Independence Cup Match Report

Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Warnings of perilous weather miraculously dissipated by Saturday, to make way for a glorious afternoon to contest the Championship of the USPA Northeastern Circuit Congressional Cup between finalists Glen Farm and Polombia, both winners of the tournament's semifinal rounds, for a thrilling 4 chukkers in the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines, followed by 2 additional exhibition chukkers to also award the Independence Cup.

The match was the culmination of two weeks of competition for a winner takes all Final to earn a place in polo history and prize money to split amongst themselves. Spectators were excited to witness the thrilling tournament finale dressed in their best Yankee Doodle attire with their Fourth of July red, white, and blue tailgate and picnic spreads. 

The Patio Bar was abuzz with energy as spectators enjoyed the latest beverage offerings from Santa Margherita WinesVeuve Clicquot Champagne, and Stella Artois on tap. For those feeling patriotic the drink of the day crafted by The Cocktail Guru was Stars & Stripes spritzes - rum cocktails with flavors of mint, berry, and liqueur. Cocktails from Goslings were also readily enjoyed including the Bermuda Rum Swizzle, the Tropic Time Out, and the Dark 'n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series. The Pro Shop rolled out numerous 2022 additions including Club Polos and Yacht Jackets and more from US Polo Assn, essentials to any Newport summer wardrobe. Weekly Gourmet Food Trucks were parked field-side serving up Newport classics from Newport Chowder Company, Village Greek, Hawaiian Jim's Shave Ice, and Milk Caffe. 

At the appointed hour of 5PM, festivities began with USPA umpire Ernie Ezcurra and Elise Markell leading Glen Farm and Polombia onto BD Field for the Opening ceremony, beginning with player introductions.  Wearing green for the day was Glen Farm with Chris Fragomeni at #1, Tim Day at #2, Sam Clemens at #3, and pro Stuart Campbell at #4 anchoring the team. In yellow for the day was Polombia with Peter Jenkins at #1, Minnie Keating at #2, Lucio Chavez at #3, and Oskar Monzon anchoring his team in the #4 position. 

Special Guest Lt. Col. "Woody" Woodhouse, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen of WWII and Honorable Artillery Company Anthem Singers accompanied the teams to centerfield.  Woodhouse honored the house with wise and timely words, followed by the Official Coin Toss from TD Bank's Charles Lomnitzer.  Also reserved for this holiday, the official dedication of BD Field was marked with a classic champagne sabrage. A tradition in France, a saber swipes the neck of a champagne bottle, popping the cock off in one fell swoop. With one movement the field was christened with champagne and named BD Field. Following the sabrage, the game began. 

To make up handicap differences, Polombia started with 1 goal on the board. Scoring began quickly in the first chukker with a goal from Campbell for Glen Farm in less than 30 seconds to the start of the match, followed a minute and half later by his teammate Fragomeni. Polombia fought back and Monzon scored a nice goal off of a penalty 4 from Glen Farm. Monzon followed up his goal with another but Glen Farm held them off with a final goal from Campbell to end the first chukker. The second chukker was another period of back and forth play with two goals from Campbell followed by three in succession from Monzon and one from Clemens to round out that chukker. Glen Farm owned the third chukker with one goal from Fragomeni followed by another two goals from Campbell to push Glen Farm to a 9-6 lead over Polombia. 

Half time came quickly after the first three chukkers in the match which meant a traditional divot stomp by the spectators to level out BD Field to prepare for the final chukker of the tournament and the two subsequent chukkers. Spectators socialized across the grounds, many dropping off raffle tickets for the Daily Door Prize for a chance to win a gift package from Whispering Angel and a shot at the 2022 season's Turkish Airlines Grand Prize, meanwhile the judges circled the field to find the most patriotic Fourth of July party to win the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest prizes.  

The fourth chukker was a tough one for both sides with very little progress towards goal in the first few minutes; eventually Monzon broke the stalemate with two quick goals for Polombia, one off of a penalty to bring his team within a point of tying the score.  Keeping the pressure on, Polombia again maneuvered into striking distance and launched a final shot to tie the game which bounced wide off the goal post to end the fourth chukker with Glen Farm claiming the 9-8 tournament victory.

During the remaining 2 chukkers of play for the Independence Cup, commentator William Crisp also named the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest winner, a tailgate with a beautiful Fourth of July spread, awarding a Stella Artois patio umbrella and prize pack. The fifth chukker (not attached to the tournament) showcased Polombia's skill as Monzon scored 4 goals in quick succession. The sixth and final chukker of the day began with a clean goal from Campbell followed by nice hits on goal from Chavez, Keating, and Monzon to finish up the 6-chukker game score 15-10 in Polombia's favor. 

 After the match the teams took a lap around the field in celebration of the end of the USPA Congressional Cup in the traditional victory salute. The lap was followed by the Veuve Clicquot Trophy Presentation. The USPA player's trophies and the winner's cup were presented to Glen Farm along with their prize money by BD rep Jules Johnston. Stuart Campbell was named MVP of the match and his horse "Start the Ball Rolling" was named Best Playing Pony. After the extended celebration, spectators and players made their way to the Modern Luxury Lounge for a complimentary Goslings Dark 'n Stormy to wrap up an intense tournament with some of the best competition in the region.  

Live audiences can enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 31 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 as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport's unique traditions and renowned attractions.   

The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September, with 6 remaining international teams, 4 city challengers, a Pro-Am and more. 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 2022 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 2022 sponsors including Brenton HotelBDTD BankTurkish AirlinesModern Luxury BostonHerb Chambers ExoticsVanderbilt International PropertiesHotel Viking, Santa Margherita Wines, Providence DiamondVeuve ClicquotClarke Cooke House, Atria Senior Living, US Polo AssociationStella ArtoisGoslingsROCKSTAR Limo, and Classical 95.9 WCRI; and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter ToursThe Cocktail GuruNewport Jaguar ToursInternational Tennis Hall of FameNewport MansionsNewport ClassicalIsland Surf and Sport, Newport Picnic Co., Northeast Equestrian LifeNewport Vineyards 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 31th season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 36 nations including, Colombia, 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, Switzerland and Colombia.

Gilded Age Legacy.  Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. 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, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for 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 model 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.