ABU DHABI // Oscar Colombres led the way as Ghantoot overcame a spirited fightback from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) to win their opening match of the Golden Cup 6-4.
Colombres scored twice in the first chukka as Ghantoot took a 3-0 lead, but ADCB clawed back to 5-4 by the end of the third session before the Argentine closed out the match with his fourth goal of the evening.
"We started very well in the first chukka … but we knew they are a good team and will wake up soon," said Colombres.
"They were sleeping in the first chukka, but they came back really well in the second and third. In the second they were really good, but we started playing a bit better in the third chukka and fourth and could keep our difference of two goals.
"So it's good to start with a win. It is really important to win the first game."
Ghantoot play Abu Dhabi Airports Company next and Colombres is hoping to win that game and book the host club's ticket to the final of the three-team tournament.
"We have to play one more team and if we win, we will be in the final. So we will try our best to do that and then see who are the other finalistS.
"I hope we can win the title. That's always the idea, to win as much as we can. But all the teams are virtually equal and it's going to be tough. Most matches are going to be decided by a difference of one or two goals. Till the last chukka, you will never know."
The Golden Cup is the season-opener at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club and the home side have strengthened their squad with three new professionals from Argentina. With those additions, Colombres is hoping to bring most of the trophies up for grabs this season to the club.
"A few guys, the three professionals, came just three days ago," said Colombres, who has spent 15 years in the UAE. "They didn't know the horses and the local players, so for the first game they have done really good.
"There have been a lot of changes since I have been here, not just here in Abu Dhabi, but right across the country. There is good competition in polo now. There is a nice tournament in Dubai; here we have three tournaments and they are very good. So there are a few good tournaments.
"We are the only club in the UAE having six professionals. There are some clubs who play only one professional during the season. But I believe this is good, even for the local players because it will help them improve."
The Ghantoot Club also has a busy schedule ahead, with four official polo tournaments on the list and a few show-jumping events, as well.
"We are going to have four official tournaments, with the President's Cup being the biggest of them," said Hassan Nasir Al Deen, the club's assistant managing director. "That will be in March and it will be the toughest. We expect six teams to take part.
"We are also hosting a few show-jumping events. There will be two of them at the end of this month. We are also expecting to host a five-star show-jumping events next year. So it's going to be a busy time and we have a lot to do in terms of preparation."
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