LAHORE - Raja Samiullah and Hamza Mawaz Khan led Barry’s to title victory as they defeated Newage/Master Paints by 11-8 in the Bank Alfalah National Open Polo Championship for Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup 2017 main final played here at the jam-packed Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground on Sunday.
Corps Commander Lahore Lt Gen Sadiq Ali graced the final as chief guest and distributed trophies and shields among the top performers. Also present on the occasion were Bank Alfalah head of wealth Bank Management and Premier Banking Syed Mohsin Ali Shah, LPC president Irfan Ali Hyder, Bank Alfalah marketing and activation manager Usman Qaisor, brand manager Mehwish Javed, LPC executive committee members Umar Sadiq, Azam Hayat Noon, Omar Niazi, Saqib Khan Khakwani, Agha Najeeb, LPC secretary Col (R) Shoaib Aftab, players’ families and a great number of polo enthusiast.
Hamza Mawaz Khan was given away Bank Alfalah rising talent award along with a cheque of Rs 300,000. The year’s best talent award of -2 to 0 category went to Aun Rizvi, who hailed from Islamabad and eager to excel in polo world while the 0 to 2 category award went to Mumtaz Abbas Niazi, 2 to 4 to Saqib Khan Khakwani, the most valuable Pakistan player to Hissam Ali Hyder and the most valuable foreign player and the highest goal scorer awards went to Argentinean Juan Cruz Losada.
Hamza – who struck a quartet - was declared man of the final for his fabulous performance while phenomenal Raji Samiullah struck superb six goals and George Meyrick contributed one. From the losing side, Juan Cruz Losada pumped in five goals and Hissam Ali Hyder thwarted three but their team failed to score title win.
The National Open Polo Championship is the most prestigious tournament of Pakistan polo, which was featured by top national and international players. The final of this premier polo activity began with a bashing goal from George Meyrick, which provided Barry’s 1-0 lead. The second chukker saw a goal from Hissam - converted beautifull off 60-yard penalty – leveling score at 1-1. Losada then gave Newage 2-1 edge, which couldn’t last long as Samiullah drew the blood at 2-2. Barry’s got one more through Hamza to take 3-2 lead just before end of the chukker.
Barry’s continued their dominance in the third chukekr as well, as they hammered a hat-trick which included a brace from Samiullah and a goal from Hamza, which game them healthy 6-2 lead. Losada then reduced the deficit to 6-3 in the dying moments of the chukker.
The fourth chukker saw Newage/Master Paints staging a comeback by banging in a brilliant brace, which included one goal each from Losada and Hissam, and reduced the lead to 6-5. Barry’s once again started playing aggressive game and succuded in adding one more in their tally to make it 7-5. Losada also changed his game plan and converted a fantabulous field goal to bring Newage closer to Barry’s, who were enjoying 7-6 lead.
Barry’s began the fifth and decisive chukker with all gun blazing and trashed a tremendous hat-trick through Hamza (two goals) and Samiullah (one) to take unassailable 10-6 lead and put the match far away from the Newage/Master Paints reach, who though tried their best to bounce back and also succeeded in converting tremendous two goals through
Hissam and Losada, but Barry’s banged in one more to finish the match as title winners. When the final whistle was blown, Barry’s had 11-8 lead. Howard George Smith and Timothy John Bown supervised the main final as field umpires.
Earlier in the subsidiary final, Master Paints (Black) defeated Ravi Auto by 6-5. Andres Crispo remained the top scorer of the match with fabulous four goals, while Bilal Haye and Sufi M Haris contributed one goal each. From the losing side, Saqib Khan Khakwani thwarted three and Guy Gibrat scored two. Howard George Smith and Timothy John Bown were field umpires.