A brilliantly interactive and intuitive display of polo skills by 6 goalers James Beim and James Harper in the Final of the Gel-Eze Midsummer 12 goal tournament saw that a delighted Shane Finemore, patron of Gardenvale, took home the impressive trophy. With the two James’s playing at 3 and Back, and the patron at 1, promising young 1 goal player Jamie Grayson ably took the number 2 position.
Facing the Gardenvale side were CPG, with patron Sally Turner at 1, 6 goal player George Meyrick at 2, Henry Brett at 3 and Roddy Williams at Back.
Within seconds of the first chukka opening, James Beim had raced away to take a swift goal, which was soon answered by Meyrick for CPG. Beim won the throw-in and sent a long shot forward. As Harper went to pick it up Meyrick for CPG pounced and the umpires blew for a foul. Harper sent a 30 yard penalty shot through the posts and the score was 2-1. Soon, a lovely clearance by Harper gave Beim the opportunity to send home a third goal for Gardenvale whilst CPG still hadn’t totally got into their stride.
Chukka 2 demonstrated plenty of the well-practised plays that we have seen between Harper and Beim this season. In the first minute, on the way to an almost certain goal, Beim was fouled and a spot penalty gave Harper the chance to move Gardenvale on to 4-1. Soon it was Harper racing away again and 5-1 on the scoreboard. Williams for CPG tried to stop the unstoppable Harper, who ploughed on down the pitch to take Gardenvale on to 6-1. CPG won the ball from the throw-in and Wiliams lost no time in steering it all the way to the goal giving his side some much needed encouragement. Once more Gardenvale went on the attack, first FInemore then Harper carrying the ball forward, but this time Brett intervened and the ball went out over the back line. Williams brought it in and play moved across to the boards. Harper made a fantastic steal but lost the ball to Williams. In came young Grayson who steered it away and sent it on to Beim who made a stonking shot making the half time score 7-2 to Gardenvale.
After the tread-in, CPG tried hard to put pressure on the Gardenvale players but simply could not break through the tight combination of Beim and Harper. In no time Harper had raced away again notching Gardenvale’s score up to 8-2. CPG were able to pull a goal back with a 30 yard penalty sent through by Roddy Williams. The umpires found against Gardenvale again giving George Meyrick the chance to score from 30 yards and move the score on to 4-8 to close the chukka.
In the final chukka, another lovely piece of play saw England captain Beim send a long ball to Harper who made a brilliant carry all the way through the posts for 9-4. Grayson continued to play his part with a good try at goal which went wide. Williams brought the ball in looking for Meyrick, who carried it out to the boards. Magically Harper made a steal and passed to Beim, but his shot at goal went wide. CPG brought the ball in with Meyrick looking for Brett, but Beim raced in and stole it. Meyrick wasn’t giving up and re-claimed it, passing to Sally Turner with Brett and Williams ready and waiting to complete the play. Williams sent the ball plumb between the posts achieving CPG’s final goal just as the bell sounded.
Gardenvale had deservedly won the Gel-Eze Midsummer 12 goal on a score of 9-5 and Shane Finemore was delighted to accept the trophy from Stephen Biddlecombe of Equine Management Ltd, who also presented hand-picked prizes to each team from his quality range of equestrian products. He presented a leather bridle to James Harper, owner of Caruba, judged the Best Playing Pony of the match. Unsurprisingly James Harper also received the Most Valuable Player Award.