The 2008 Senior Cup - Simply The Best
The 2008 Senior Cup saw St. Anns supremely victorious over Kingston in an exciting final match.
By Karen Kranenburg. Photos by Roger Turner.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word senior as elder; older or higher in standing; The Senior Cup, is an interclub tournament, which was first presented in 1907 after the All Jamaica Polo Association was formed. It is played for on an open basis (i.e. no handicap) by the best team that each Club has to offer and is usually the most competitive match on the polo schedule – this year was no exception.
This year’s event was combined with a Family Fun day and a Jamaica Cancer Society Fundraiser. The afternoon started out with entertainment and pony rides for the kids with an exciting Show Jumping exhibition by Justin and Jonathan Vaz, Nicado Barrett and Windell Love. The Jamaica Cancer Society had a nurse on hand to discuss cancer and related issues, there was a silent auction to raise funds and spectators were offered spot prizes with products donated by Glenn’s Restaurant, Red Lane Spa, Super Clubs, CBC Computer Business Solutions, Hooves, Mrs. Jarreth Rose-Smith, Mrs. Peggy Scott, Tui Netherlands, Latin American Exporters, Chukker Cove, Toby’s Resorts, Wrap Your World, Coco Joes and Lucky Charm. There was a large turn out from the local community and the Jamaica Cancer Society – St. Ann & St. Mary Branch and the St. Ann Polo Club really appreciated their support.
The defending champions, St. Ann lined up with John G Byles, Kurt Chin, Andy Vernon and Shane Chin, while Kingston was ably represented by Mitta Rousseau, Paul Lalor, Jason Wates and Jorge Donovan. Byles opened the scoring with a lovely pass from Vernon but Wates quickly countered for Kingston. Vernon then converted a 60 yard penalty and Shane Chin followed up his team mates with a huge cut shot from the sidelines to put St. Ann ahead by 3 goals to 1 by the end of the 1st chukker. In the 2nd chukker Vernon converted a safety early on which was followed by a spectacular goal by Kurt Chin having dribbled the ball from the middle of the field out to the sidelines to finish with an amazing under-the-neck shot which traversed most of the field through the uprights to score, a goal that had the supporters of both teams on their feet. Lalor and Rousseau both worked hard to put through a couple for Kingston but Byles increased St.Ann’s lead towards the end of this chukker. Kurt Chin scored again twice early in the 3rd chukker but Kingston pulled back with another solid goal by Rousseau and a 60 yard penalty conversion by Donovan to end the 1st half with St. Ann up by 8 goals to 5. The 4th chukker was a fairly even battle but Shane Chin came off his pony when it tripped and was knocked out briefly. He was taken off the field and replaced by Craig Russell, at this point both teams traded 60 yard penalty conversions by Donovan and Vernon. St. Ann lost some of its momentum in the 5th chukker while Russell settled into the game and Donovan converted 2 more penalties for Kingston while Byles knocked one in for St. Ann. The last chukker was fast and furious as the ball never seemed to leave Kurt Chin’s mallet. He and Russell scored for St. Ann to go up by 4 goals but Donovan pulled one back for Kingston in the latter part of the chukker for St. Ann to take home the Senior Cup by 12 goals to 9. Shane Chin lingered long enough to have his picture taken with the team before being sent off to MoBay Hope where he was kept overnight to observe a slight concussion.
The Gate Prize of a weekend for 2 at any Couples Resort was then drawn for by the Hon. Radcliffe Walters, Custos of St. Ann and was won by Mary Barrett. This was followed by a special presentation to young Jason Wates of the 2007 USPA’s Dr. Billy Linfoot award for the Most Improved Club Player – based on ability, horsemanship and sportsmanship. To round off the prize giving, The Hon. Dennis Lalor, President of the Jamaica Polo Association awarded the St. Ann Polo Club team with the beautiful Senior Cup and their commemorative plaques. Kurt Chin was awarded the Most Valuable Player plaque and his horse ìAllegroî was adjudged Best Playing Pony. The sizeable crowd then moved on to the bar and tucked in to the Chin’s delicious Chinese dinner