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Head over heals



Visiting South African professional handicap five Selby Williamson scored four goals to help Chevrolet Cruz team win their opening match at Kenya Open polo tournament.

Williamson, who is captain of South Africa national team, Springboks, found Nairobi Polo Club a different ground altogether after he experienced a dramatic head over heels fall in the fourth chukka of the encounter atop Phillou Salle owned Tony, which is rated as the best polo ponny in Kenya. The player was not injured.

Williamson’s other teammates were Philip Arungah (2), Phylippa Marrion (0) and Eugene Ngumbao (-1.5). Williamson played here for last time 10 years ago.

They edged Standard Bank Offshore parading handicap four Duncan Ellis of South Africa, Henry Limb (2), Devin Shretta (0) and Emma Beardshaw (0) 4.5-4 in the closely contested encounter at Nairobi Polo Club yesterday.

The contest was expected to be tight considering that the difference between the teams’ handicap was just a half a goal with Offshore at six and Cruz 5.5.

Chevrolet Captiva, led by handicap three Craig Millar, recorded impressive results following 9-4.5 victory against CFC Stanbic in the other match of the main tournament.

Millar’s other teammates were: Handicap 2.5 Jonty Barclay, Jonathan Stichbury (0.5) and Jojo Barlow (0).

Stanbic team featured handicap 3.5 Richard Stonewigg, Quentin Savage (1.5), Sarah Griffiths (0.5) and Suki Shretta (-0.5).

Karen Provision Store lost to Sandstorm 7.5-6 in a close match.

Besides the main tournament, Kenya Open has a subsidiary tournament which is featuring four teams namely: Dasani, Chevrolet All Stars, Standard Bank Offshore and General Motors.

Meanwhile, Williamson says Kenya polo has experienced tremendous growth for the last 10 years.

Williamson said increased number of players is clear testimony that the equestrian sport is on upward trend in the trend in the country.

He said: "When I was here sometimes back there were fewer horses and players but currently there is a lot of changes with many horses around."

"I’m sure we’re going to watch excellent polo during the Kenya Open," he said during day one of Chevrolet Kenya Open at Nairobi Polo Club yesterday.

William is credited for transforming South African polo since he took over as captain of the national team which is popularly known as Springboks in 2005.

He has mentored high goal players, both from South Africa and abroad, at his institution called Jurassic Park Polo School which was established 12 years ago.

They include handicap Nachi and Jean Du Possis who are handicap eight and six and handicap six Tom De Bruin all of South Africa.

Kenyan players who have gone through Jurassic Park Polo School include handicap two Philip Arunga, former Nairobi Polo Club chairman Raphael Nzomo and Devin Shretta.

William said: "My tour of Kenya will offer me opportunity to watch some of my students in action at a competitive tournament which is Kenya Open."

Nzomo lauded Springbok captain for the role he has played in development of Kenyan polo as he said: "William has given a lot to Kenyan polo as most of us are his students. Actually it’s great honour to have him here to grace Kenya Open."

"His presence here will help him see how much we’ve improved and how much he’s taught us and we want to borrow from his experience in the game at the end of the tournament," he added.

William plays for Chevrolet Cruz alongside Arungah, Phylipa Marion (handicap zero) and Eugene Ngumbao (-1.5).

He is one of internationals who will grace Kenya Open and the rest are: Handicap five Brad McGibbon who also turns out for Springboks, Ambhimanyu Pathak (handicap 3) of India and Duncan Ellis of South Africa.

William joined polo at age 12 and he prides himself of captaining South Africa to several international titles and introducing new structures for both playing and coaching.

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