Lahore -  Diamond Paints and Allied Bank Sunday carved out thrilling victories on the sixth day of the Samba Bank Lahore Open Polo Championship 2017 being played here at the Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground.

Helped by Mir Shoaib Ahmed and Eulogio Celestino, Diamond Paints defeated Green Orchard/Rijas by 5-4 in a nail-biting first match of the day. Both Mir Shoaib and Eulugio played outstanding polo and contributed two goals each in their team's triumph while the remaining one goal came from Mir Huzaifa Ahmed.

Mir Shoaib opened the account of Diamond Paints through his field goal to give his team 1-0 lead in the first chukker. Geoffredo then levelled the score 1-1 in the second chukker. Diamond Paints then started playing aggressive game and hammered a hat-trick through Eulogio (2 goals) and Mir Shoaib (1 goal) to gain 4-1 lead.

The third chukker was evenly poised as one goal each was scored by both the teams to make it 5-2. Mir Huzaifa scored one for Diamond Paints and Ahmed Zubair Butt for the other team. Green Orchard though bounced back in the fourth and last chukker by thwarting two goals through Geoffredo and Ahmed Zubair to reduce the margin to 5-4 but it proved too little too late for them as when they were struggling for scoring an equaliser, the final whistle was blown and Diamond Paints were declared winners of the hard-fought match. Ahmed Ali Tiwana and Luis Mighal Duggan were the field umpires.

The second encounter also proved to be a thriller as Allied Bank and Habib Metro Lions/Master Paints fought till the end, but the ultimate winners were Allied Bank. who registered a narrow 7-6 win. Saqib Khan Khakwani was star of the day as he hammered a hat-trick for Allied Bank while his teammates Mumtaz Abbas Niazi (2 goals) and Raja Arslan Najeeb (2 goals) also played well. From Habib Metro Lions, Hamza Mawaz Khan thwarted three goals while Edward Banner struck two goals and Aun Rizvi one.

The highly-charged first chukker of the match saw both the teams slamming in two goals each to level the score 2-2. Mumtaz Abbas scored the opening goal for Allied Bank while Edward Banner and Aun Rizvi converted one goal each to take 2-1 lead which was equalized in the dying moment of the first chukker when Mumtaz Abbas fired a field goal. The only goal of the second chukker came from Edward Banner, who hit a field goal to give Habib Metro 3-2 edge. Allied Bank bounced back in the third chukker as they banged in two goals through Saqib Khakwani and Raja Arslan to gain 4-3 lead but in the dying moments of the chukker, Hamza converted a 60-yarder to draw the blood at 4-4. Saqib started the fourth and last chukker by converting a 60-yard penalty to give his team 5-4 edge but it was shortlived by Hamza, who pumped in two back-to-back goals to give his team 6-5 lead.

At this crucial stage, as it was anyone's match but Habib Metro were looking more confident to register victory, but contrary to their expectations, Allied Bank players played superbly and banged in two convincing goals to register a nail-biting 7-6 victory. Raja Arslan first scored a field goal followed by another by Saqib which steered their team to thrilling triumph. Eulogio Celestino and Geoffredo supervised the match as field umpires.

Lahore Polo Club executive committee member Umer Sadik, Saqib Khan Khakwani, families of players and members and a great number of polo lovers witnessed the thrilling matches and supported and cheered for their favourite teams and players. Today (Monday), the only match of the championship will be played at 3pm between Army and Newage. 

 

Our Staff Reporter