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Millar catapults Sandstorm to victory over White Cap in Lord Cranworth Cup final.

Leadership was key in Sandstorm's 5-2 win over White Cap in Lord Cranworth Cup final played at the Nairobi Polo Club yesterday.

North Kenya Polo Club's handicap 3.5 Craig Millar led Sandstorm alongside young players ranked under one goal including Natasha Tisminieszky (0), Amani Nzomo (-0.5) and Silke Hampson (-1.5) to lift the trophy.

One goaler Omwakwe Arunga captained White Cap which included Nick Millar (0.5), Kaila Millar (0) and Geoffrey Kitomary (0) in the losing efforts. The grouping of White Cap seemed quite average as compared to their opponents.

Amani, 13, who was awarded the Most Valuable Player intimated that it was incredible playing with his teammates and especially Craig. He attributed the win to teamwork and the on-field leadership the three of them (Tisminieszky, Hampson and himself) got from Craig.

'We had great teamwork among ourselves and thanks to Craig's leadership we won. He was ever ready to offer guidance on the pitch and always kindly answering all our questions. I also have to thank mum and dad for preparing my ponies and for the chance to play this weekend,' said Amani.

Craig praised his upcoming teammates pointing out their horsemanship and skills on the ball.

He said: 'Amani and the girls are amazing. They give me great hope for the future of polo in Kenya. Their stick work, horsemanship and work rate was very impressive and we the senior players have to hone them to be better players,'

'I must commend Hampson for her immense contribution but Amani stood out. He took a handicap 2.5 player (Mbugua Ngugi) man-on and brought down his efficiency for White Cap,' added Craig.

As the proceedings got underway, Tisminieszky punished White Cap for not settling into the game early, giving Sandstorm the opening goal seconds into the game. This awakened their opponents who then mounted a water-tight defence to settle the first chukka 1-0. Nick levelled scores in the third minute of the second chukka but Craig helped Sandstorm to take a 2-1 lead at the break through a spot shot.

On the other side of the break, White Cap played to a goalless third chukka as Craig netted a double from the spot and the field for a 4-1 advantage. Craig scored his fourth goal in tail chukka of the game for 5-1 and Omwakwe's late goal (5-2) could not salvage much as the chicken had already come home to roost.

Samurai grabbed the OMT Bowl trophy after a tightly fought duel against Ultimate edging them 3-2.

Division 'B' (junior category) was equally very competitive and only one goal separated the two side featuring six polo beginners and two seasoned players. White Cap Lite and Four of a Kind played each other three times and Day 1 score are what separated the winners from the losers. On Friday, White Cap Lite which was captained by Raphael Nzomo narrowly edged Four of a Kind 6-5 and both outfits went on to share spoils of 4-4 on Saturday and 5-5 on Sunday for a total of 15-14.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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