced by Mohd Syarifuddin (Mentega) in the final chukka. Tengku Hassanal (1) again had a solid game for Royal Pahang, forcing his way into SEA Games reckoning.
Thai Polo’s Carlos Pando (6) and Raul Laplacette (6) played showing their years of experience of playing together. They dominated the centre of the ground. Quzier Ambak had a steady game in attack, while Thai Polo’s patron Dato’ Harald Link was steady in defence.
Tomi Llorente got Royal Pahang off to a great start, scoring the first goal to add to their 1 1/2 goals on handicap. Raul Laplacette replied, but the first chukka ended with Royal Pahang maintaining their handicap advantage 2 1/2 – 1.
Thai Polo went on the rampage with five goals in the second chukka. Raul Laplacette engineered three for himself, while Carlos Pando added another, and Dato’ Harald Link converted a 30 yarder. Tengku Shazril got one for Royal Pahang, but the game looked over at half-time with Thai Polo firmly in the lead at 6 – 3 1/2.
Nobody told Royal Pahang the game was over, and they came roaring back with three unanswered goals of their own. At the end of the third chukka Royal Pahang was back in front 6 1/2 – 6.
Tengku Muhammed took a horse hit and injured his back. He had to be replaced by Muhammad Syarifuddin (Mentega) for the final chukka.
Tomi Llorente took Royal Pahang further in front, and at the horse change break Thai Polo knew they had to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
Raul Laplacette magicked a comeback with a goal. With Carlos Pando creating havoc in front, Quzier Ambak took Thai Polo into the lead 8 -7 1/2. Raul Laplacette finished the match with a final goal to give Thai Polo and incredible 9 – 7 1/2 win in the Royal Salute Cup Final of the RMPA Open.
Tengku Shazril was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, voted by umpires Steve Evans (RSA) and Nicolas Scortichinni (ARG).
Champagne, a 9 y.o. Chestnut Argentine Mare, played by Raul Laplacette and owned by Thai Polo, was named Best Playing Pony.
In the Subsidiary Final La Sarita defeated HLF Polo 8 – 4 to win the MPA Cup. HLF again fielded a changed team, with Gines Bargallo stepping in for Horacio Etcheverry, and Keith Yeo deputizing for the injured Dato’ Mohamed Moiz. Juan Cruz Losada (6) and Gines Bargallo (6) both scored four goals for their teams.
- Quzier Ambak, 0
- Carlos Pando, 6
- Raul Laplacette, 6
- Dato’ Harald Link, 0
Royal Pahang Polo Club
- HH Tengku Muhammad Shah, 0
- Tomas Llorente, 6
- Tengku Shazril, 3
- HRH Tengku Hassanal, 1
- Ameer Jumabhoy, 1
- Agustin Andrada, 4
- Juan Cruz Losada, 6
- Asad Jumabhoy, 1
- Keith Yeo, 0
- Hugo Fischer, 3
- Shaik Reismann, 3
- Gines Bargallo, 6