UK Sporting Fortunes back on track
UK Sporting Fortunes back on track as both England and Chivas Scotland make it an ‘Auld Enemy Final’ at “The 2008 World Elephant Polo Championships” at Tiger Tops, Nepal.
Duke of Argyll salutes his brave Scottish team, and pays tribute to England
Tiger Tops Nepal wins CHIVAS Quaich in thriller vs. New York Blues.
Press Release - For immediate release
[Tiger Tops, Nepal - 7 December 2008] A team from England has won the World Elephant Polo Championships at the Famous Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Nepal.
The English ‘Air Tusker’ team, captained by Robert McKenzie, raised the Tiger Tops World Cup Trophy after defeating Chivas Scotland in an epic Auld Enemy encounter.
In a hard fought final, the world renowned Chivas team began with a 4 goal deficit on handicap. During a fascinating encounter, England employed a stalwart defensive strategy, encouraging the Scots to attack at will – which the Chivas team duly set about doing by launching one relentless wave after another throughout an intriguing first half.
However, as hard as the Chivas Scotland triple world champions drove forward, they appeared jinxed not to score - missing the goal by a whisker on over 6 occasions as their hit man Peter Prentice latched on to a plethora of well struck through balls from Raj Kalaan & the Duke of Argyll in midfield.
The second half witnessed more of the same, as England’s dogged defense continued to suppress the increasingly frustrated Scots.
The Air Tuskers then nailed the match with a late break-away goal scored by rookie David Assad of Equestrio magazine.
It was a defensive display by the English to match any of the finest sporting rearguard actions over the years - and the sort of inspiration that Martin Johnson would so love to see emulated by his young England rugby team.
England shine after slow start
The England team started slowly, losing to Tia Rongsen’s Indian Tigers 2-3 in their initial match, before adjusting their tactics to beat Tiger Tops Nepal and the Pukka Chukkas to secure a semi-final birth against the hot favourites National Parks Nepal.
It was at this stage that they masterminded one of the most successful defensive strategies ever deployed in the history of the sport, with Mackenzie and Assad linking well with the impressive Niven Mahato to oust National Parks Nepal by 6-4.
Following the defeat of Chivas Scotland, Robert Mackenzie, the winning captain could not conceal his euphoric joy at delivering one of the most unexpected victories in recent sporting history and promptly drowned a large dram of Chivas in appreciation of his adversary’s Scottish spirit.
Chivas Scotland confirmed as 'Sporting Heavyweights' as they continue to top the WEPA world rankings .
The Chivas Regal Scotland team had previously won the Tiger Tops World Cup in 2001, 2004, & 2005 but they have now fallen at the final hurdle at the last 3 WEPA Majors, losing out to Chopard Hong Kong at last year’s Tiger Tops World Cup in Dec 2007, and then just falling short to Mercedes Germany at the King’s Cup in March 2008.
Inveraray based Chivas Scotland Captain, The 13th Duke of Argyll, commented, "Albeit we are disappointed to once again be at the wrong end of a final, we remain hugely proud of our historic success in this incredibly demanding sport. We are also delighted to have successfully reconfirmed our status as No’1 in the official WEPA World rankings thanks to making it to the finals – no mean feat in itself!” ….”IndeedThere are not may sports in which Scotland enjoys global leadership and with our recent record, no one can deny that Scotland is now one of the world's true sporting heavyweights”.
The Chivas team, player-managed by Elephant Polo veteran Peter Prentice, started the tournament slowly – losing a couple of early qualifiers to Nepal and The British Ghurkas before finally coming good and winning a penalty shoot our against the USA & Ghurkas to make the semis. A nail-biting match ensued against Australia with Chivas Scotland eventually beating the Wallabies by 6-5 with a last gasp winning goal being scored by Prentice with just 4 seconds left on the clock.
Kristjan Edwards leads Tiger Tops Tuskers to last gasp victory in The Chivas Olympic Quaich.
In addition to the Tiger Tops Trophy, the Chivas Olympic Quaich was competed for by Tiger Tops, New York Blues, Indian Tigers and the British Ghurkas. Tiger Tops Nepal beat the Ghurkas in the semis, as NY Blue also got the better of the Indian Tigers.
