Hundreds gathered on 10th February to watch the five teams battle it out at the Valentine’s Polo Cup, now a fixture in the Dubai polo calendar, on the first really warm day of the year in a round robin at Arabian Ranches. Despite a difficult day in the play-offs on 8th February, Dark Horse put in a strong performance to take third place to The Vikings’ second.
Above Average unfortunately did not live up to their name, coming in fifth place, while Arthur’s Team, led by Arthur Fitzwilliam, bagged fourth place.
In the early stages of the 10-chukka day, Above Average looked promising in the first with two early goals within three minutes. However, Arthur’s Team fought back strongly taking two goals in the second chukka, one from Jacqueline Hooper and the second by Kareem Abu-Ghazaleh, which led them to victory thanks to a half goal handicap.
Above Average then took on Dark Horse with the score level at 1:1 at the end of their chukka.
It was then the turn of Arthur’s Team to take on Dark Horse but despite a half-goal advantage, an early goal from Jon Bamford for Dark Horse set the scene. There was another goal from Jacqueline Hooper for Arthur’s Team, but a second from Dark Horse meant they led the charge before the chukka was out. A third and a fourth goal from Bamford in the second chukka and a missed penalty from Hooper left the final scoreline at four to one and a half.
Then a close final saw the Vikings start with a two-goal advantage but fall victim to the overwhelming power of Dr A with a 7:5 final scoreline.
In the early stages, Saeed Khoury opened the scoring for Dr A and although a 60-yard line penalty by Dr Abdul himself went wide, it was soon followed up by another Dr A team goal to bring the score level at 2:2.
In the second chukka, a long shot from Dr Abdul was followed up with a goal by Faisal Al Yabhouni but Vikings fought back to open their own scoring.
In a stop-start second chukka, Dr A Polo pushed ahead with a goal from Ahmed Al Ghurair. He came close to scoring a second but the ball bounced off the post. He then pushed ahead with another goal taking the score to 5:3 in the third chukka.
Dr Abdul himself pushed his team to a greater lead of 7:3 with two goals scored from penalties. Despite a brave fight back with two goals by The Vikings in the fourth chukka, it was Dr A Polo that rode off the pitch victorious with the score at 7:5.
Mahmoud Nodjoumi, founder and CEO of event sponsor Nexus Insurance Brokers, presented the 2012 Nexus Valentine’s Cup to the winning team. The team also received prizes from the recently launched Glam Rock Watches.
The event also raised awareness for Al Noor Training Centre, a not-for-profit organisation that provides professional training to individuals with special needs.