Neptune win the Humphrey Guinness ten goal in the final seconds
Sunday saw Neptune come out on the top of the seven teams competing for the Humphrey Guinness Plate, in what has been a thrilling tournament from start to finish. A new addition to the 2016 fixtures list, this ten goal tournament has proved highly competitive with thrilling polo throughout and without a doubt some of the most exciting games of the season for spectators.
It was Pete Baldwin’s Shibumi team who were the last four players to stand between Creighton Boyd’s Neptune boys and the silver trophy; it was always going to be a well matched game, but there was just half a goal in it as the final hooter went, 9 – 8.5 to Neptune.
“Having the ½ goal made the game so exciting” said Neptune’s Creighton after the game, “it meant the lead could flip in seconds and it kept us all quite anxious.”
Neptune started off strong with Ollie Cudmore controlling the game a great deal from the start; he capitalised on a communication breakdown between Mark Baldwin and Tom Beim in the first few minutes to leap-frog Shibumi’s ½ goal start and put Neptune into the lead; he then quickly orchestrated another, to make it 2 – 1/2.
Beim was never going to let Neptune run away with the game though and had scored by the end of the first and converted a penalty at the beginning of the second to inch Shibumi back into the lead. Cudmore was absolutely unstoppable late in the second chukka and early in the third however, scoring back to back from line outs, picking incredible volleys from the air and scored a penalty from the half way, to give Neptune a comfortable 7 – 3 ½ lead and to eventually earn him the Most Valuable Player award.
Shibumi clearly had a solid team talk at half time though and came back with an extremely strong third chukka. They looked set to repeat the same comeback drill they had executed on Indubitable the day before in the semi-finals. With unshakeable team work and some great goals from Mark Baldwin and Shaun Brokensha, they finished the chukka 7 – 7 ½ in the lead and Neptune were certainly feeling the pressure!
Cudmore made it 8 – 7 ½ early in the last chukka though and the crowd were stuck on the edge of their seats as Tom Beim kept his cool to loft a 40 yard penalty bang on target to take the lead back for Sibumi 8 – 8 1/2. The ball went out of play a couple of times and it looked as though Neptune were going to lose to the clock as the seconds ticked down, but that man Ollie Cudmore rose again connecting with the most incredible near-side volley and put it through the posts seconds before the final hooter.
“No one deserved to lose, it was such a great game” said Boyd after the game.
It seemed impossible for the subsidiary to live up to the main final, but Apache and Noon Giraffe put on another thrilling game for the Fosseway Trophy, with Apache the eventual winners 8.5 – 7 the final score.