60+ teams from around UK (many new ones), Europe and US (East Van, Chicago's Machine Polotics and Seattle's Frown aka 2 part Smile), got involved to win the best trophy and prize bag I've ever seen in polo.
The tourney on day 1 followed the Swiss rounds system...a format that was new for most of us. It worked well apart from the software not having a default to prevent re-fixtures...eg we had to play Machine Polotics twice on day 1...making that a total of 3 times in a week...tough situ to play the 2nd best team in the world that many times. But at least we got a win against them and a new transatlantic rivalry relationship. Then on day 2 it went to a top 32 double elim, until the final which was just 1 game...a new experiment, which on this occasion the winners were from the loser bracket. Making the result kinda controversial esp from the US supporters corner...who wanted a double elim final. But overall the format worked good - big pat on the back to Gabes of Rotten Apples for taking care of that. Also, to note...the reffing and goals were of a good standard too.
The level of play from the top teams was awesome and to see so many great players on our home courts was a treat which will be hard to match.
Teams that were on fire and got some great results were...
London's Elks and Cogs (esp Emmet, who has really stepped up his game this summer - our little cosmic bro) which was awesome to see, because both teams are unfortunately breaking up now due to other commitments outside of polo.
Apples got a win over BAD on day 1, only for BAD to then get a win back on day 2.
East Van were strong with their heavy yet polo skilled man Rory leading their team into day 2 unbeaten and continuing to power through till meeting Polosynthesis, who beat them to put them out of the tourney...2nd time in a week that has happened...as they ended East Van's hopes in the Worlds too. Will that start a North American vs Euro team grudge?
L'Equipe 'we are the robots' was in the mix at the top as usual. Manu was firing in the goals in his normal marks man style, but for me, it was Mario who stood out the most on L'Equipe. He was playing his keeper roll well but this weekend came out field a lot more to help assist as well as get on the score board at several key times. Since seeing him out on the court more I've really got to like his style...he's still fixed but I hear he might go freewheel on his new build. L'Equipe finished 4th as their tourney was ended by the top performing Euro team of the weekend...Polosynthesis.
The 2 outfield boys David and Mo were awesome all weekend. Their passing flow and shooting power is sweet to watch and devastating to play against - they had us good in our first game on day 2! And with Anna holding the goal tight, they really are a team who is getting better and better results with a 2 out, 1 perm in formation. Their losers 1/4 final game against L'Equipe was insane. They went 3-0 up which I've seen no team do against the Euro champs. But of course you can never write off L'Equipe and they pulled it back to 3-3. But then David scored some kind of crazy opposite backside BB shot from a tight angle, which sent the crowd into a roar. Then he finished the game off with a trade mark hard hitter....boom! A young fresh Euro team beating L'Equipe in such a manner was def not on expected. The result was the upset of the weekend and got David a well deserved MVP. But the dream of a Euro vs US final was not to be, as Polosynthesis was beaten by Team Frown.
The biggest, most feared team present at the Open was Chicago's Machine Polotics...attending as they were on the way back from Berlin as world champ runners up and with Lefty Joe still on scary form they powered their way to the final, only losing on route to cosmic v2...hell yeah! And despite a great performance in the final (they show such team commitment) they lost to fellow US team, Team Frown.
So it was Team Frown who were crowned London Open champs and take home the most premium of trophies as well as each a custom built Shop14 bike...so jealous! They played consistent, clean, team polo all weekend, which was a pleasure to watch. Good Dave, who was subbing for Dustin, hence why a smile became a frown, was on top form, with Leon and Seabass aka Seaweed, showing why they are 2 of the best players in the world of polo and def gave an education to some of us London locals. Well done guys...happy for your win.
As for cosmic v2...it wasn't an easy debut tourney for us. Not only did we have big teams early, Machine Polotics twice on day 1 and Polosynthesis first on day 2, it was strange to play with out Tom and have our usual eyes on court. However, as the games came, we all started to settle into the new formation and Rupert showed exactly why he's on the team. He scored some epic big goals and made some trademark defensive moves and long passes. It was a fun weekend and to finish 5th with strong results against Machine Polotics, DTGP and ELKS was an awesome achievement for us. From here, I know we will only get stronger and the cosmic vision will head into a new dimension.
Overall, what a wicked weekend and fitting way to end a great summer of polo. Massive pat on the back to Jono and the whole London community (incl. my girl and voted no. 1 WAG, Therese, for all the pasta she cooked) who helped make the event happen and to everyone who played, supported and got pissed at the after party....great times - my new fav game is dice!
I heart bike polo!
So the final top 7 results (based on exiting stage of tourney not games played and goal difference) are as follows...
Winners. Team Frown - Seattle, USA.
Runners up. Machine Polotics - Chicago, USA.
3rd. Polosynthesis - Franfurt, Germany.
4th. L'Equipe - Geneva, Switzerland.
Tied 5th. Cosmic - London, UK.
Tied 5th. East Van - East Van + Melbourne, Australia.
Tied 6th. BAD - London, UK.
Tied 6th. DTGP - Paris, France.
Tied 7th. Apples - London, UK.
Tied 7th. Camel Toe.
Tied 7th. H+M's - Euro Mixed team.
Tied 7th. Grizzly - Mixed French team.
Pics and video to follow.
See you all in London next year!