A brace each from Manuel Toccalino and Abdullah bin Desmal for their respective sides saw Ghantoot A and Ghantoot B play out a 3-3 draw in the National Day polo exhibition match at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club (GRPC) last weekend The match, held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was the highlight of the activities staged to celebrate the 48th UAE National Day and was contested fiercely by both sides, whose sportsmanship and competitive spirit kept spectators enthralled throughout the four chukkas of play. Ghantoot B were the first to strike and went ahead through Abdullah bin Desmal, who opened the scoring in the first chukka. Bin Desmal’s goal turned out to be the only strike of the first period.
The Emirati added a second in the second period, but at halftime the scores were locked at 2-2 after Toccalino scored both his goals to bring his side back into the game. Neither of the teams were able to score in the third chukka and a goal each from Ghantoot B’s Ali Al Marri and Ghantoot A’s Martin Donovan in the final chukka meant the match turned out to be a 3-3 draw. “Sport relies on the spirit of sportsmanship,” Bin Desmal said afterwards. “Exhibition matches like these are about fair play. Given the fact that it was the UAE’s National Day, it was important to portray good sportsmanship, which is the responsibility of every athlete.
“I think we all enjoyed the game. It’s still early in the season and most of the players are still getting into the groove. We have a long way to go and look forward to some exciting times during the rest of the season. “Congratulations to the UAE, its people and its leaders. Each one of us is proud to be Emirati and we believe that the best is yet to come in this great country.” Entertainment activities were held on the sidelines of the match, which offered spectators the chance to win exciting prizes. HE Zayed Alaboudi Al Zaabi, managing director of GRPC, thanked Sheikh Falah for his wholehearted support in promoting the sport. Al Zaabi said: “It’s our duty here at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club to join with the UAE community on such a historic day and celebrate the future, which looks brighter and brighter.
“I would like to congratulate the staff at our club for their efforts to ensure that National Day would be very special. “Equestrian sport is an important tradition of Emirati people and we at Ghantoot will continue to work hard to maintain a very high standard of organisation as we head into 2020, which is a very significant year for the country.”