LAHORE - The heroics of Saqib Khan Khakwani, Ahmed Ali Tiwana and Raja Taimur Nadeem helped Diamond Paints to lift the Members Cup Polo 2016 title after thumping Army Remounts 9-6 in the final played here at the Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground on Sunday.

In-form Saqib was instrumental in the final for Diamond Paints he led the very well and not only completed his hat-trick but also assisted his teammates to goals as Ahmed and Taimur also hammered hat-trick for the winners. Hamza played convincingly as also struck thrice for Army Remounts but his heroics were not enough for his team to register title victory. Major Omer Minhas and Gen Isfandiyar Pataudi also hit one goal apiece.

The high-pace final started with Diamond Paints stamping their authority right from the start. Saqib took the charge of Diamond Paints and slammed his first goal through 30-yard penalty hit to give his team 1-0 lead. Raja Taimur then exhibited his prowess and struck two back-to-back goals to stretch their lead to 3-0. The second chukker saw Ahmed Tiwana slamming a field goal to further enhance Diamond Paints lead to 4-0. Hamza Mawaz Khan then came from behind to open the account of Army Remounts as he hit a field goal to reduce the lead to 4-1. Ahmed Tiwana then scored field goal by under the neck shot to strengthen Diamond Paints lead to 5-1.

Five goals were converted in the high-charged third chukker – three came from Diamond Paints and two from Army Remounts. Raja Taimur first hit a field goal to complete his hat-trick and made it 6-1. Hamza struck again reducing the lead 6-2. But then Saqib scored a brace to increase the lead to 8-2 but Hamza once again reduce it to 8-3 before the end of the third chukker.

Army Remounts bounced back in the fourth and last chukker hammered three goals – two struck by Major Omer Minhas and one by Gen Isfandiyar Pataudi – to reduce the lead to 8-6 but Ahmed struck his third goal to finish the match at 9-6. Max Charlton and Fedrick officiated the match as field umpires while Agha Murtaza Ali Khan was referee.

Earlier in the subsidiary final, Master Paints/Newage edged out Master Paints/Habib Metro by seven goals three. The most entertaining polo player came from Argentina, Juan Cruz Losada has been getting tough time from top and emerging polo players therefore his team couldn’t make it to final. Yet Losada proved his mettle in the subsidiary final where he managed to score fantastic four while his teammates Mumtaz Abbas Niazi struck twice and Sufi M Farooq once in the team’s triumph.

For the losers, one of the top player of the country Hissam Ali Hyder couldn’t save his team from the loss. Although he hammered two goals and foreigner Fedrick one but their efforts couldn’t fruit for their team. Atif Yar Tiwana and Agha Murtaza Ali Khan were the field umpires and Col Nadeem Raja was referee.

Former Chief of Army Staff Gen Jehangir Karamat NI(M) was the chief guest on the occasion while LPC President Irfan Ali Hyder, former LPC chief and IOC member in Pakistan Syed Shahid Ali, all the executive committee members and a large size of crowd were also present there to witness the high-goal event final.

At the prize distribution ceremony, chief guest Gen Karamat distributed trophies and shield among the winners and top performers. Speaking at the occasion, the chief guest said: “I am keen polo lover and love to witness this beautiful activity. The Lahore Polo Club is famous for holding such wonderful activities and it has improved the level of polo which is really appreciable.”

Man of the final Ahmed Ali Tiwana said that he was happy with his performance and would maintain this form in the top high-goal events. “My main target is to win upcoming three big events – Aibak Polo Cup, Punjab Polo Cup and National Open – but lifting the National Open title will be a big achievement for me and my team.”