Superb weather, top quality polocrosse action and a beautiful setting ensured a highly successful inaugural Land Rover Durban HIGHGOAL tournament at the Durban Shongweni Club.
Sisters Amber and Paige played for the Team Rhino Truck Sales side, while Kenan represented Team Alzu.
The trio described it as a very intense, competitive and extreme weekend.
Both Land Rover men’s and ladies’ teams came out in first position after neck-and-neck games that saw all teams pushing themselves to the limit. Taking the prize in the ladies’ category this year was Land Rover Durban’s Team Evoque who walked away with R10 000 in cash following an impressive two-day display.
The men’s final, held on the Sunday afternoon, was won by Land Rover after a highly competitive match. The Land Rover men’s team trotted away with a well-deserved R12 500 prize money and title as the first ever winners of the Land Rover Durban HIGHGOAL.
The event saw eight teams, four men’s – Branson, Zambeze Delta Anti-Poaching, Alzu and Durban Land Rover – and four ladies’ – Alzu, Team M&M, Rhino Truck Sales and Team Evoque – competing in a number of games daily.
The final four men’s and ladies’ games were held on Sunday. In the ladies’ division, Evoque beat team M&M 16-12 and Alzu beat Rhino in a closely contested 16-15 game. The final scores put Evoque first, Alzu in second place, M&M third and Rhino fourth.
For the men’s division, Branson took on Zambeze, finishing with a convincing 35-23 win while Land Rover finished the event off with a spectacular 35-24 win over Alzu. Final placings put Land Rover first, Alzu second, Branson third and Zambeze fourth.
Land Rover truly got their monies worth when their Evoque ladies’ team member, Jean Hackland – who took part in last year’s World Cup – and took home the prize for Most Valuable Player in the ladies’ division and also the Best Turned Out Pony.
The Land Rover men’s team also took home all the accolades as their captain, Andrew Heynes, took home the prize for Most Valuable Player in the men’s division and the Golden Pony award. Their Australian import, Lance Anderson, won the award for best No 2 player for the tournament.
“It was a fantastic event overall with world-class polocrosse players bringing their best to the field,” said event organiser and Shongweni Polocrosse club chairman, Brent Von Benecke. “Shongweni experienced the usual glorious weather for this time of year, and there was a great turnout with hundreds of visitors coming to witness the fast-paced action.”
Being a High Goal tournament, each team consisted of six players with a combined handicap of between 42 and 45 (out of a possible 60) where 0 is a beginner and 10 a world-class player. Showing its calibre, the tournament welcomed two 10-handicap players – Jannie Steenkamp and Graham MacLarty – to the field.
Andre Schrenk, dealer principal for Land Rover Durban, said they were thrilled with the success of the first Land Rover Durban HIGHGOAL, and looked forward to the 2017 instalment.
“There were eight teams, 48 players and about 100 horses who put on a really world-class performance,” said Shrenk. “There were a number of tight games that were all greatly supported.
“The weekend started with a gala black tie event and ended off with a prize giving. Land Rover Durban looks forward to sponsoring the 2017 edition.”
Schrenk said that supporting the equestrian market was a global mandate for the Land Rover brand.
“The Land Rover Durban HIGHGOAL is the ideal opportunity for us to achieve this and we are fully committed to sponsoring the event going forwards.”
Photos by Shannon Gilson