The Australian Polo team were crowned the champions of the 10th Manipur International Polo tournament after they defeated India-B (Manipur) 9-6 in the summit clash at the historic Mapal Kangjeibung here last evening.
In a befitting grand finale of the tournament, which began on November 22 as part of Manipur Sangai Festival, held under the aegis of Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association, Australia and India B (Manipur) saw as many as 15 goals and also the home team's favourite, P Ojit's treble going in vain.
Adam Tolhurst handed Australia an early lead as he struck the opener in the 58th second of the first chukker. However, Ojit cancelled out the lead as he pulled the leveller in the 2.49' of the first chukker.
The home team then took the lead through S Bimol in the 5.36' of the first chukker.
The Australia team put up a spirited fight in the second chukker, with Beam Bundell equalising the score in the 40th second of the same chukker.
The home team took another lead through Ojit (3.20') in the second chukker only to be cancelled out by Adam Tolhurst in the 5th minute.
The home team could not exhibit their buoyancy and failed to maintain the pace they set in the first two chukker as they conceded four goals to the indomitable Australia in the third chukker.
Beam Bundell once again pulled back for his side in the 27th second while Jock Mackay grabbed a hat-trick (3.11', 3.43' and 6.30') in the third chukker to boost the morale of the Australian team. India-B failed to produce any score in the same chukker.
Jock Mackay asserted his class and struck another in the 16th second of the fourth chukker to make it 8-3. The home team pushed hard to equalise the score. T Pradip, M Jawan and Ojit took turn to hammer in a goal each in the 52nd second, 1.6' and 6.8' only to reduce the margin.
Adam Tolhurst added another goal to the Australia's account in the 6.20' of the fourth chukker.
The thrilling final was attended by Governor of Manipur Dr Najma Heptulla, Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Th Lokeshwar besides Social Welfare Minister Ak Mirabai and Vice Chancellor of Central Agriculture University, Imphal Dr M Premjit Singh.
Earlier in the day, USA beat England by a narrow margin of seven goals to six in the third place play off.
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