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USA vs. New Zealand Match Report

Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Blazing heat gave way to a pleasant afternoon just in time for the Kiwi Contingent to return to Newport for USA vs. New Zealand on Saturday, August 6th, part of the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines. Team New Zealand arrived in Newport for their third battle in the International Series, their first Newport match since 2019. They experienced a whirlwind tour of Newport starting with their transportation from Rockstar Limo and their lodging from Vanderbilt International Properties. They experienced the City by the Sea with tours from Newport Helicopter Tours, Newport Jaguar Tours, and On Watch Sailing. Their weekend also included tours of the Audrain Automobile Museum, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Newport Mansions. For the international matchup, the New Zealand team sported a roster of international polo veterans and hotshots, all ready for the matchup. Tailgates, picnics, and spreads were adorned in white to celebrate the "long white cloud", the Maori name for New Zealand. 

The International Polo Grounds were bustling from the minutes the gates opened. The Patio Bar served up classic Newport Polo favorites including Stella Artois on tap, Santa Margherita Wines, and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. New Goslings Cocktails were also popular choices: The Tropic Time Out, the Bermuda Rum Swizzle, and the Dark 'n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series. The Pro Shop was packed with spectators shopping the new collections including the all new Jean Jackets, Chambray Blouses, and Men's Captain Polos. Gourmet Food Trucks were field-side serving delicious Newport classics to spectators with options from Newport Chowder Company, Wally's Hot Dog Cart, Village Greek, Amano Pizzaa + Gelato, and Hawaiian Jim's Shave Ice. 

At 5PM the pre-game opening ceremony began with a coin toss led by Kevin Kelly, the Worldwide President of BD Surgery. After the coin toss, William Crisp the announcer for the match introduced the two teams as the umpires escorted the players onto the pitch. In white was New Zealand with 6th- generation polo player Gussie Gould at #1, her father and veteran player George Gould at #2, president of Christchurch Polo Club, Mike Stronach at #3, and international superstar Henry Wood at #4. In blue was Team USA with Felipe Rojas at #1, speedster Roger Souto at #2, Sam Clemens at #3, and series president Dan Keating at #4. Following the introductions was the New Zealand Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner to finish the opening ceremony.

The match went off with ferocity as Keating scored for Team USA within the first 30 seconds of the match. Following this goal Keating scored another in quick succession to boost his team to the lead early in the match. A few minutes into the first chukker New Zealand found their groove and Wood scored two goals to even the score. Rojas ended the chukker with his first goal of the match to give USA a lead going into the following chukkers. New Zealand dominated the second chukker as Wood scored two more goals to bring his team into the lead. The third chukker was an alternating one with back and forth play between teams and several fouls against Team USA. In the last few minutes of the chukker Keating scored his third goal to bring the score to 4-all going into half time. 

Half time followed the first three chukkers which signaled time for spectators to take to the field for the Newport Divot Stomp to level out the field. The Vendor Village was bustling with spectators getting custom portraits from Cocoa & Co and bidding on the Ocean State Charity Auction that was benefitting the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation. The Pro Shop was busy with spectators purchasing Newport Polo merchandise and turning in their raffle tickets for the Daily Door Prize in hopes of winning a special gift from Whispering Angel and getting entered into the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize, awarding the winner two tickets two business class tickets to anywhere in the world on Turkish Airlines. During halftime contest judges circled the field to find the best "white party" to win the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest prize, an umbrella and 12-pack from Stella Artois

In the fourth chukker both teams battled hard. An early goal from Clemens for Team USA gave them a boost but it was quickly retorted by two goals from Wood, one off of a penalty. Clemens did not not back down, however, as he scored another goal to end the chukker 6-all. After the chukker, William announced the winner of the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest, a beautiful tailgate with a true white party adorned in white furniture, accents, and complete with white cuisines. A true celebration in white, the winners were awarded a gift from Stella Artois. 

Newport excelled in the fifth chukker as Souto scored his first goal of the match followed by another goal from Clemens to push Team USA to the lead. At the end of the fifth chukker William announced the winner of the Daily Door Prize, a spectator from Massachusetts who won a special gift from Whispering Angel. In the final chukker the battle was tough as fatigue set in with all 8 players and their horses. Both teams made last ditch efforts to score, New Zealand to close the gap, and the US to widen their winning gap, but to no avail. The match ended with a final score of 8-6 in favor of Team USA

After the match Teams USA and New Zealand made a lap around the field in the Newport Victory Salute. Following the salute was the Veuve Clicquot Trophy Presentation where Mary and Peter Jenkins, the hosts of the New Zealand players, presented to the USA vs. New Zealand Perpetual Cup to Team USA and the Providence Diamond Player's Trophies to the players. After the presentation, players and spectators retired to the Modern Luxury Lounge for a player's toast and for the apres polo New England Lobsterfest catered by McGrath Clambakes

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.