Date: 27-30 July, 2017
Location: Hemer, Germany
Total Teams: 18
Countries Represented: 7
Results: Team Barbados 1st, Barbados Rum Runners 13th
Thanks to the growing interest in Barbados in Segway Polo, the Segway Polo Club of Barbados was able to send two teams to the 2017 Segway Polo World Championships; reigning World Champions Team Barbados and the Barbados Rum Runners.
With 18 teams from 7 countries participating in the tournament, the organizers split the teams into three groups of six, playing a round-robin group stage with the top two teams of each group and the two best 3rd place teams proceeding to the quarter-finals.
Team Barbados were seeded and heading Group B, with the Funky-Move Turtles (Germany), the Stockholm Vikings (Sweden), Hanover Hotwheels (Germany), Warwick Jaguars (UK) and Black Roses (USA).
The Barbados Rum Runners, not having played in any international competitions since 2011, were drawn into Group C with two previous Woz Challenge Cup winners, the Blade Pirates (Germany) and the Stockholm Saints (Sweden), as well as the Helvetic Vipers (Switzerland), British Wasps (UK) and X-Turtles (Germany).
On Day 1, the Barbados Rum Runners started of with a bang, beating the X-Turtles 4:1, with rookie Matthew Lewis scoring a hat-trick before half time, and Lutz Domdera scoring the fourth.
Team Barbados, while not playing anywhere near their potential, had no difficulty dispatching both the Stockholm Vikings and the Funky-Move Turtles 4:0 each, with four goals coming from Daniel Hatch, three from Brett Callaghan and one from Captain Nevin Roach.
With Matthew Lewis nursing an injury from the first match, the Rum Runners were unable to maintain the high standard of play exhibited on Day 1 and ended Day 2 with two defeats. They lost 3:1 to the British Wasps (who had reinforcement from Barbadian and three-time Woz Cup Champion Brett de Gale) and then 4:0 to 2011 Woz Cup winners and 2010 and 2012 runners up Blade Pirates.
With two more clean sheets, Team Barbados performed as expected. They demonstrated some improvements in their quick passing style and beat the Warwick Jaguars 6:0 and the Black Rose 9:0, guaranteeing a place in the quarter-finals even before their final match on Day 3.
On Day 3, despite giving a spirited performance, the Rum Runners were unable to contain the 2013 Woz Cup Champions and 2015 runners up Stockholm Saints and eventually lost 2:0. Unfortunately, they also lost their final group match against the Helvetic Vipers 3:1, leaving them in 5th place of Group C.
Team Barbados conceded their first goal of the tournament against the Hannover Hotwheels, but still won their last group match 4:2, finishing top of Group B without conceding a point and a spectacular 27:2 goal difference. This meant that Team Barbados would play in the first quarter final against the Blade Dragons of Germany, who had placed third in Group 1. After being held to a 1:1 draw during regulation time, Captain Nevin Roach scored the deciding goal in extra time.
Day 4 was the finals day for all teams and the Rum Runners ended the tournament on a high. Having finished the group stage as the 2nd best 5th place team, Barbados’ second team beat the team from Cornwall 1:0 and took home 13th place overall.
Just like in 2015, Team Barbados met the Stockholm Saints in the semi-final. After Barbados took the lead towards the end of the first chukka with a penalty converted by Daniel Hatch, the Swedish team managed to equalize with less than two minutes left in the final chukka and this game also went to two chukkas of extra time. Another goal by Daniel Hatch ensured a 2:1 win and a place in the final.
The final was also a replay of the 2015: Team Barbados versus the Balve Mammuts. In a highly competitive but fair match, Barbados took a 2:0 halftime lead with two goals in quick succession by Daniel Hatch just before the end of the second chukka. The German team then scored in the third chukka from a perfectly executed penalty, only to see their hopes squashed by a third goal for Barbados by Daniel Hatch. Final score: Barbados 3 - Germany 1.
MVP: Daniel Hatch, Team Barbados
Golden Mallet (most goals): Daniel Hatch, Team Barbados
Best Rookie: Nicholas Eastmond, Barbados Rum Runners
Finals: Team Barbados v Balver Mammuts