AUSTRALIA’S ONLY BEACH POLO TOURNAMENT TO RETURN TO CABLE BEACH IN 2014
Story By Mary-Anne Dibbs, Cable Beach Polo
Marilynne Paspaley AM has announced Pinctada Cable Beach Polo will return to Broome in 2014 following the success of this year’s tournament, which concluded in spectacular style yesterday with a thrilling international clash between top Indian and Australian players.
During the weekend, Australia’s only beach polo tournament attracted visitors from around Australia and the world to the famous pearling town in the Kimberley region of northwest Australia and even a flash storm that drenched players in yesterday’s opening game couldn’t rain on Broome’s polo parade.
The Kimberley sun returned for the Paspaley International Beach Polo Match, which went to the wire with Matt Welsh, captain of the Pinctada Cable Beach Australia team, clinching a 4-3 victory for the home side in the dying seconds of the final chukka.
“India beat us in the last two encounters on their home turf so it was great to get the win on the sand before our home crowd,” Matt said. “It was a hard and fierce clash, the Indians were very strong and anyone who thinks beach polo is a novelty sport just needed to see the vigor and aggression on Cable Beach this weekend. Beach polo is a serious sporting contest and while there are only eight countries in the world that host the sport, it is growing in stature and gaining interest among the world’s best players.”
With social media networks taking the action and excitement of Pinctada Cable Beach polo to the world this weekend, Marilynne Paspaley said there is already interest from international teams for next year’s event.
“This weekend was the realisation of a vision my team, the Broome community and a handful of committed polo patrons and players have been working towards for the past two years,” Marilynne said. “I couldn’t be more delighted with the spectacle we experienced on Cable Beach this weekend - we saw fine equine athletes in action on the sand, we saw the marvelous skills of the Indian and Australian players who competed in four matches over the weekend and we saw young Indigenous stockmen play their first game of polo in the inaugural Commonwealth Bank Kimberley Challenge after training on their stock horses in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
“We had bikini-clad spectators on the beach and visitors from around the world dressed in barefoot elegance in our VIP Marquee enjoying the polo action against the backdrop of the stunning Kimberley coast. All those elements of this unique event, Australia’s only beach polo tournament, were shared through social media and we’ve already had several expressions of interest from international polo clubs wanting to join us, so I am delighted to announce that Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2014 will be held in Broome on the weekend of May 24-25 next year, pending Shire approval.”
The return of Pinctada Cable Beach Polo to Broome on May 24-25 2014 was also welcomed by Broome Shire President Graeme Campbell.
“This event has kicked off Broome’s high tourism season in an exciting and positive way and it will no doubt only get bigger and better with players and tourists coming from around the world to experience it,” Cr Campbell said.
Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2013 also featured 43 of Australia’s finest equine athletes from the stable of the Swan Valley Polo Club, the strongest polo club in Western Australia. The horses arrived in Broome last Tuesday night after a 2-day road trip from Perth. They ‘stretched their legs’ with a beach walk on Wednesday morning and adjusted to the sand surface with two training sessions in the days leading up to the weekend tournament.
Another highlight of Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2013 was the inaugural Commonwealth Bank Kimberley Challenge, which saw four young Indigenous stockmen come to the sea to compete in Australia’s only beach polo tournament. The Commonwealth Bank Kimberley Challenge, has been developed to introduce the sport of polo to young riders in the Kimberley and Matt Welsh, Captain of the Swan Valley Polo Club, oversaw the training of the young stockmen in the skills of the game during the weeks leading up to the tournament, with Major Vishal Chauhan helping out in the final days. The stockmen were also vying for the inaugural Swan Valley Polo Club Scholarship, which was awarded to Jimmy Long who now has an opportunity to further hone his newly acquired polo skills as the scholarship will see him working, training and playing alongside members of the Swan Valley Polo Club during the 2014 polo season.
The ‘between chukka’ action featured fashion themed spectator events on each day of the tournament – Sand Chic on Saturday and Style on the Sand on Sunday. On each day the female winner received Paspaley jewellery while the male winners of Sand Chic and Style on the Sand received a limited edition 6-litre bottle of Bunnamagoo 1827 Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from the vines of historic Bunnamagoo Estate, one of the Paspaley family's vineyards in central NSW.
The weekend tournament was the cornerstone of the Pinctada Cable Beach Polo Festival which included a range of events and celebrations including cocktail parties, art gallery showings and Dinner Under The Stars on Cable Beach.
Each match played during the weekend was a four chukka contest with three players per side – this is one of the key differences between beach polo and traditional field polo, which has four players per side. Beach polo is also played with a larger sized coloured ball.
PINCTADA CABLE BEACH POLO 2013 - MATCHES
Commonwealth Bank Kimberley Challenge – Saturday May 18:
Roebuck Bay Ringers (Marcus Laurie, Ian Long, Major Vishal Chauhan, +3) defeated the Saltbush Musters (Harley Howard, Jimmy Long and Matt Welsh, +4). Score: 3-1.
