The final of this amazing snow polo event was an expected Clash of the Titans between Azerbaijan – Land of Fire (Elcin Jamalli, Pato Bolanteiro, Agustin Kronhaus and Santiago Marambio) and St. Moritz (Valery Mishchenko, Robert Strom, Max Charlton and Nacho Gonzalez).
After the clash between these two teams only yesterday which resulted in a very close score, it was certainly hard to predict who would be victorious. Talk in the players’ ranks was of an expected Clash of the Titans with both teams giving their all to secure the coveted title in this, the 36th year. The Azeri team started with a half goal advantage due to handicap, but despite expectations of a cohesive and multi-faceted attacking style, the boys in white did not ignite their polo fires and the result was that Valery Mishchenko’s ‘Red Devils’ in the iconic scarlet shirts of St. Moritz found the posts twice before the half time bell with nothing in reply from the Azeris. In the second half, the Azerbaijan – Land of Fire team rekindled their polo flame and began to give 10 goal arena player Max Charlton and 4 time-winner of the event, Nacho Gonzales, something to think about with a changed game plan. However, together, team St. Moritz played strong, close polo and despite their best endeavours, the Azeri team could not sufficiently shut down Max Charlton and his red shirted polo assasins in their quest for victory. With the wind beginning to pick up, it meant that accuracy on goal was hard, and two pivotal goal chances were missed by Azerbaijan, but it was a case of third time lucky as a goal from the Azerbaijan Captain, the talented Elchin Jamalli signalled the start of their offensive attack bringing the scores to a close 11⁄2 -3. The fourth chukka was thrilling, but it was Robert Strom who needs a special mention – the Frenchman’s work rate was off the chart, with an easy, fluid style that attracted little response from the two mounted umpires. His endeavours were rewarded with a great goal that sealed the deal for his team. As the final bell sounded the final score was 11⁄2 -4. The game for place tree Maserati ran out the winners with a close victory of 71⁄2 goals to 5 against team Badrutt’s Palace.
The Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz Trophy, sponsored by Chopard, was presented by Evelyne Sutter, Manager of the Chopard Boutique St. Moritz and Marijana Jakic, Brand Manager St. Moritz to a delighted Valery Mishchenko. The four winning players each received a Mille Miglia Chopard watch. The best Playing Patron, presented by Piero Dillier, Eviva Polo St. Moritz, was awarded to Fabio Meier. The Most Valuable Player was awarded to Max Charlton, who received a Chopard Alpine Eagle St. Moritz Edition, as sponsored by Chopard. Whilst the Polo Times Best Playing Pony was awarded to Casanova played by Nacho Gonzalez for the majority of the fourth chukka, who received a bespoke pony rug and 200 Swiss Francs for the grooms.
Do not miss the report with many interviews and background stories about the Polo World Cup in snow St. Moritz in the next edition of POLO&LUXURY Coffee Table Book (available as hard cover copy and digital version at 30th May 2020