Under sunny skies, light trade winds blowing, and Anini Polo Field sparkling emerald green following drenching rains, the 2003 season of the Kauai Polo Club opened at Anini Field this past Sunday with Hanalei Bay scoring an exciting 6-4 victory over Midhurst in a four chukker match.
Edith, a visitor from Wisconsin, was chosen from the grandstand to bowl in the first ball.
Peter Ganibi cleared the toss in, after which the ball was passed among Max Secunda, Stuart Mackenzie, Ronnie Tongg and himself. Both teams played cautiously, sizing up opponents as well as field conditions.
As Secunda and Mackenzie began to open up play and players bunched around the goal mouth, umpire Kamalu Sheldon called a foul.
Ganibi took the penalty shot from the site of the infraction and put the first score of the season on the board for Hanalei Bay.
Later in the chukker, Secunda, who plays precision polo, took over and fired a huge offside forehand drive picked up by Tongg. Mackenzie managed to get the ball and send it to Ganibi. Displaying excellent stick work, he maneuvered and shot the ball between the pylons to put Hanalei Bay up 2-0.
Secunda cleared the toss beginning the second period.
Ron Bonaguidi finally took control and headed for goal only to lose the ball to Mackenzie.
He and Tongg entertained the fans with some serious bumping and riding off as they challenged for ball control only to lose the ball to Ganibi.
From out of nowhere Peter Cameron swept in and fired off a shot that sailed over the goal line to put Midhurst on the scoreboard.
Mackenzie cleared the bowl in with a shot to Bonaguidi, who, in a breathtaking play, raced down the field ahead of the pack to score.
The third chukker belonged to Mackenzie. However, it was hardly under way when Cameron scored again for Midhurst.
Play moved rapidly up and down the field as Tongg and Bonaguidi jostled for ball control and traded shots galloping down the field. Cameron picked up but sent the ball over the end line.
After Bonaguidi took the knock in, Mackenzie went into overdrive and stole the show.
He brought the spectators to their feet cheering when he scored three goals in rapid succession.
Secunda cleared the toss in to start the final chukker with a short drive followed by a missile shot which was smartly backed by Mackenzie. Ganibi managed to take control, but his efforts were foiled by Mackenzie who then lost the ball to Tongg.
As the match surged up and down the field, in a shell shock play Secunda scored for Midhurst. Shortly before the final horn, the incomparable Tongg sent the ball sailing over the goal line.
When the final horn sounded it was Hanalei Bay 6, Midhurst 4.
Teams: Hanalei Bay: Ron Bonaguidi, Scott Sims, Peter Ganibi, Stuart Mackenzie, John Elwin. Midhurst: Krista Hawley, Ronnie Tongg, Max Secunda, Peter Cameron. Umpire: Kamalu Sheldon.
Tournament Polo continues at Anini Field on Sunday at 3 p.m.
The public is welcome.
Adults $10 per person; 12-18 is $5 per person. Club matches are played on Fridays at 4 p.m.