| Fadhil Yunus |
HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam led the royal support as Brunei 1 clinched the Golden Jubilee Polo Cup at the Golden Jubilee Polo Tournament yesterday, held in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne.
Brunei 1 emerged victorious after a 9-5 victory saw them survived a highly-spirited challenge by their fellow compatriots Brunei 2 in an all-Brunei classic at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club yesterday.
Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; as well as other members of the royal family.
Brunei 1, spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen and Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah, demonstrated their prowess after taking a firm control of the clash with a 4-0 lead inspired by the outstanding form of Lucas Fernandez.
The polo ace continued his fine performance in the Selangor win by converting the first goal of the chukka before adding the second and third strikes to establish a commanding 3-0 lead.
Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah benefited from a fine delivery from her team-mate to extend her side even further in the final minute of the first chukka.
The second chukka saw Brunei 2, which featured Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Qawi and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Bahar in the ranks, slowly finding their feet in the encounter and made promising moves to suggest that there was a route back in the tie. After asking questions on the Brunei 1 defence, they were finally rewarded in the third and fourth minute as Pablo Casares puts his side back in the game with two goals.
However, Brunei 1 restored their three-goal cushion through a fine solo performance from Lucas right before the end of play in the second chukka after making a short hit of the ball and swiping a shot towards Brunei 2’s goal enough to put them further ahead.
It was Huzaimi Mahari’s turn to terrorise the Brunei 2 vanguard after confusing Pablo and consequently making a good shot to lob the ball towards goal for Brunei 1’s sixth of the game in the third minute of the third chukka.
Despite Brunei 1 setting the tone, their fellow compatriots Brunei 2 mounted a strong fightback after winning a penalty a minute later which was coolly dispatched by Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Bahar.
Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Bahar, who played an instrumental role in the national polo team’s win over Singapore to clinch bronze in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur last August, pulled another goal back to cut the lead to within two points.
A comeback was on the cards after Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Qawi made a great lob shot to help Brunei 2 within one goal of Brunei 1 at the start of the final chukka.
However, Lucas made an immediate response barely a minute later to help Brunei 1 take a 7-5 lead before His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen fully seized a golden opportunity to guide the ball home.
His Royal Highness got his second of the game to close the match with a 9-5 win which confirmed Brunei 1 as the winners with Brunei 2 having to settle with a runners-up finish.
Both teams earned a spot in the grand final after picking up a victory and two draws each with identical goal differential of positive three.
Meanwhile, Selangor emerged winners of the 40th Anniversary Trophy after edging Philippines 6-5 in the morning match.