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Mon 21st Jan 2019

CÓroc Crowned Champions in KitzbŁhel

17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup

In front of a thousands-strong crowd in the heart of the Austrian Alpine mecca, Kitzbühel on Sunday 20 January, Cîroc, a new team for 2019, defeated Engel & Völkers to win The 17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup title. Following two matches earlier in the day, in which last year’s winners Bendura Bank secured fifth place, 13-6½ against Maserati, and Corum defeated Bernd Gruber 6-7 to take home third place, the third and final affair was an exciting match between two very strong international sides.  

Sebastian Schneberger was in search of his third title, to equal the record breaking three Snow Polo World Cup wins held by Brit Jonny Good, and coincidentally 20 January was also the day of St. Sebastian, so perhaps divine intervention would play a key role. Engel & Völkers, four-time finalists and only one-time winners, were looking to be the crowd’s favourite, but as the first ball was thrown-in, Aki Van Andel came flying out of the mêlée with the ball seemingly glued to his stick. His 7 goal team mate Valentin Novillo Astrada wasn’t far behind him, in his usual form. Despite Cîroc’s initial fervour, Engel & Völkers were the first on the scoreboard with a fantastic field goal from Captain Kutlay Yaprak. Following a brief horse change, Novillo Astrada found his rhythm, scoring the first of his many goals. The game was full of tension and high spirits, as players went into ride-offs with extreme energy. By half-time, 2019’s newest team, Cîroc, were 4-2 ahead, to the dismay of the assembled ‘Red Devils’ fans. Adrian Laplacette Jr, usually the one to watch for the boys in red, was consistently shut out of plays by Van Andel, who was later named Most Valuable Player, using his pony’s strength to ensure Novillo Astrada always had a clean run on the ball. By the end of the third chukka, Cîroc continued to hold the lead 6-3, with Engel & Völkers hoping for a polo miracle to bless them in the final six minutes. Having found renewed energy, Novillo Astrada scored three goals in as many minutes to open the chukka, to only one in response from Laplacette Jr. With 9-4 on the scoreboard, Agustin Kronhaus tried desperately to bring his team back into the game, but the clock was not in his favour. As the bell tolled at the end of the 17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup 2019, Cîroc rode off the field to elated cries of congratulations from the crowd and the coveted trophy in their hands. 

Cîroc Captain Sebastian Schneberger said after the Final, “This was a great event and I’m so happy we’ve walked away with the title. It was a tough match, but we rallied together and did what we came here to do.”

Now the snow polo focus turns to St. Moritz, where the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz begins on Friday 25 January with the Final on Sunday 27 January. Polo Times and The Polo Magazine are once again Official Media Partners and will be keeping subscribers up to date with all the latest action from the birthplace of snow polo. 

The 17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Final Teams:

Cîroc (12): Sebastian Schneberger (2), Aki van Andel (3) & Valentin Novillo Astrada (7)

Engel & Völkers (12): Kutlay Yaprak (1), Agustin Kronhaus (4) & Adrian Laplacettte Jr (7)

Photograph: Cîroc secured their first Snow Polo World Cup title in Kitzbühel. By Cymon Skinner Photography


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