2013 Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships Finals
Article by: Jennifer Parks 11/14/13
They came from New York, Nevada, the United Kingdom, Ohio and Tucson, more than 12,000 fans over a two day period came to party and celebrate at the 2013 Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships.
Some 12,442 polo fans, exotic car aficionados, horse lovers and fashionistas descended on the Penfolds Polo Field at WestWorld over the weekend, boosting the year-over-year gate attendance by a substantial margin for what is now the largest polo event in the United States (or Europe), according to The 2013 Molina Cup champions from Wales.
There was runway strutting at the Phoenix Fashion Week preview, champagne glass clinking in the tents, divot stomping at halftime and thrilling polo action with some of the best players in the country mixing it up.
Fans who watched the All-Star match on Friday witnessed some great polo play by the likes of Work to Ride’s Kareem Rosser, Erik Wright of Wright Way Polo, Peter Webb of the Clogau Wales Polo Team and Santiago Marulanda of the University of Virginia as they played to a 9-9 tie an All-Star Team consisting of Jeff Hall, considered one of the best players in the U.S., Ricky Cooper of the Clogau Wales Polo Team, Sunny Hale, considered the best female player in the U.S. and Andres Camacho of the Arizona Polo Club.
Marulanda and Webb scored three goals apiece for the Phoenix International Speedway team and Hall led the My Sister’s Closet team with 6 goals and was named Most Valuable Player.
All Gallery Photos by Tina Greggo Photography
On Saturday, the first match pitted America’s high school champions, Work to Ride, against the country’s 2012 college champions, the University of Virginia, with UVA defeating the younger team 13-2, with Eduardo Lopez scoring 6 goals and winning the MVP. Marulanda chipped in with 4 goals. For Work to Ride, Brandon Reese and Rosser had a goal apiece.
In the "Battle of the Sexes" match, which featured a women’s team led by Sunny Hale against the Arizona Polo Club Men, ended in a 7-7 tie. The women were led by Hale, who had 5 goals and the Arizona Polo Club received a 3-goal effort from Camacho, who won the MVP.
For the main event, the Clogau Wales Polo Team triumphed over the U.S. Military Polo Team 9-8. The U.S team was captained by Hall, who had 7 of the team’s 8 goals. For Wales, Roddy Matthews had 4 goals and Richard Blake-Thomas had 3. Peter Webb had a goal and won the MVP award.
The Clogau Wales Polo Team took to the field at WestWorld undefeated in 2013 and have only lost one of their last 10 games. They got an early boost from Matthews, who broke free of the pack to notch up the first goal. This was quickly followed by goals from Blake-Thomas and Webb before Matthews hit a great long shot for the team’s fourth score. It took a while for the U.S. Military Team to get started but Hall put the on the board at the end of the first chukka. Things became more difficult for the Military team as Hall became isolated and Wales powered to a 7-1 halftime led. However, it did not take Hall much time to power up his troops and Vicki Friedrichs scored a fantastic backhand after escaping Cooper and Webb along the left side of the ground before heading to the right of the goal. The U.S. Team was fired up and, despite a goal for Wales by the Military team’s Mark Gillespie, the third chukka witnessed a comeback by the U.S. and a score of 8-5 as the bell sounded. With the Wales Polo Team clearly rattled, Hall continued to press and when Gillespie was replaced going into the end of the game the U.S. continued to fire. The Military's 7th goal was a huge shot from Hall from within his own half but the Wales Polo Team was not to be outdone, this being their first visit to the U.S. As the clock ran down, Cooper and Matthews created a path for Webb to carry the ball before releasing Blake-Thomas for what was to prove to be the winning goal as he danced through the U.S. defense with great control. Although Hall notched one more before the final bell, he was unable to stop a very impressive team. Clogau Wales Team Captain Cooper said, "What an unbelievable experience this has been. The Scottsdale Polo Championships has fast become one of the world’s best polo events and with such a huge attendance it tops all in the U.S .and Europe. To win the Molina Cup in front of such great support is our greatest achievement to date. The team is so happy and can't thank the organizers enough for the opportunity to play in Scottsdale and for the amazing reception we have received.”
Afterwards, the Wales players drank from the sought-after Molina Cup and flew back to the United Kingdom as proud victors. Before the final match Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane issued a formal invitation to Prince William and Prince Harry via the Wales team Chairman Harry Legge-Bourke for the 4th Annual Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses and Horsepower next year.
Last October the Scottsdale Polo Championships drew the biggest crowd in the country for a polo event with approximately 9,188 fans enjoying the three-match showdown at the annual Polo Party. This year, with an expanded event schedule and an amped-up polo lineup including the sport’s top players, more vendors, more sponsors and the 2013 Arizona Porsche Concours d ’Elegance car show, the Polo Party drew even more polo fans and revelers to WestWorld.
Attendees also enjoyed a sneak preview of the 2014 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and saw some serious horsepower with a preview of the world-famous Barrett-Jackson 2014 Collector Car Auction along with local Ferrari and Lamborghini car clubs lining the field.
Next year’s event, which will take place in conjunction with the United States Polo Association’s Annual Meeting, is currently slated for October 24-25, 2014. Upcoming details, teams and players will be announced in the coming months. For more information please go to www.thepoloparty.com.
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