The Bangkok Post, Published on September 21
Hua Hin, September 20, 2003
It was an adrenaline-filled afternoon of elephant polo in yesterday's King's Cup semi-finals with the sports' two giants, Chivas Regal and Mercedes Benz Thailand, clinching hard-fought but well-deserved victories to secure their places in today's final.
Under a blazing sun and in front of record crowds, the afternoon's play kicked off with an impressive display of polo in the All Thailand Mahouts Championship between Surin and the Elephant Village Hua Hin, Surin narrowly winning 2-1.
The afternoon's first semi-final match between Mercedes Benz Thailand and Sandalford Winery saw the German team display slick stickwork and flawless communication in what was a tactically superior game.
Sandalford's Greg Johnson played superb polo, hitting magnificent shots off the backline and together with Angus James displaying some classy defence moves.
However, the Franz Beckenbauer of elephant polo, Oliver Winter, proved to be an unstoppable force, flattering Sandalford's goalmouth with all but one of his team's goals, to secure Mercedes Benz Thailand a decisive 12-4 victory.
In the afternoon's other hotly-contested match, American Express Thailand saddled up to meet Chivas Regal in a thrilling encounter which ended 8-2 to Chivas.
American Express started with conviction, Chris Stafford digging deep and producing some rock-solid defensive shots and team-mate Nopdol Nandhabhiwat once again showing his defensive form.
Goal of the afternoon went to Chivas' Peter Prentice who scored a magnificent second chukka goal from midfield, picking up Angad Kalaan's bully-off ball, chipping it into the air and sending it flying cleanly between the goalposts.
Today's final matches start from 8.30am and continue through the day with the Anantara Gold Cup for third place at 2.30pm.
The King's Cup Elephant Polo final match between Mercedes Benz Thailand and Chivas Regal starts at 3.30pm.
Trophy presentations will be made by His Majesty the King's representative H.E. Rear Admiral Mom Luang Usni Promoj at 4.30pm.
The Kings Cup Elephant Polo tournament is being held at the Som Dej Phra Suriyothai military ground in Hua Hin and is being organised by the Anantara Resort and Spa.