Polo players stage first-rate match at Conyers Farm in Greenwich

Kris Kampsen, middle, fights to get the ball from the Caballeros player during last weekend’s polo match.  — John Ferris Robben photo

Kris Kampsen, middle, fights to get the ball from the Caballeros player during last weekend’s polo match. — John Ferris Robben photo

This past Sunday, a handful of top international high-goal polo players took center stage up at Conyers Farm on North Street and did anything but disappoint, wowing the 900-plus crowd who were on hand to observe the renowned ‘sport of kings’ live and in person.

This high-powered match was a nail-biter from start to finish and in the end, it was the aggressive Caballeros who victoriously edged out their opponents, Melody Capital, 12-10, in a close finish.

Right from the first through the final (sixth) chukker, all of the players exhibited visible adrenaline, power and quickness, particularly the venerable Argentine six-goaler, Naco Taverna, who scored most of Caballeros’ points on this afternoon.

“I love this sport and it felt great to be out there,” said Taverna, 38, who had been named the most valuable player of the match. “I just got out there and tried to do my job. It’s all about playing well.”

No doubt, Taverna, who has been contracted up at Conyers Farm for more than 10 years, accomplished his task as he carried the ball for much of the match, which kicked off 45 minutes early prior to the original 3 p.m. start time due to a looming rainstorm that occurred not long following the conclusion of the match.

Melody Capital, meanwhile, put up an excellent fight against their opponents due to the strong offensive play by Kris Kampsen, the Wellington, Florida-based six-goaler known for his excellent power, precision and technique and has, over the past few years, come to be regarded as one of the sport’s serious rising stars.

Afternoon features polo benefit luncheon

In addition to the match, Virginia’s House of Hope, a Manhattan-based foundation committed to helping children and families at risk in the tri-state New York metropolitan area, hosted a polo benefit luncheon that featured wine tasting, an exotic car display, a jazz band and silent auction.

This benefit drew more than 150 who were on hand to help support the Tugboat Program, an educational forum designed to help encourage younger members of the aforementioned group pursue a possible maritime career.

“It was a great event,” said Elizabeth Siguenza of the Harvest Wine Bar on Greenwich Avenue, who was helping assist the luncheon. “This is my first polo match and I would definitely come back, especially to do another charity event. It is terrific to get involved in the community in this way.”

An extraordinary venue with a crowd to match

No doubt, attending a match or benefit up at Conyers Farm is an experience unto itself, as this venue has come to represent more than just a picturesque backdrop for high-goal polo, but has also evolved into a place that seems to reflect the superior values and standards of this town.

Nick Manifold, an Australian five-goaler for the Caballeros who has helped manage the Greenwich Polo organization since 1992, cited the staggering beauty of Conyers Farm as well the terrific enthusiasm of its crowds.

“This is an incredible place with a dedicated following of people,” said Manifold, who, for more than two decades, has played a key role in helping to assist Peter Brant, the renowned Greenwich-based media mogul and White Birch team founder, patron and player, transform Conyers Farm into a premier domestic and international high-goal polo destination. (Last May, HRH Prince Harry played a charity match here that had caused a virtual worldwide media frenzy.) “There are very few clubs like this in the country; it is exceptional.”

Describing Mr. Brant as a ‘great person to work for’ and someone who is ‘all about the horses and the game,’ Manifold said much of the success of the Greenwich Polo Club is due to the commitment of Brant, who is its co-founder, as well of the various fellow team patrons, players, sponsors, officials, organizations, attendees and volunteers, among many others.

“I think the people here seem to be extremely committed to what they do,” said Manifold.

Captain Mark Kordick of the Greenwich Police Force, who was up at the match providing security detail, agreed that the Greenwich Polo Club is extraordinary.

“It’s not like you can show up at a lot of places and watch polo on a weekend,” said Kordick, a longtime member of the Greenwich Police Department. “It’s incredible to consider that a manicured physical space can manufacture something like this.”

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