“Lihue Louie” Nalda would have been pleased with the performance turned in Sunday at Anini Polo Field by the Kauai Polo team as they posted a 5-2 victory over Hanalei Bay.
Louie was a rough riding, bronc busting, polo playing cowboy who delighted polo fans on Kauai. One of the outstanding features of this match was the performance of Lloyd Ryder, the South African who has joined the Kauai Polo Club for the month of August, with his similar expert horsemanship and audacious play.
Judy Walker Nalda (Louie Nalda’s widow) bowled in the first ball which was instantly cleared by Ronnie Tongg and the fast action of the chukker began. Max Secunda took a knock in with a short shot followed by a dynamite drive that went to mid-field. Ryder picked it up and headed for the goal line, but an aggressive Mark Bryan engaged him in a hard bumping ride dueling for possession. In the struggle both went over the ball. First Tongg, then Secunda controlled the ball. Secunda fired off a skyrocket shot which was backed by Bryan when it landed.
Secunda snookered the ball away from Bryan, worked it past John Elwin, and thought the coast was clear. But Tongg swept in and with superb stick work moved through close quarters to score for Kauai.
Later in the period, in a race between Secunda and Tongg down the field charging and bumping. Tongg came away with the ball moved it to Elwin, who picked it up and tacked one up for Kauai.
The ferocity of play carried over into the second period. Quickly Kauai drew a penalty. Secunda took the penalty shot from 60 yards to a defended goal.
Moments later, Elwin fired a hard shot to Tongg who then squeezed through heavy traffic and galloped down the field with unbelievable horse control and stick work as the opposition surrounded him. He tallied another score for Kauai.
This only tended to ignite the speed of play. Ryder cleared the bowl in and was challenged immediately by Bonaguidi. As the two battled for control Bryan managed to steal the ball almost in front of the goal mouth. A fast acting Secunda saved the day with a shot to Ryder. This time it appeared that Ryder was going to make it. With both teams bunched at the goal line he took off down the entire field which he had to himself. The spectators were cheering him on, but too much enthusiasm foiled his attempt to score and the ball went over the end line.
Moments following the knock in, Bryan backed, then he and Elwin displayed some tantalizing teamwork as they set up a nice opportunity for Tongg, who had raced down the field with the opposition right on his heels to score for Kauai.
Hanalei Bay would finally score minutes later.
The toss in was cleared by Ryder who got out in front of the pack. A bad bounce landed the ball beside Tongg’s mallet. He sent the ball to Elwin, but in a flash Secunda took over and with brilliant tactics treated the crowd to an eye popping goal that finally put Hanalei Bay on the scoreboard.
The effects of the whirlwind play began to show in the third period as play slowed down.
Early on as both teams bunched near the end line, Secunda came away with the ball. Peter Cameron stole the ball and sent it over his own backline for a safety. Bryan took the penalty shot from 60 yards to a defended goal, but Ryder foiled the attempt and backed the shot. The chukker was split to permit some players to change horses.
Activity picked up in the final chukker as Hanalei attempted to close the deficit. Ryder and Tongg entertained fans with some exciting cat and mouse play. In a flurry of play not far from the goal line, Bryan exhibited smooth stick work and deftly hit the ball between the pylons.
After both teams moved up and down the field, a determined Secunda threaded his way through the opposition to make the final score of the day.
When the horn sounded it was Kauai 5, Hanalei Bay 2
Judy Nalda presented members of the winning team with beautiful ginger leis and koa bowls with a plaque inscribed with the event and date.