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Barbados, Cheshire share polo honours

Clifton Henry

Barbados, Cheshire share polo honours

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It was an afternoon of near misses, spills and thrills for a record breaking crowd at the Holders Polo Grounds on Sunday for the final between Barbados and the visiting Cheshire team from Britain.
The event was the annual Cheshire vs Barbados Diamonds International/ Jaeger-Le-Coultre/Archers Hall/ Courtesy Car Rentals-sponsored polo tournament.
And in one of the more intense but keenly contested battles between the two countries, both teams engaged in a cat-and-mouse game that eventually ended in a nerve-racking 5-5 draw in the dark
Defending champions Cheshire began their defence full of confidence after a comprehensive 7-3 victory against Barbados on Friday to level the series at one game each.
This was after Wednesday’s match scheduled for the Clifton Polo Grounds in St Thomas was cancelled due to rain.  
One minute into the opening chukka, Cheshire were off to a flyer with a well-struck shot by captain Howard Taylor that found the back of goalpost. This sent their large contingent of British supporters into wild excitement.
It wasn’t long before Barbados struck back with a goal from Harry Manning. With horses slipping and sliding over the hard turf it was not long before tragedy struck when Barbadian player Danny Atwell took a tumble, resulting in a suspected broken wrist.
He was replaced by Jamie Dickson after being taken to a nearby medical facility for treatment.
Johnny Coddington would bring Cheshire back into the lead with his first goal of the match but it would be short-lived as Manning struck twice in quick succession to give Barbados a 3-2 lead at the halfway stage.
At the start of the second half Coddington brought the scores level again with a well-executed shot at the northern side of the field. Barbados moved back into the lead when they were awarded a 40-yard penalty which Jamie Dickson duly converted.
However the cat-and-mouse tactics continued when Taylor brought the scores level at 4-4 after the start of the fourth and final chukka.  
Two minutes later Oliver Taylor would put his team ahead of Barbados with a clinical finish at the southern end of the field.  With visibility rapidly deteriorating Teddy Williams gave everyone a scare when he took a tumble on the fence at the southern end of the field. Fortunately it was not as bad as it first appeared and he was able to resume and complete the final two minutes of the game.
With the light quickly fading, Oliver Taylor collected a pass from Coddington and made all the running to the northern side of the field to easily put his team ahead 5-4 with less than a minute remaining in the match.
With both teams scrambling for ball possession Barbados were awarded a penalty after an infringement. This was duly converted to level the scores at the end of regulation time.
Both teams agreed to a draw instead of playing for the extra 30 seconds in fading light.
In the preceding game a select Jaeger-Le-Coultre team of Roddy Davis, Richard and Adam Deane and T.J. Davis defeated the Diamonds International side of Stuart Gill, Damian Luke, Wayne Archer and Bruce Bayley 9-3.