SWITZERLAND: The beautiful St. Moritz lake, in the heart of the Engadin Valley, was frozen to a perfect depth of 54cms allowing excellent and pristine playing condition for the first day of the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 2018 – the oldest, biggest and best snow polo tournament in the world. As guests sipped on perfectly prepared Perrier Jouët and huddled under Cartier blankets ready for the action, 200 of the world’s press assembled for the first match to unfold.
Game 1: Cartier vs Badrutt’s Palace
Bathed in bright sunshine, first up it was Cartier and Badrutt’s Palace to take to the arena. Expectations were high for the Badrutt’s Palace team, as they were fresh from victory in Kitzbühel earlier this month. However, from the first throw-in, the red shirts of Cartier dominated the play, scoring two goals in as many minutes, as the goal-scoring machine Chris ‘The Prof’ Hyde well and truly unleashed his might. Snow polo newbie Juan Cruz Greguoli showed a solid performance, marking his man and halting any efforts from Badrutt’s Palace. Cartier, skilled in defence, capitalised on any mistakes Melissa Ganzi’s side made, converting the messy play into goals. As was evident at last year’s tournament, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, seems to take a day to find his snow polo legs. Today was no exception, as he was continuously pushed onto the boards, closing his attempted plays down to a walking pace, ultimately leaving Hyde the chance to run away with a goal-scoring opportunity. Despite valiant efforts from the Badrutt’s Palace team, the well-seasoned Cartier used all their might to take home the win 5-2.
|1 Rommy Gianni||+1||ITA|
|2 Juan Cruz Greguoli||+4||ARG|
|3 Dario Musso||+6||ARG|
|4 Chris Hyde||+5||ENG|
Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
|1 Melissa Ganzi||0||USA|
|2 Juan Bollini||+6||ARG|
|3 Alejandro Novillo Astrada||+8||ARG|
|4 Tito Gaudenzi||+2||SUI|
Game 2: Maserati vs Azerbaijan Land of Fire
In the second match of the day, Maserati took to the field against this year’s new faces, Azerbaijan Land of Fire for the Carlton Hotel Challenge. After a somewhat patchy start, both teams found their stride, fighting tooth and nail for possession. With Azerbaijani flags waving and the crowd on their feet, the boys in white fought with passion. The expert pairing of Laplacette cousins, Adrian and Andrès ‘Lala’, ably supported by Captain Elchin Jamalli and Baku regular Rashad Hasanov kept Maserati on their toes. Despite the scoreboard being in Maserati’s favour, 2-1 ½, at half-time, it looked as though Azerbaijan were gaining traction and might even have been able to take home the win. However, despite field and penalty chances, it just wasn’t to be. As the final bell rang out across the Engadin Valley, Maserati narrowly took home the win, with an unchanged score still resting at 2-1½ to secure them the Carlton Hotel Challenge.
|1. Zhanna Bandurko / Raya Sidorenko||0||RUS|
|2. Gerardo Mazzini||+6||ARG|
|3. Hissam Ali Hyder||+6||PAK|
|4. Robert Strom||+5||FRA|
Team Azerbaijan Land of Fire
|1 Rashad Hasanov||+2||AZE|
|2 Elchin Jamalli||+3||AZE|
|3 Lala Laplacette||+5||ARG|
|4 Adrian Laplacette Jr.||+6||ARG|
27th January sees Maserati come up against the might of 2017 winners Cartier for the Maserati Cup at midday, followed by Badrutt’s Palace vs Azerbaijan Land of Fire at 2.15pm for the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Challenge.
Snow Polo and Evviva Polo St. Moritz
1985 saw the first ever polo competition on snow – it took place in St. Moritz. The Snow Polo World Cup has reigned over the last weekend in January in this mountain town ever since. In 2014, well-known exponents of snow polo in Switzerland founded Evviva Polo St. Moritz Ltd and signed a long-term contract with the city of St. Moritz, thus securing a sustained continuation of the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz.