How often do you see a patron give two young guns, whose legs barely reach the end of the saddle flaps, the chance to take to the field to hold their own against the grown men of the game? If you ever find yourself at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club in Dubai, you will see that it is a regular occurrence for two very talented youngsters, Lucas Monteverde Jr and Mackenzie Weisz, who have become solid members of Team UAE Polo.
Patron HH. Sheikha Maitha bint Moh’d Al Matkoum has been a pioneer for polo in the UAE, growing a strong team at home in Dubai, as well as having played the UK High-Goal season in previous years. Whether it be a team practise at Al Habtoor, a league game, or even more recently the Masters Cup, the second tournament of the Dubai Gold Cup Series, the talent of these two young players is on display for all to see.
Lucas Monteverde Jr is never without a mallet in his hand, famous for playing tricks tirelessly on the sidelines at every game he attends. Now at only 12yrs old, he is a ball of menace on the field, racing down on his competitors with a power that seems to be seeking a form of vengeance, enabling him to push away any threat with all of his might, all whilst sporting the biggest smile on his face.
Mackensie Weisz, 14 years old, is the definition of danger, as the saying goes - give them an inch, and they will take a mile. Mackensie is fearless in his hunger for the ball, he is prepared to contour his soon-to-be tall body around the pony in the quickest of motions to reach the ball and strike it with the utmost precision for a young player, scoring time and time again.
Both players won the AHPRC February 4 to 6 goal league for RA Polo Team, beating Bangash 9.5 goals to 3, whilst Lucas Monteverde Jr went on to play for Team UAE in the Masters Cup, securing the team their victory in the final by scoring the winning goal, having been down on the scoreboard for most of the game against Habtoor Polo.
Such opportunities given to young players that enable them to consistently take to the field against big names in a competitive environment, is one of the key ways to ensure that we have fantastic talent coming through the ranks for the generations of polo to come. And not only that, watching the likes of Lucas Jr and Mackenzie, provides a great spectacle for those on the sidelines too.
Photos by Helen Cruden