Bendura Bank wins the coveted 2018 Trophy
The 16th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Final was one of a kind. Prior to the first throw-in, a minute’s silence was held in honor of Polo Club Kitzbühel member Antonio D'Aurellio, who past away two months prior to this years event. Host team Bendura Bank took to the field for a battle of wills and determination against Engel & Völkers, who they’d lost to two days prior. The top scorer of the tournament, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, fresh from a resounding win in yesterday’s match against Maserati came out fighting with Melissa Ganzi and his #3 Tito Gaudenzi, trying to clear the path. The Engel & Völkers ‘Red Devils’ had their work cut out, as the match became a Laplacette vs Novillo Astrada Argentine extravaganza and as play progressed it became evident who the leading team were going to be. Novillo Astrada, later named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, was on fire, taking part in every play. Following two expertly gained penalties from Bendura Bank Captain Melissa Ganzi, Novillo Astrada optimized the play to their advantage, reaching a narrow 4 - 3 1 ⁄ 2 lead at half-time. The third chukka saw even more power from the Bendura Bank side, as they extended their lead and strong defensive plays by Tito Gaudenzi shut the opponents down. Not giving up, Engel & Völkers tried to answer Bendura Bank’s goals and managed to take the lead by a half goal, 6 1 ⁄ 2 - 6 as the chukka closed. As the players rode on for the fourth and final chukka, it was all to play for on the snow in Kitzbühel. Novillo Astrada answered his Captain’s calls to dominate the final plays, with truly exceptional play, scoring three goals in as many minutes. The final play of the afternoon was a thing of beauty, as Ganzi hit the ball up field to a tentatively waiting Novillo Astrada, strongly defended by Adrian Laplacette for Engel & Völkers, the crowd held their breath. Expertly twisting his pony to take full control of the ball, Novillo Astrada delicately placed the ball through the posts from under his pony’s neck, winning the 16th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Final with a final score of 10 - 6 1 ⁄ 2 on the final bell for not only a jubilant team, but an absolutely ecstatic crowd.