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Rotary Charity Match Report

Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Anticipation for the start of polo season was at an all-time high on Saturday, May 28th as a Battle of the Sexes ensued leading the Newport women to a head-to-head match with the men of Newport Polo. The preseason match marks the beginning of the season which will continue with the Opening Day of the 31st Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines, on June 4th. A foggy start to the day gave way to brilliant sunshine and clear skies with a mild temperature set for the players to battle in an aggressive 6 chukker match. Enthusiastic spectators were abuzz with the return of polo to the beautiful green at Glen Farm.    

Spectators relaxed on the lawn and around the polo fields to tailgate while getting ready to view the competition. The Pro Shop was lively with motion for its opening day of the summer stocked with new Newport Polo merchandise including polos, crews, vests, and more sure to excite any Newport Polo fan. In Vendor Village was the Patio Bar serving up new creations for the 2022 bar menu concocted by the Cocktail Guru and Wally's Hotdog Cart with their gourmet Saugy hotdogs that are a tantalizing treat for the senses.  

Soon enough the clock hit 5PM, and umpires Rory Torrey and Patrick Quigley were leading the Newport women and the Newport men onto the pitch to begin the 32st year of the annual Newport Polo Rotary Charity Match. William Crisp the renowned commentator and favorite welcomed the spectators to the Rotary match predicting a fierce and exciting match ahead. Wearing white for Newport, Philipe Rojas and Peter Jenkins, took the #1 positions, with Chris Fragomeni at #2, Lucio Chavez and Dan Kinsella at #3, and Peter Friedman representing #4. The women of Newport were in red with Becca Nordstrom at #1, Catie Reed at #2, Minnie Keating at #3, and Touba Ghadessi rounding out the women's team at #4. Following the Star Spangled Banner, the match began with a random draw of field sides and the ball was thrown into play.

The match began with fierce play from the women of Newport as Keating took advantage of the lack of coordination among the Newport men to secure a goal a third of the way into the first chukker of play. Less than 2 minutes later Reed scored a clear shot propelling the women forward to the lead. The Newport men refused to yield and luck came their way as Friedman cleared a nice shot through the goal with two minutes to go on the clock. To cement a tied score, Fragomeni scored a last minute goal with less than 30 seconds to the buzzer to end the first chukker with a score of 2-all. At the start of the second chukker, Keating scored another goal for the women followed two minutes later by Nordstrom ending the second chukkar with the men falling behind. Rojas came out roaring in the third chukker with a clean goal followed by another goal for the men to end the first half of the match 4-all. 

All in attendance were sure to visit the Pro Shop to enjoy the infusion of new merchandise just in as well as the Patio Bar serving up incredible cocktails for spectators to enjoy whilst viewing the match. Delectable hotdogs from Wally's Wieners were enjoyed by all ages during the extended half time before the match was called back to play. The iconic half-time stomp was also included to reinvigorate the pitch for the second half. 

The second half of the match went off with bang as Keating scored for the women landing a spectacular goal highlighting her skill as a player within the first minute of the 4th chukker off of a penalty infraction against the men. The men countered the women's play with a goal of their own a third into the fourth chukker. The fifth chukker was completely dominated by the Newport women with goals from Nordstrom, Reed, and Keating giving them a 8-5 lead over the men. The sixth and final chukker of the match rounded out with excellent defending and offensive play from Reed with led to the final goal of the match ending the play with a final score of 9-5 with the women of Newport taking home the victory. 

The victorious women circled around the field for a traditional victory salute as announcer William Crisp consulted Dan Keating, the series founder and game announcer, on the player of the day. Keating and Reed were two key players of the game leading the women to victory. Dan Keating remarked jokingly that Reed's style of play would have simply made him cry if he were to defend her in a match due to her aggressive and scrappy style of play on the pitch. As the match came to a close, spectators remained fieldside to enjoy the lovely evening to conclude the 32nd year of the Rotary Charity Match.  

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 & renowned 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 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 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.

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.