Lion Castle defeat Buttals 5-4
There could not have been a more fitting climax to the 2014 Barbados Polo season last weekend.
The Republic Bank sponsored Roger Gooding Memorial 6-Goal Challenge trophy final was played at the Apes Hill polo ground, and Richard Gooding, son of the man in whose honour the tournament is held each year, scored the fifth and winning goal to lead Lion Castle to a 5-4 victory over Range Rover Buttals.
The late Gooding would have been proud of the way his son Richard led his Republic Bank sponsored team of Stewart Gill, Alex Cole and Jimmy Roberts to their hard fought win past Jason Oselmo, Adam Deane, Philip Tempro and Danny Atwell.
Unlike last year where the tournament was held at the start of the season in January, this year it was held later in the year, and brought the curtain down on another successful year for Barbados polo.
The late Gooding was an integral part of the Sir Charles owned and led Apes Hill polo family for many years. He played for Barbados on numerous occasions and was renowned for his unique ball-handling skills which earned him the nickname “Hawk Eye”.
His son Richard, who is also a member of the Apes Hill family, honed many of his skills from watching and playing alongside his dad from an early age, and those skills were on clear display in this match.
Jimmy Roberts, playing off a 3-goal handicap, opened the scoring for his Lion Castle side by successfully converting two penalties in the first chukka.
Danny Atwell and Adam Deane replied with two well executed field goals for Buttals which saw the scores locked 2-2 at the first interval.
Buttals then added another goal from the mallet of Danny Atwell who scored after sneaking the ball past his opponents at the southern end of the filed. It was the only goal scored in the second chukka.
Lion Castle then stepped up the pressure in the third chukka to which Buttals simply had no answer.
This resulted in three unanswered goals being scored, one each coming from the mallets of Alex Cole, Stewart Gill and the winner by Gooding that propelled his side to a 5-3 advantage going into the final chukka.
Sensing defeat, Buttals tried desperately to close the gap but were only able to manage one goal as Lion Castle held on to ball possession in the final minutes as the clock slowly ticked away. (CH)