Bin 26 chase hat-trick
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Defending champions Bin 26 will be seeking a hat-trick of wins when the third annual Scotia Private Client Group Jamaica Open Polo Tournament gets under way today and concludes on Sunday at the Kingston Polo Club, Caymanas Estates.
Plans for the event were outlined at Tuesday's launch at Scotiabank, Constant Spring Road, by event coordinator Karen Kranenburg from Barbados; Roger Grant, financial consultant, Scotia Private Client Group, and Dennis Lalor, in his capacity as president of both the Jamaica Polo Association and Kingston Polo Club.
Action kicks off with both semi-final matches among the four participating teams - Bin 26, Wyndham, Audi and Scotia Private Client team. Each team represents a sponsor.
By virtue of the draw conducted at the launch by the title and associate sponsors, Bin 26 will oppose Audi in the first match at 3 p.m. and Wyndham will meet Scotia Private Client at 4 p.m.
The winners will meet in the final on Sunday at the Kingston Polo Club, starting at 3 p.m. The consolation final between the losing semi-finalists will precede the final at 2 p.m.
Three visiting pros - all five-goal ranked players - will complement the list of top local players. They are José Lartirigoyen and Javier Cabrera from Argentina and Jamie Le Hardie from England.
The teams selected were as follows: Bin 26 - Lesley Fong Yee (captain), Craig Russell, Shane Chin and Jamie Le Hardie. Audi - James Robertson (captain), RickyWates, Jordan Samuda and Jose Lartirigoyen. Wyndham - John G. Byles (captain), Mark Wates, Mark Melville, Javier Cabrera. Scotia Private Client - Mitta Rousseau (captain), Paul Lalor, Jason Wates and Jorge Donovan. Polo ponies will be provided by Dennis Lalor, James Robertson, John G. Byles, Shane Chin and Lesley Fong Yee.
In addition to the polo final, Sunday's off-the-field activities under the theme 'Taste the Caribbean' celebrating the best of Caribbean cuisine (featuring chefs specifically flown in by Caribbean Airlines from the region), will also see a car show put on by ATL Motors, a Field Spa, courtesy of Island Outpost, as well as an After Party with DJ Kurt Riley.
Christina Taylor, representing the Wyndham, said the hotel will accommodate visiting players and chefs.
In his address, Scotia's Roger Grant noted:
"The future of polo seems very bright in Jamaica as there are special programmes such as The Polo School targeting the young to ensure the development and growth of the sport.
"This year, as we celebrate Jamaica's 50th anniversary, we are happy that we are able to bring together a world-class event which will also showcase the creativity and talents of our regional chefs," he said.