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Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The long-awaited Newport Cup did not disappoint on the sparkling June afternoon with mid-70° mild breeses, a flawless manicured lawn stretched out to the horizon, and the venue enthusiastically populated by a socially distanced audience of spectators of all ages soaking it all in, from their lawn chairs, blankets and fieldside Pavilion tables. Competitors for the day represented an age-old struggle between young and old, veteran against the engenue, Masters vs. Hotshots!
Playing for the Masters in Newport's traditional red jerseys were Roger Souto at #1, Christine Bowden and alternate Dan Kinsella at #2, Dan Keating at #3 and Sam Clemens at #4. In white uni's, the Hotshots fielded Hannah Stowe at #1, Luke Merrick at #2, Minnie Keating at #3 and Mia Purdom at #4. Mounted Officials were Patrick Quigley and Sam Shore.
Assisting with the Official Coin Toss following introductions and the US National anthem, was special guest Dave Schultz of Schultz Marketing Partnerships, earning the Masters their choice of direction to lead off the game. The Hotshots broke out on the attack early on, with Stowe and Merrick scoring from the field, jumping to an early lead until D. Keating put the Masters on the board trailing 2-1. In the second chukker, the Masters schooled their proteges with goals by Souto and Clemens to take the lead, until Merrick tied it up but Clemens' goal reasserted the Masters' upper hand, 4-3. M. Keating closed the gap at the start of the 3rd period with a goal, but Clemens and Souto each scored to keep the Masters securely in the lead at the half, 6-4.
Drinks were refreshed and pillows were fluffed while music and colorful commentary entertained the audience during the halftime intermission. The teams resumed play with the Hotshots chasing down an opportunity to make a come back, with Stowe finishing the team's drive to goal, but D. Keating led a successful run, ending in a goal to maintain a 7-5 lead. The 5th chukker proved the decisive period of play, with a Penalty 1 giving the Hotshots the first in a 3-point gain, that included back to back goals by M. Keating to reclaim the lead over the Masters, until Clemens scored to restore the old order, ending the period tied 8-8. Both teams were at battle stations for the final 7.5 minutes of play, with neither side likely to roll over, which began with Merrick delivering back to back goals to keep things interesting for the Masters, but D. Keating and Clemens each tallied a goal, maintaining the tied status in the dwindling minutes of play, until a fatal Penalty by the Masters was converted by M. Keating, that held up against a final run at goal, running out the clock and earning the Hotshots a sweet victory and the Masters a sticky champagne shower.
The match concluded with the Newport Fan Salute around the perimeter, followed by the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Toast & Trophy Presentation on the Jumbotron, awarding prizes to the victors and the venerable Newport Cup silver trophy.
Dating back to 1876, the polo matches are one of Newport’s grandest & most popular traditions, a living legacy from the Gilded Age, and open to the public. Spectator audiences enjoy the contests and festive atmosphere at the picturesque polo grounds, on the 140-year old, restored acreage of historic Glen Farm, where the home team - Newport/USA - meets challengers each season from around the world and as well as teams representing major US cities.
The Polo Series is scheduled to continue for the next 15 weeks, every Saturday in June through September. The schedule of teams is subject to change, as per State mandates in effect at the time, on international travel and Adult Sports.
Newport Polo's unique spectator experience involves Tailgating in a system of assigned seating at its exhibition venue that it developed several years ago on its proprietary website & box office, which provides online reservations for parking spaces around the polo field from which to observe the polo match. Those parking spaces are now separated by safe social distancing to a limited capacity which is a modest subset of its regular audience, to comply with COVID-19 safety measures that have been approved by the State of Rhode Island. The venue also has an outdoor seating Pavilion that has been revised to comply with the State’s guidelines for outdoor wait service.
Tickets are available online only at nptpolo.com for reserved Pavilion tables, and reserved Tailgates and Chalets (tailgates with a chalet tent), and accompanying adult Lawn Admission. Unassigned Lawn tickets are currently unavailable. Tickets will not be sold at the entry gates to the Polo Grounds.
Additional details and COVID-19 safety measures in effect can be found on the description page of each event at nptpolo.com including self-screening, wearing masks, maintaining 6’ social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing in restrooms. Policies will be updated as the State of Rhode Island releases new regulations.
The polo grounds are located at Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth RI. Stay current with the 2020 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.
The Newport International Polo Series is proud to present its 2020 sponsors including Gallo|Thomas Insurance, Davitt, Boston Common, Hotel Viking, The Chanler, The Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina, Vanderbilt International Properties, Veuve Clicquot, Clarke Cooke House, Stella Artois, ROCKSTAR Limo, Atria Senior Living, Goslings, McGrath Clambakes and Catering, and promotional partners including The Cocktail Guru, Newport Jaguar Tours, Newport Helicopter Tours, America's Cup Charters, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Mansions, Island Surf and Sport, Newport Sport Fishing Charters, Providence River Boat Company, and Newport Harbor Guide. Special thanks to Schultz Marketing Partnerships, WCRI Classical Rhode Island. “Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.
Polo, Since 600 b.c.
Polo is, without doubt the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th century b.c. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. By the time Polo arrived on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport was nearly 2500 years steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport's summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America's first polo club in 1876. A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.