Last year’s Miami Beach Polo World Cup Champions will be returning to the sands of South Beach to defend their 2009 title in one of the strongest fields ever assembled.
The Bombay Sapphire team will return intact with team captain Lance Vetter (0), John Gobin (8) and Luis Escobar (8). This is the same team that scored three consecutive wins in last year’s competition to wrest the championship from the Audi polo team that seemed to have a stranglehold on it-winning the cup the previous three years.
“I think John (Gobin) is the best player in the field,” said Vetter, “and with the addition of Luis (Escobar), I felt like we had a team that could win it all.”
The draw for playing order seemed to confront the Bombay Sapphire team from the onset. Its first game would be against the powerful Audi team, and surprise, surprise, it was Bombay Sapphire that rode off on top of a 6-4 win.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” said Vetter, reflecting on the win. “We realized that once we had dealt with Audi, we were on the fast track, and our intensity on the beach escalated.
Bombay Sapphire’s next contest was a relative cake walk as the team rolled over Comcast/China Grill Management in a one-sided 11-3 victory. The team had amassed a 2-0 record and was averaging a tournament high of 8.5 goals per game.
Their opponent in the finals emerged in the shape of a Black Watch/Nespresso team that boasted the talents of Kris Kampsen (7), Ralph Lauren Model/Pro Polo Player Nacho Figueras (7) and 18-year-old female phenom, Isabella Wolf (1).
Kampsen got Black Watch/Nespresso on the scoreboard first, but two goals from Escobar and a third goal from Gobin had Bombay Sapphire up 3-1 after the first chukker of play.
Two more goals in the second chukker gave Bombay Sapphire sitting on five goals while Isabella Wolf’s single goal accounted for all of the Black Watch scoring as the half ended with Bombay Sapphire ahead 5-2.
The pace picked up in the third chukker with Kampsen and Figueras trying to find the magic they had displayed earlier in the tournament. Kampsen’s three goals and near shutout defense by his teammates had Black Watch/Nespresso trailing 6-5 with a final chukker to play.
Kampsen scored the first goal of the sixth chukker to even it at 6-6 as both teams struggled to control the ball.
Hard ride-offs and great defense by both sides had the score tied until the final seconds of play. Bombay Sapphire’s John Gobin stole the ball and managed to push it through the goal posts with 12 seconds on the game clock. As both tams rode back to the center for the throw-in, time expired with Bombay Sapphire taking the 2009 Miami Beach Polo world Cup 7-6 to the delight of a cheering crowd.
John Gobin accounted for four goals in the course of the final game and was named Most Valuable Player in a vote by the players. His 12-year-old Chestnut mare, Reina, received Best Playing Pony Honors that were presented by American Polo Horse Association president, Sunny Hale.