Then, in an absolute thriller of an Olympic Final, Tiger Tops pipped NY Blue to the post by the skin of their teeth.
The eminently colourful & competitive New Yorkers were just 2 seconds away from clinching the silverware, but were agonizingly foiled by a last gasp equalizer from top tournament scorer Kristjan Edwards.
Tiger Tops then went on to win the Chivas sponsored Olympic Final by 6-5 in sudden death golden goal time.
Oscar Award & Best Dressed Award go to the USA
The USA did not go home empty handed as New York Blue was popularly awarded the coveted ‘Best Dressed Team Award’ – thanks to the quality of their clothing sponsors which including Levi’s and a panoply of other famous clothing brands.
Ricky Smith from Wisconsin made history by being the first ever American to win much exalted ‘Dominic Moynahan Oscar Award for the best off-field performance’. He remained a beacon of charm & flair throughout the tournament.
FINAL SCORES & POSITIONS
Tiger Tops World Cup Finals
SF1: England 6 v Nepal National Parks 4
SF2: Chivas Scotland 6 v Australia Pukka Chukkas 5
Final: England 6 v Chivas Scotland 1
Bronze Play-Off: Nepal National Parks beat Pukka Chukkas
Chivas Olympic Quaiche Finals
SF1: Tiger Tops Tuskers Nepal 16 v British Ghurkas 6
SF2: New York Blues 6 v Indian Tigers 1
Final: Tiger Tops Tuskers Nepal 6 v New York Blue USA 5 (aet golden goal)
Bronze Play-Off: Indian Tigers beat British Ghurkas.
Running from the 30th November to the 6th December 2008, The World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) Championships is the ultimate sporting tournament. In its 27th year, it attracted teams from all over the world including host nation Nepal, USA, India, Australia, England, Scotland, and the UK. Registered as an Olympic sport with the Nepal Olympic Committee, it is not clear if it will be included in the London 2012 Olympics as yet.
As in previous years, through generous donations from the players and several charity events during the tournament, WEPA raised much-needed funds for the local Meghauly Clinic and the Tiger Tops Swiss Air funded local pre-school.
- Elephant polo was invented by a Scotsman, James Manclark, and Brit Jim Edwards in 1982 and ever since the World Championships have been staged by Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in the glorious setting of the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal, famous for its population of Royal Bengal Tigers and other wildlife.
- Tiger Tops is a famous safari retreat favoured by celebrities and luxury travellers alike, recent visitors have included Cameron Diaz, Orlando Bloom & Hillary Clinton.
- Chivas Regal is the world's most prestigious Premium Scotch whisky. Chivas Regal is enjoyed all around the world, meaning every second someone, somewhere buys a bottle. Chivas Regal has recently launched its striking new ‘Live with Chivalry’ advertising campaign, developed by Euro RSG.
- Full Scores are available on www.elephantpolo.com.
- Broadcast packages are available from HUTC Ltd - +44 (0) 1825-713773/
THE 2008 WORLD ELEPHANT POLO
TIGER TOPS, NEPAL
- The World Elephant Polo Association was founded 27 years ago by Brits James Manclark and Jim Edwards in Nepal.
- It has now become a World Series of world class events embodying superb skill and daring, undertaken in a spirit of fun and goodwill, and at the same time contributing to the welfare of the elephants.
- Tournaments are held in Thailand and Nepal each year.
- Under the auspices of the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA), the format is similar to horse polo and uses the same ball and longer sticks.
- In Nepal, four elephant teams compete over two 10-minute chukkas on a pitch one-third the size of a horse polo pitch, about the size of a football pitch. Elephants are controlled by ‘mahouts’ or drivers whilst the players concentrate on wielding extra long polo sticks.
- Professional polo players are handicapped in the same way as horse polo whilst seasoned elephant polo players also carry a one goal handicap.
- Other rules include:
- Elephants are swapped at half time to even out any advantage.
- No elephants may lie down in front of the goal mouth.
- An elephant may not pick up the ball with its trunk during play.
- Stepping on the ball is forbidden.