Craig Millar on handicap 3.5 was the star man in the fifth chukka as he notched in a hat-trick to bring Royal Salute back to business with an 8F-8 win over White Cap during The Connaught Cup at the Nairobi Polo Club yesterday.
Team Royal Salute started the run with a fraction’s advantage with the inclusion of top goal scorers Millar (3.5), Archie Voorspuoy (3.5), Mbugua Ngugi (2.5) and captain Raphael Nzomo (2.5) fronting 12 goals between them. On the other hand, White Cap had the highest handicapped player in experienced James Murray (5) team up with Tarquin Gross (3), Mini Trapped (2.5) and Kimoi Moi (2) for a total of 12.5 rating.
Nzomo opened the floodgates barely two minutes into the game but the Royal Salute lead was written off by Murray’s double and the opening chukka ended 1F-2 in favour of White Cap.
Murray hit once again in the second chukka but Voorspuoy cancelled it. To maintain their lead, Trappe added one for 2F-4 at the end of the period.
On return, Murray and Millar netted one apiece for their teams for 3F-5 in the third chukka, but at the beginning of the fourth period, the latter narrowed the gap for Royal Salute to a fraction (4F-5). Kimoi and Gross continued to pile pressure with a goal each for 4F-7 but Royal Salute only managed to reply once courtesy of Nzomo (5F-7) in the fourth chukka.
Two scorers, including Trappe hit and Millar sailed three to help his White Cap grab a narrow 8F-8 win in the fifth chukka.
“The match was very tough and we feel happy the last chukka penalty shots were crucial as they helped us to victory.
Our opponents came at us strongly but thankfully we held on,” said Nzomo.