**September polo matches begin at 4PM**
Gates open at Noon. Pavilion opens at 3PM.
Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2021
The Empire State struck back again on Saturday, August 28th for the 10th skirmish between Newport vs. New York for the prestigious Clarke Cooke Cup, during the 30th anniversary season of the Newport International Polo Series, Presented by Turkish Airlines. The tenacious Newporters kept pace until the second half when New York unleashed overwhelming power.
A welcome break to the recent heatwave was matched by beautiful blue skies for ideal conditions to set the stage for an always epic contest. Fifth Avenue fashions were on display as picnics were laid out under the last of the August sun. Lawn games added to the pre-match entertainment, along with a stroll through the Vendor Village boutiques and a trip to see the ponies and players readying for the match.
Arrival for the challengers took more than a New York minute, thanks to a delayed ferry, but around 5PM the teams were led on to the pitch for player introductions followed by the US national anthem. Newport had its perennial frontman, Roger Souto at #1, with Leo Mejia representing for his second match of the season at #2, power house Cote Labbe captained from #3, while steady vet Dave Bullis was at #4. New York sent returning player Keith Hart for his third stint holding down #1, while newcomers Nick Aliano and Robert Neis played #2 and #3 respectively, and heavyweight Esteban Scott at #4. Hey Rhody contributor and influencer Ingrid Brown executed the Official Coin Toss, then the ball was in play.
Early plays favored New York as the first team to score, thanks to Neis. Then, Newport negated New Yorks offence, never making a goal for itself, but holding the first chukker 1-0 in favor of the challenger. Chukker 2 saw Newport surge ahead with goals by Labbe and Mejia within the first minute of play. A penalty hit awarded to New York broke the momentum when Scott made the conversion and followed up with a goal during regulation play to overtake. Mejia saw to even the score with 3-all with a goal in the final 20 seconds of Chukker 2. Play grew more intense with the end of the first half in sight. Neiss scored the tie-breaker for New York, then a foul by his team gave Labbe the opening to even the score again. Scott gave his team the edge as Chukker 3 ended with the advantage to New York, 5-4.
As the players vacated the field, spectators took over for the time-honored half-time divot stomp to smooth the playing surface for the second half. With the field repaired, attentions turned to field-side hospitality, including a trip to the Pro Shop, not least of which to browse the latest arrivals, but also enter the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize Drawing. Then, a visit to the Patio Bar for a refill before picking out delectable bites from A Mano Pizza, Stoneacre Bistro, Hawaiian Jim's Shave Ice, and Chelsea's Creamery. Those thinking about back to school and continued education had the chance to visit the University of Rhode Island Foundation table.
The second half started out much as the first with an early goal for New York by Scott, followed by a desert of scoring to end the fourth 6-4 for the challenger. Unlike the first half, Newport missed its rallying comeback. New York steamrolled through like the Rockefeller oil conquest. Neis pumped out 3 unanswered goals to the end the fifth chukker 9-4. Newport capped the gushing well, but a final goal was surfaced again by Neis to end the chukker final and put New York on the winner's podium, 10-4.
New York was riding high following the fan salute lap of the field as the Veuve Clicquot Trophy Presentation got underway. A special shout-out was given to Robert Neiss for scoring 6 of his teams 10 goals, before masters of hospitality from the Clarke Cooke House presented the vintage silver Clarke Cooke Cup to the victors. Then, the cork flew, and the magnanimous Newport led three cheers for the visitors before adjourning to the Patio Bar for the autograph signing.
In accordance with RI State reopening guidelines, capacity limits have been lifted at the polo grounds, resuming historic seating options, while some conservative measures remain in place, including and carry in carry out trash after a successful strategy approved last year through the pandemic, when live audiences could still enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 30 years to witness the timeless sport unfold on the manicured, emerald green at Glen Farm, home of the Polo Series, in a classic exhibition of horsemanship and valor, with host, the Newport Polo Club, where the home team - Newport/USA - meets challengers each season from around the world and as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport's unique traditions & renown attractions.
The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September. The schedule of teams is subject to change without notice, as per RI State mandates and US travel bans which may impact travel and Adult Sports. Stay current with the 2021 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.
The Polo Grounds' favorable proximity to the shores of the island's Sakonnet east passage provides reliably cool coastal effects, moderating afternoon temperatures and providing a dependable breeze for the late afternoon polo matches all summer. Minutes from the bustling Newport waterfront, the International Polo Grounds are located on the acreage of Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of a pre-colonial settlement from the 1600’s that became the Town of Portsmouth's original gentlemen's farm, an 800-acre manorial estate established during a Gilded Age movement of retreat from the high life into pastoral country acres, to become the future home of polo in the next century. Its classical 19th century stone barns and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by Polo Series founder, Dan Keating in the early 1990’s and continue to thrive as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.
The Newport International Polo Series is proud to roll out its 2021 sponsors including Brenton Hotel, Davitt Inc., TD Bank, Turkish Airlines, Modern Luxury Boston, Herb Chambers Exotics, Vanderbilt International Properties, Hotel Viking, Veuve Clicquot, Polo House Privé, Clarke Cooke House, Stella Artois, US Polo Association, Goslings, ROCKSTAR Limo, McGrath Clambakes and Catering, Classical 95.9 WCRI, and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter Tours, The Cocktail Guru, Hannoush Jewelers, Newport Jaguar Tours, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Mansions, Newport Music Festival, Island Surf and Sport, Northeast Equestrian Life, Newport Sport Fishing Charters, and Audrain Automobile Museum.
“Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.
This is the 30th season of Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 35 nations including, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, and Switzerland.
Keep Calm and Polo On. Newport Polo was the first and only live sporting event to win State approval and navigate safely through the pandemic last year. Since 600 b.c., polo, the world's oldest ball game, has withstood the tests of time throughout its storied history. First recorded in the 6th century b.c. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization. By the time Polo arrived on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport was nearly 2500 years steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport's summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America's first polo club in 1876. A charter member of the United States Polo Association the club today is still a trailblazing polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.