Hawke’s Bay retain Poverty Bay title
Jonny Coddington and his Hawke's Bay A team retained their title at the Poverty Bay Polo Open at the weekend.
They had a convincing 8-4 victory over pre-match favourites Kihikihi in yesterday's Eastland Vets Six-goal Senior Open final at Bushmere.
After an ominous display of horsepower and teamwork from their previous day's 6-1 win against Wanstead A, the Kihikihi team comprising the Kay family were expected to be hard to beat but four-goaler Coddington and his big-hitting teammate Matt Pitts proved too powerful on the day, upsetting the Kihikihi team's rhythm right from the opening chukka.
Ably supported by Anne-Marie Cavanagh and the promising Wirihana Kururangi, Coddington and Pitts opened the scoring in the first chukka with one goal apiece, and another in the second before Lenny and Michael Kay replied with a couple to make it still close at the half-time break at 3-2.
Hawke's Bay opened well in the third chukka with three more goals to Kihikihi's one and so went into the final chukka with a 6-3 margin.
Another two to Hawke's Bay in the fourth nailed the coffin and a last-minute goal by Paul Kay was a fitting culmination to Kihikihi's gallant final few minutes of pressure on the Hawke's Bay goal.
Pitt and Coddington were the leading goalscorers with four apiece.
Coddington won awards for Champion Team of Ponies and Player of the Tournament.
Harvest Transport Poverty Bay A — Neville Clark, Rob Telfer, Burne McNeil and daughter Jess McNeil — battled in the nought-goal grade, losing to Hawke's Bay B 6-3 on Saturday and 4½-3 to Hawke's Bay C in the handicap final.
Their form was improving throughout but a lack of serious match competition leading up to the tournament proved telling.
Hawke's Bay D defeated Hawke's Bay B in the nought-goal open final 4-1.
In the third division, the Poverty Bay B team of Laura Gavin, Jenny Shanks, Englishman Billy Hawkings-Byass and Andrew Moore won their round robin, finishing with three wins and enough points to claim the trophy for their grade.
Moore, the incoming president for the Poverty Bay club, was pleased with how the Harvest Transport Poverty Bay Polo Open ran after a wet Saturday morning.
Rain had threatened to derail the tournament, with the ground beginning to deteriorate but, before it became a safety problem for horses and riders, the sun shone and conditions improved dramatically.
The tournament was well supported by teams from Wanstead, Hawke's Bay, Kihikihi, and Amberwood from Te Akau.
Poverty Bay teams will compete in the national Savile Cup in Hastings at the end of the month, then the Kihikihi and Auckland Open tournaments in February.