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Stresscon pip Johnnie Walker Black in exciting final
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
In an exciting final, the Stresscon team got up in the nick of time to pip Johnnie Walker Black 5-4 in the Johnnie Walker Polo Players Championship at the Kingston Polo Club, Caymanas Estates, on Sunday.
The Stresscon team raced into a 2-0 lead by the end of the first chukka with goals from Steven Fong Yee and Mark Chin.
However, the Johnnie Walker team roared back in the second chukka to level the scores, thanks to a 15-yard penalty conversion by Nagina Newman, as well as a 60-yard penalty from the six-goal Argentinian professional, Jorge Donovan. The half ended with both teams locked at 2-2.
After the interval, the Argentinian professional Jose Lartirigoy scored a 50-yard penalty to make it 3-2 for Stresscon, and although the Johnnie Walker team fought back strongly with two unanswered goals from teenager Hamish Wates (penalty) and a spectacular under-the-neck shot by Donovan, Lartirigoy tied it up at 4-4 via a 60-yard penalty.
With everything to play for in the fourth and final chukka, Jonathan Dougall got the winner from a melee in the final minute, as Stresscon scored a hard-fought victory.
The winning team comprised Fong Yee, Lartirigoy, Dougall and Chin. Johnnie Walker Black was represented by Donovan (captain), Newman, Wates and Dominic Chung.
For this, the 2010 Polo Players Championship, which was sponsored by Johnnie Walker for the first time, a total of five teams participated, representing the best polo players in Kingston.
The others were Burger King Yellow, Jamaica Observer and the ICWI team. All three dropped out in preliminary matches during the course of the week, leaving Stresscon and Johnnie Walker Black to contest the final.
"It was the most competitive local tournament I have played in for a long time," said Leslie Fong Yee, the island's top female polo player, who represented the ICWI team.
"My team actually came last and won the wooden spoon, but despite this, there was less than a one-goal difference between all five teams over four days of polo."
She added: "I must say that the crowd support was very good. We had the World Cup final showing on big screen television sets to facilitate spectators prior to the playing of the polo final and also the Burger King Junior Challenge match, contested by youngsters drawn from an all-week polo camp conducted by Jorge Donovan."
Meanwhile, Burger King Black with goals from Dominic Chung, Ranier Ramdial and 10-year-old Joshua Newman, defeated Burger King White 3-1 in the juniors' match.