It was a breathtaking weekend as the first games of the French Open kicked off at Ferme d’Apremont, the home of the Chantilly Polo Club.
The debut of the PAPREC French open was met with great fanfare as MARQUARD MEDIA, the team of Swiss captain Tommy Rinderknecht, went head to head against the Spaniards of MARQUES DE RISCAL. It was a match where over the first four periods the score was always within a single goal difference. Managing to finally break away from this pattern in the fifth chukker were the Spaniards, securing three goals and advancing the score to 9-6, with only a little over three minutes left on the clock. If we thought the match was finished, it was only because we hadn’t considered the reaction of Martin Aguerre and his teammates. Not ready to concede, he added one more goal for his team, and then another from Nacho Kennedy after a nice breakaway. Aguerre then tied the score with a penalty shot at 30 yards. A spectacular rescue from Jota Chavanne allowed the team to stay within the last second of regulation time. The outcome of the game was then decided in the extra period, where Juan Cruz Gregoli scored his third goal of the game. It was the golden goal which sealed the score at 10-9 and awarded the team the win!
The 2019 Open, featuring four nations—Switzerland, Germany, Spain and France—then continued into the following day with the long awaited match between the German team GESTÜT SCHOCKEMÖHLE comprised of Tito Guinazu ( h7), the Frenchman Pierre Henri Ngoumou (h6), and the titleholder, the French SAINTE-MESME with Clemente Zavaleta (h7) and the Frenchman Robert Strom (h5).
The match saw the Germans dominate until the end of the fourth chukker where they continued to lead with a score of 4-3. All four goals were scored in the first two periods: the result of precise plays and efficient team organization. GESTÜT SCHOCKEMÖHLE might have had control initially, but when SAINTE-MESME woke up they raised a more open game, simpler with longer strikes. The open strategy gave way to a spectacular rise, and SAINTE-MESME procured 4 goals to win 7-4!
The strategy of a simple and open game also paid off for MARQUARD MEDIA, who dealt GESTÜT SCHOCKEMÖHLE a heavy defeat whose horses were certainly tired after the previous day’s efforts. Martin Aguerre sent forward long shots, with the speedy horses of Nacho Kennedy and Jota Chavanne keeping the pace. At the end of this first weekend, this Open is indeed very open, with three teams having each recorded a victory. So far it is only the Germans now who have suffered two defeats.
Photo credit: Pascal Renauldon