Bajans do it 7–6
Barbados started the 2014 Lime/Hyundai-sponsored Cheshire four-match polo classic with a bruising but nail-biting 7–6 victory over the visiting Cheshire team from Britain last weekend.
Playing in front of a decent crowd for the opening game at the popular Holders Hill grounds in St James, Barbados were made to literally fight every inch of the way for their victory.
Cheshire were off to a flyer in the first chukka with two goals in quick succession, which earned them a deserved 2-0 scoreline and forced the local team on the back foot.
Barbados tried their best to penetrate the visitors’ defence in the first and again at the start of the second chukkas, but were thwarted on each occasion with some stout defending from the Brits.
Cheshire’s hard work at the back soon paid off up front when they made it 3 -0 with a well-executed goal by the hard hitting Oliver Taylor.
Barbados’ fortunes finally changed, and they got on the score card with the first of six penalties from the mallet of Jamie Dickson. The second chukka ended with Cheshire leading 3-1, and Barbados with plenty to do in the second half.
As if stung by a nest of bees, the Bajans came out fighting from the sound of the horn, and officially started their comeback.
Over-aggressive play by Cheshire gave the Barbadians three quick penalties, which were duly converted by Dickson each time 4-3.
With the local lads now in the lead for the first time, tempers began to flare even more in a game that had started to get physical. This caused the umpires to intervene on several occasions. Cheshire tried their best to break through the Barbadian defences but were unable to do so and unable to add to their half time score.
With Barbados now leading 4–3, it was more of the same in the final chukka with the Cheshire team being guilty of committing foul after foul. This allowed Dickson to add two more well struck penalties to close out the match.
In the meantime, his teammate Mark Atwell got into the action and scored his first and only goal with a minute left in the match. With the light beginning to fade slightly, Cheshire added one more goal to draw level with Barbados but another foul play by them gave the Barbadians another penalty with less than 20 seconds left in regulation time.
Again, Dickson was clinical, and did not miss.