Spectators line the fence to watch Cartier overcome Bank Hoffman 4-2 in a match for third and fourth place, the Mercedes AMG Cup.
Despite frigid temperatures, more than
10,000 spectators enthusiastically
toughed it out at the final matches of the
Cartier Polo World Cup on snow
in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on
January 30. The final pitted
Simon Holley’s Maybach against
John Manconi’s Siemens in a fastpaced
match. In the match,
Maybach declared its first snow
polo victory on the winning end
of a 7-6 score. Maybach was led by former
10-goaler Alejandro “Piki” Diaz Alberdi,
claiming his sixth snow polo title. Diaz
Alberdi led the scoring throughout the
three-day tournament with 13 goals.
Diaz Alberdi set the pace in the final
with five goals in the first three periods,
but his well-balanced teammates certainly
contributed to his freedom to score.
Argentine Diaz Alberdi was joined by
England’s 6-goalers Nacho Gonzalez and
Chris Hyde at back and Holley out front.
Siemens didn’t make it easy, keeping
pace the entire match with Canadian
Manconi’s teammates, Argentines 8-
goaler Juan Jose Brane, playing with
broken fingers, and 4-goaler Oscar
Mancini and Chilean 7-goaler Gabriel
Donoso scoring two goals apiece.
Maybach edged ahead in the final
chukker on goals by Gonzalez and Hyde.
Diaz Alberdi, Brane and Gonzalez were
named best players.
The Mercedes AMG Cup, a match for
third and fourth place, was played before
lunch, with Cartier outscoring Bank
Hoffman 4-2. British 1-goaler Tony
Pidgley’s Cartier team boasted 8-goal
Chilean Jaime Huidobro, 5-goaler Jack
Kidd and 4-goaler Tim Brown. BothPidgley and Brown had never played in
St. Moritz, getting their first taste of the
Maloja wind playing cat and mouse with
the ball on the frozen lake. With the
experienced Pidgley and Huidobro,
Cartier adjusted to the conditions to
overcome Bank Hoffman’s Swiss Piero
Diller, German Thomas Winter
(gamely filling in for an ill 7-goal Lucas
Labat), and Argentineans 6-goaler
Cristian Bernal and 7-goaler Ignacio
Tillous. Huidobro led the scoring with
three goals for Cartier.
On the way to the final Maybach
stopped Cartier 7-2 and Siemens
slipped past Bank Hoffman 7-6. Then
Bank Hoffman defeated Cartier 7-4 and
Siemens bested Maybach 5-4. Chosen for
the all-star team were Pidgley, Gonzalez,
Donoso and Bernal.
The lake, 5,900 feet above sea level,
freezes to 7-10 inches thick and carries
an infrastructure of more than 2,000
tons for the polo matches. Blanketed with
inches of white snow, it requires a bright
red inflatable ball, larger than the typical
Along with the exciting polo,
bobsleigh and skeleton races were also
held in the area. Additionally, many
social events were thrown, including a
dance and an official player presentation
complete with fun skits. A polo village
was set up for shopping, and the matches
were filmed by Argentine Fox Sports,
which broadcast to other South
American markets. Germany, Australia
and New Zealand also presented shows
on snow polo in St. Moritz.
|In the final, Siemens’ John Manconi successfully defends against Maybach’s Chris Hyde as the ball goes wide of the goal. Maybach slipped past Siemens 7-6 for the Cartier trophy.
|The splendid polo ground of St. Moritz as Siemens edges Maybach 5-4.
— Photos by swiss-image.ch/Guenter Schiffmann