Lahore : Diamond Paints clinched the Master Paints Jinnah Gold Cup after defeating DS Polo/ASC 8-7 in the thrilling final played here at the Jinnah Polo and Country Club (JP&CC) ground on Sunday.
Raul Laplacette emerged as hero of the final as the foreign player fired in fabulous five goals for the winning team while the remaining contribution came from Saqib Khan Khakwani, Ramiro Zaveletta and Mir Huzaifa Ahmed – all converted one goal each. DS Polo/ASC also matched fire-with-fire till the end, but couldn’t finish the final well and lost it 7-8. Hissam Ali Hyder and Maxwell Charlton slammed in a hat-trick each for the losing side while Lt Col Omer Minhas scored one goal.
DS Polo/ASC were off to a superb start as they thrashed in two back-to-back goals to earn a 2-0 lead. In the dying moments of the first chukker, Diamond Paints also opened their account by converting a penalty to rescue the margin to 2-1. Diamond Paints played better polo in the second chukker by banging in a brace to have 3-2 lead but DS Polo struck a field goal to level the score at 3-all. DS Polo/ASC played well in the third chukker and hammered a hat-trick of goals against a brace by Diamond Paints to take a slight 6-5 lead.
DS Polo/ASC continued their good show in the fourth and last chukker and converted one more to stretch their lead to 7-5. But at this crucial time, Diamond Paints made a tremendous comeback and thrashed in three back-to-back goals to win the final by 8-7.
In the subsidiary final, Master Paints beat Remounts 9-8.
Matias Vial Parez was top scorer from Master Paints with a classic contribution of fantastic five goals while Mariano Raigal banged in a brace and Sufi Muhammad Haroon and Ahmed Ali Tiwana struck one goal each. For Remounts, Ignacio Negri fired in superb four goals while LD Imran Shahid thrashed in a brace and Vieri Antinori and Bilal Haye one goal apiece.
President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi graced the finals as chief guest and distributed prizes and shields among the winners and top performers. The best polo pony award was claimed by Daniyal Sheikh’s pony while Syed Turab Rizvi emerged as best player of 0-2 goal category, Raja Mikail Sami best player in 2-4 goal category, Marcos Panelo in 4 goal category, Mir Huzaifa Ahmed best in patron category while man of the final award went to Raul Laplacette of Diamond Paints.
Speaking on the occasion, President Dr Arif Alvi said: “Polo is a great game, being played by kings and knights since long. I still remember the Effendi brothers, who earned great name in this particular game. Polo is gaining popularity in Pakistan and under the patronage of Pakistan Army, polo has been flourishing further with each passing day.”