On Sunday afternoon Hanalei Bay squared off against Coldwell Banker/Bali Hai Realty in the 2003 Kauai Open polo tournament at Anini Polo Field and came away with a 5-2 victory.
Sponsor Diego Lopez of Global Mortgage Group tossed in the ball to open the first chukker.
This was the beginning of a fast-paced match with Peter Ganibi and Ronnie Tongg of Bali Hai vying with Max Secunda and Stuart Mackenzie of Hanalei Bay for ball control and attempts to score.
John Elwin’s defensive play for Bali Hai saved several Hanalei Bay shots on goal from becoming scores.
It was late in the chukker when Ganibi took a knock in with a series of taps permitting time for his teammates to line up.
He than fired off a shot for Tongg, but Mackenzie intercepted and passed the ball to Secunda.
A persistent Ganibi regained control but couldn’t get past Mackenzie, and lost the ball to Tongg. While Tongg was dealing with Mackenzie, a clever Secunda swooped in, stole the ball, and hammered in the first score of the day for Hanalei Bay.
Social member Mitzi Swift bowled in the ball for the second period.
Midway in the chukker Ganibi took a knock in with a powerful forehand drive which landed near mid-field.
Although Tongg backed the ball, hard riding Ganibi came rolling through. Ganibi took the ball and drove the ball between the pylons to put Bali Hai on the scoreboard.
It was now Mackenzie’s turn to fire up.
He cleared the toss in and, in a heartbeat, rocketed the ball across the goal line. The ball was hardly cleared from the toss in by Ganibi when Mackenzie brought cheers from the spectators again.
He maneuvered through and around heavy traffic to score again for Hanalei Bay.
Lloyd Biel, a visitor from Portland, Oregon, had the thrill of tossing in the ball to start the third chukker. Excellent offensive and defensive maneuvers characterized the play.
The spectators were treated to superb displays of horsemanship, stick handling, hooking, and bumping and riding off as play surged up and down the field.
Some amazing shots left the fans breathless.
In the end the chukker was scoreless.
Both teams pulled out all the stops and threw caution to the wind in their quest for victory in the final chukker.
Terry Tousignant, former secretary of the Kauai Polo Club, tossed in the ball which was cleared by Peter Cameron.
As both teams swarmed around the ball near the end line, a safety was called against Hanalei Bay. Ganibi took the penalty shot. Unfortunately, it went over the end line wide of the goal.
Shortly after, everybody swarmed around the ball near the goal at the opposite end of the field and a foul was committed by Bali Hai. Secunda took the penalty shot to an open goal and scored.
After the bowl in, in fast and furious play, Mackenzie made a beautiful pass to Secunda who galloped down the field to score again.
When play resumed following a time-out it was Tongg who left the spectators wide-eyed as he cleared the ball, wended his way through the pack, and whizzed down the field and put up the last score for Bali Hai.
When the final horn sounded it was Hanalei Bay 5, Coldwell Banker/Bali Hai Realty 2.
The Kauai Open trophy, a beautiful large koa bowl with the emblem of the Hawaiian Kingdom and brass plaques with the names of previous winners attached to it, was presented to the winning team by Club President Ron Bonaguidi and Diego Lopez.
Teams: Coldwell Banker/Bali Hai Realty: John Elwin, Ronnie Tongg, Peter Ganibi, Peter Cameron (chukkers 3 & 4). Hanalei Bay: Krista Hawley, Max Secunda, Stuart Mackenzie, Peter Cameron (chukker 2) Scott Sims (chukkers 3 &4). Umpire: Kamalu Sheldon
Tournament Polo continues at Anini Field next Sunday at 3 p.m.
The public is welcome. Adults $10. per person; 12-18, $5. per person. Club matches are played on Fridays at 4 p.m.