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Horse Ballitto Girl gives Kenyans a run for their money

UNIQUE SPORTS By Ben Ahenda | July 26th 2021
Casmir Gross of Kenya reacts during their match against Zambia during the International Polo tournament at Manyatta Polo in Gilgil, Nakuru County on July 25, 2021.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]


Ten-year-old Ballitto Girl pony was in a class of its own when it conquered its owners (Kenyans) in crucial moments before Kenya floored Zambia 8-7 to win the International Polo Championships at Manyatta Polo Club, Gilgil at the weekend.

The pony, which was used by Zambian Shane Coventry was a master of the pitch and a thorn in the flesh of Kenya's territory resulting in Zambia reducing the losing tally with two quick goals in the final chukka.

Ballitto Girl who is owned by handicap 1.0 Jadini Nzomo was later voted the Best Playing Pony(BPP) in the three-day championships.

"This pony was good to me and it made my work easier in the final match and I must thank its owner (Jadini Nzomo) for a well-trained horse and I wish I could take it with me in Zambia," Coventry (Shane) told Standard Sports.

During the three-day tournament, Kenya defeated Zambia for the third consecutive time to stamp her authority in East and Central Africa.

Captain Casimir Gross emerged Man of The Match with a total score of five goals as Jammie Morray and Archie Voorspuy added the two goals to collect maximum points in the three-day competition.

Zambia's man of the match was captain Kevin Coventry, who played his heart out to emerge runners up, having defeated the Kenya B-team of Kimoi Moi, Phillip Arunga, Jose Craig and Henry Limb 14-8 on the first day.

Kimoi was also awarded for being one of the best emerging talented internationals.

"This is a good horse that did every trick in the pitch for our team," said Shane Coventry who rode the horse (Ballitto Girl).

"It was a tough match but I must admit the Zambians is also a well-coordinated and polished side. We made a few mistakes at the start but we re-collected ourselves to make a gallant comeback to overcome our opponents," Kenya captain Casimir Gross told Standard Sports.

Zambia captain Kevin Coventry hoped to avenge their defeat when Kenya visit Zambia next season in Lusaka International Championships.

'It was a tough match but the narrow loss would be avenged next season at Lusaka International Championships," Coventry said.

During the six chukka match, Zambians shocked the homeboys with two quick goals in the first chukka through Coventry(Kevin) and Ian Robinson before Kenya leveled through Gross in the same chukka.

Robinson put back Zambia in the lead in the first half of the second chukka before Kenya earned a 40-yard- undefended penalty slotted in by Gross, leaving a 3-3 deadlock by the end of the chukka.

In the third chukka, Gross, Archie Voorspuy and Jammie Murray made it 6-3 but Robinson reduced the deficits with a 40-yard penalty for a 6-4 score in that chukka as Murray added another goal for 7-4 scoreline in the fourth chukka.

In the final two chukkas, Gross scored another goal for Kenya as Robinson and Coventry(Kevin) scored two quick goals in the sixth chukka to end their tour in style.

In the Subsidiary Championships, Sanilam team of Tiva Gross, Jadini Nzomo, Georgina Millar and Eva Kamau scooped the title from a 5-1 win over DT Dobie.

The DT Dobie side comprised of Jules Camm, Izzy Stichbury, Hiromi Nzomo and Lochie Stichbury.

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