All photos by Eva Thompson for Polo Lifestyles
St. Moritz, Switzerland – The by-line of St. Moritz is ‘Top of the World’ and sitting in the packed grandstands for the Finals, it did truly feel like there is no place better to be anywhere on the globe.
Record crowds descended upon the iconic frozen lake, set in the beautiful, sun-bathed setting of the Engadin Valley, to watch the snow polo giants do battle. The sunshine was super-hot, the champagne ice-chilled, the setting unbeatable and the polo truly world-class.
The first match of the day was the La Martina Trophy played between Badrutt’s Palace and Maserati for third and fourth place. Melissa Ganzi made history last year by being crowned as the ‘First Lady of Snow Polo’ to secure victory for her team as the first female player to do so.
This year it was another first for the Ganzis as Melissa was joined on her team by her husband Marc. The couple are the first husband and wife duo to play in a final in St. Moritz - and what a match it was. Those that had been expecting the players to merely go through the motions were proved wrong from the first throw-in as Maserati seized on the ball and scored within seconds of the starting bell; quickly capitalizing on the 2.5 goal lead they had for goal allowance.
But the impressive work rate of Nic Roldan, teamed with the amazing 8-goal skills of his teammate Alejandro Novillo Astrada, showed that Badrutt’s meant business from the get-go and were clearly not taking the Maserati attack lightly as they swiftly notched up two goals to make it anybody’s game 3.5-2 in Maserati’s favor at the end of the first chukka. As the teams fought for possession in a wonderful, almost whistle-less passage of play, an amazing goal from Roldan and one in reply from Adrian Laplacette Jr. meant it was too close to call at half-time with the scores resting at 5.5-3. There was no score in the third chukka, but this did not reflect the end-to-end display of world-class polo as the battle for third place continued.
The fourth chukka was edge of the seat stuff as Swiss National Team player Fabio Meier delighted the crowd with an amazing goal for Maserati to match that of any higher handicapped player. However, Meier’s goal seemed to ignite the afterburners of the Badrutt’s Palace team with Novillo Astrada scoring from a great setup by Melissa Ganzi, followed just 30 seconds later by him once again finding the posts. In a nail-biting cliffhanger and with just over a