Marques de Riscal and Park Place Emerge on Top in British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup
The second week of competition in the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup began Thai Polo NP against Marques de Riscal on Brooks Field, followed by Park Place in search of their first victory against Twelve Oaks team at Zacara.
Following a narrow one goal victory against UAE in their opening match of the tournament, Marques de Riscal was back in action against a championship Thai Polo NP with Guillermo Caset setting the early tone for Marques de Riscal. Converting from the 30-yard line, Caset opened the offense flow leading to three more Marques de Riscal goals, with exceptional play from Alejandro Aznar, resulting in two field goals and a 4-0 lead. Following a brief response from American Jared Zenni for Thai Polo NP’s first shot and goal of the match, Marques de Riscal continued to set the pace with two more successful drives from Caset and Santiago Cernadas. Overcoming the slow start, Thai Polo NP began to provide a response as they found momentum with goals from Ned Hine and Charlie Hanbury, but the early four-goal deficit remained into halftime. Marques de Riscal outshot their opponents 12 to 7 while adding two penalty conversions to hold a comfortable 7-3 lead at the half.
Early in the second half, Marques de Riscal’s Cernadas increased the lead to five, yet Thai Polo NP showed some resilience as Zenni came forward once again with back-to-back goals to keep his team in contention. Removing any momentum swinging Thai Polo NP’s direction, Caset took control of play with three more Marques de Riscal goals, driving the attack forward and pressuring the Thai Polo NP defense into foul trouble that resulted in Caset’s fourth penalty conversion of the contest. Thai Polo NP pushed for a late comeback with the assistance of Hine, who shot a perfect 3 for 3 at the line to cut their six-goal deficit in half, but time began to run out. Thai Polo NP was unable to overcome Marques de Riscal’s early advantage and six-goal performance from Caset, ending in an 11-8 defeat as Marques de Riscal improved to 2-0.
Back in action after a last-minute loss to Talandracas, Park Place were determined to capture their first victory against Twelve Oaks. After a scoreless first chukka, Park Place established an early lead from the field, outscoring Twelve Oaks 3-1, with goals from the powerful shooting duo of Facundo Pieres and Francisco Elizalde. Struggling to match the offensive firepower of Park Place from the field, Twelve Oaks relied on Joaquin Pittaluga to convert from the 60-yard line for his second goal of the match. Before the end of the half, Park Place found their rhythm once again, producing three more goals, two off the mallet of Elizalde to complete a strong finish to the half and double up Twelve Oaks on the scoreboard at 6-3.
After Twelve Oaks’ Pittaluga and Park Place’s Pieres traded field goals early in the second half, Park Place began to pull away with a dominant fifth chukka. Elizalde’s efficient performance on the day extended Park Place’s lead while also receiving contributions from young Louis Hine on his first goal of the match. Scoring all of their goals from the field, Park Place continued to score at a rapid pace, leaving Twelve Oaks struggling to match the pace with time expiring. Two more penalty goals for Pittaluga kept Twelve Oaks’ chances alive, but a stringent Park Place defence halted any hopes for a comeback as they did not allow a single shot at goal in the final chukka, leaving Pieres to cap off a successful five-goal day on back-to-back drives to end the match 12-7 in favour of Park Place.
Pip Hitchman, Cowdray Park Polo Club