| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI Darussalam polo team recorded their second successive win in the His Majesty Sultan of Brunei’s 72nd Birthday Polo Tournament after defeating Malaysia 8–4.5 at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club in Jerudong yesterday.
His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen and Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah inspired the team with goals while Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Bahar was in his usual high standards during the win.
Brunei’s Gaston Urturi produced another master-class and played a key role in the win, keeping up with his stellar performance against Pakistan.
The experienced polo player produced a moment of magic as his artistry with the ball was accompanied with quick movement before completing the move with a tidy finish.
The visitors had earlier gotten back into the game before the end of the first chukka through Saladin Mazlan as they heightened their hopes of upsetting the Gaston show.
Gaston strode as if a man on a mission to roll the ball home before displaying another side of his game where he effortlessly sliced a sublime pass for His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen who tapped it into goal.
Malaysia needed a break and a 60-yard penalty was an opportunity but nothing came out of it as Brunei started from the back.
The match was filled with quality in shot-making as Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah knocked a one shot drive after a Malaysian player missed a backhand.
With Malaysia missing a chance to get closer to their opponents, Gaston made a long drive and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen launched to guide the ball home.
Malaysia pulled one back through Saladin within the final moments of the third chukka.
Gaston’s individual brilliance typified an artist at work especially in one instance when he appeared to recover a ball from going past the touchline after clearing the ball into another direction.
With the ball travelling at pace and his horse catching up with all its firepower, the brilliant Gaston hits a spell-binding pass for His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen who tried to make an angle for a clear shot.
After Malaysia took care of the threat, Gaston made up some distance to collect the ball but unfortunately his shot ended wide.
Brunei had already caused substantial damage but Malaysia finished the game on a high with three goals.
Dato Mohamed Moiz was given the honours to convert a penalty before Saladin rushed forward to roll the ball home after receiving the deftest of contacts with the ball by Dato Zekri.
It was formality on how the fourth chukka panned out for either side and Dato Mohamed squeezed in Malaysia’s final goal of the game despite running into traffic.
Meanwhile, Singapore matched Brunei’s record in this tournament after a 7-3 win over Philippines.
The competition continues today with both Pakistan and the Philippines looking for their first win of the tournament when they play against each other.