Broome International Airport Challenge – Saturday May 18:
Paspaley (Gaurav Sahgal, Captain, +3, Angad Singh, +1, and Nick Bowen, +1) defeated Kronenbourg 1664 (Greg Johnson, +1, Warwick Prendiville, +1, Eru Barlow, Captain, +3). Score: 4-1.
Pinctada East Coast v West Coast Challenge – Sunday May 19:
GPG Group - East Coast (Nick Bowen, +1, Tim Broadfoot, +2, Eru Barlow, Captain, +3) defeated H&M Tracey Construction - West Coast (Greg Johnson, +1, Tex Webster, Captain, +4, Warwick Prendiville, +1). Score: 5-4.
Paspaley International Beach Polo Cup – Sunday May 19:
Pinctada Cable Beach Australia (Warwick Prendiville, +1, Luke Reid, +2, Matt Welsh, Captain, +4) defeated Hutchinson Real Estate India (Angad Singh, +1, Gaurav Sahgal, +3, Major Vishal Chauhan, Captain, +3). Score 4-3.
TEAM PROFILES - PASPALEY INTERNATIONAL BEACH POLO CUP
Pinctada Cable Beach Australian Team:
o Matt Welsh is a +4 goal player and captain of the Swan Valley Polo Club, the strongest polo club in Western Australia. An outstanding horseman, Matt is not only regarded as one of Australia’s leading polo players, but has also built an international reputation as a leading trainer of polo ponies. Matt has played polo in major tournaments throughout the world, most recently joining fellow Swan Valley Polo Club members Nick Bowen, Greg Johnson and Glindon Webster to represent Western Australia in the Ozfest Polo Cup, played at the Rajasthan Polo Ground in Jaipur, India.
o Luke Reid, 21, is a +2 goal player and the son of former Australian field polo captain Derek Reid, whose handicap was +6. Like Gaurav Sahgal, the Indian player he marked in the Paspaley International Beach Polo Match on Sunday May 19, Luke is widely regarded as Australia’s up and coming player of the future. Polo has already taken Luke around the world, playing in England, Ireland, China, Argentina and New Zealand. Luke, who is renowned for his exceptional stick skills and coolness under pressure, represented Australia in the under-21 colts match against New Zealand in 2010 and was integral to the Australians victory in the trans-Tasman clash.
o Warwick Prendiville, 22, is another young player who represents the future of Australian polo. Warwick, the son of Swan Valley Polo Club patron Peter Prendiville, consistently plays above his +1 handicap and has competed in polo tournaments in Argentina, England, America and New Zealand.
Hutchinson Real Estate India:
o Major Vishal Chauhan captained the Hutchinson Real Estate India team, displaying the leadership skills that see him responsible for the 250 members and horses of the Indian cavalry. Major Chauhan, a +3-goal player renowned for his hard play and strong marking, was a member of the Indian world cup team in 2007 and 2011. Aged 32, he is a mercurial forward, who can turn a match.
o Angad Singh, currently a +1 handicapped player, is descended from Indian – and polo – royalty. In the early 1900's one of his ancestors was a +8 goal player and patron of the 'Patiala Tigers', a 36 goal team consisting of the only two Indian 10 goalers to date. – his mother is a member of Punjab’s royal family and he is the grandson of the Maharaja of Patiala. Angad, 25, took up polo in 2005 after competing in other equestrian sports throughout India for a decade. In 2008 he was voted emerging player of the year by the Indian Polo Association. He will be playing polo for the University of Cambridge in England for a year starting this September and, as well as competing in major Indian tournaments, he has also played in Dubai and England. He is also a member of the Sherdils team, which plays in an annual fixture against the British Army to raise money for charity. Angad is passionate about attracting more spectators and players to polo and has been promoting the sport in India by mobilizing sponsorship and managing polo teams for the last three years. Along with his father, he owns and manages a successful thoroughbred the stud farm. Angad has been working in the sugar industry in India and is currently leading the diversification of Simbhaoli Sugars into various adjacent segments both within India and overseas.
o Gaurav Sahgal, 22, is handicapped at +3 goals and described by Major Vishal Chauhan as “the best young up and coming player in India". Based in Delhi, Gaurav has been playing polo since he was 12 and represented India at the last World Cup at Argentina. He has played internationally in countries including Argentina, England, New Zealand, Italy, Barbados – and, now, Australia. Polo is in Gaurav’s blood and horses are his passion. His father, who has played polo for more than 35 years, is a racehorse owner and breeder as well as being a Steward of the Indian Polo Association and a steward, committee member and Honorary Secretary of the Delhi Race Club.
PINCTADA CABLE BEACH POLO 2014 – ENQUIRIES & BOOKING