Spoils shared at first polo international

2013-08-19 00:00

A 4-4 DEADLOCK between South Africa and Chile in the first BMW polo international at Shongweni yesterday was perhaps a fitting result for two young sides filled with players beginning to make their name in the sport.

It was a tightly contested match with the pendulum swinging both ways without allowing either side too much ascendancy.

This was the sixth time the two sides had met and the South Americans were keen to get one over the team in green and gold after Saturday’s annihilation of the Pumas on the rugby field.

Chile started the stronger, hitting the post in the first attacking move of the game. South Africa’s Lance Watson shot wide from a 60-yard penalty soon after and the Chileans were first on the board after an open goal penalty virtually on the goal line. Watson made up for his earlier miss late in the chukka with an equaliser and the sides headed into the second chukka at 1-1.

The Chileans enjoyed a good period in the second chukka, getting two unanswered goals from skipper Juan Vercellino and Jose Pereira to take a 3-1 lead and take the challenge to Guy Watson and his men.

South African defender Leroux Hendriks took a slight tumble in the chukka after his horse stumbled and, after brief medical attention, horse and rider returned to the fray.

Guy Watson stepped up to the plate in the third chukka with a superb solo goal, the only score in that period, to leave matters evenly poised at 3-2 going into the break.

After spectators had flattened divets in the field during half time, the South Africans came out with purpose in the fourth chukka, full of attack and putting the visitors under pressure.

It reaped rewards as Lance Watson found the equaliser and struck again with virtually the last piece of play in the chukka to have the South Africans in front for the first time at 4-3.

Vercellino struck back in the fifth chukka with a solo effort that had the crowd on their feet, picking up the ball deep in his half and galloping the length of the field to guide the ball between the posts and bring the teams level once again at 4-4.

This proved the final strike of the match as the last chukka saw both sides searching for the win with attacking play that unfortunately could not bring glory.

Both sides missed numerous opportunities and penalty strikes to assert their authority but the result ensures next week’s second Test at Waterfall Polo Park in Johannesburg is a must win affair for both sides.

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