Dubai Polo Team, Scone, Park Place and Talandracas all secure places in the Cowdray Gold Cup Semi Finals
The Quarter Finals began in the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup on Saturday 9th July with top-ranked Dubai Polo Team facing UAE, followed by Great Oaks LL versus Scone in elimination play on the Lawns grounds.
Tournament scoring leader Camilo Castagnola continued his exceptional performance in the tournament by opening the scoring and giving Dubai Polo Team the early lead. A goal from teammate Jeronimo del Carril from the field were offset by goals from UAE’s duo of Tomas Beresford and Bartolome Castagnola Jnr from the penalty line to end the first chukka tied at 2-all. Featuring a battle of the brothers between the two Castagnola’s in the remainder of the half, Bartolome Castagnola Jnr scored three unanswered goals as UAE struck first in an attempt to hand Dubai Polo Team their first loss. However, storming back with three consecutive goals of his own, Camilo Castagnola brought the game even once again. With each team looking to push themselves into the lead before the end of the half, a high-scoring third featured just two goals from Bartolome Castagnola Jnr, while Dubai Polo Team pushed five goals across the line, including one from Rashid Albwardy to hold a 9-6 lead.
Relying on the momentum established in the third chukka, Dubai Polo team continued to score at a frantic pace, generating offence from both the field and the penalty line. Scoring four of the first five goals in the second half, Dubai Polo Team received contributions from Castagnola, as well as Del Carril and Matt Perry to extend their lead further to six. Displaying fight over the final two chukkas, UAE’s Beresford sent a 30-yard penalty through the posts along with a field goal from Lucas Monteverde Jnr, but UAE still found themselves trailing by three and a difficult task in completing the comeback with one chukka to play. Scoring UAE’s fourth straight goal, Beresford helped his team inch closer, but Camilo Castagnola hit his game-high tenth goal of the match as Dubai Polo Team took their place in the Semi Finals with the 14-11 victory.
The second Quarter Final featured the return of Scone’s father-son duo in Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso to the elimination stages. With their elite defence, Scone limited Great Oaks LL’s chances throughout the entire first half. A 30-yard penalty conversion for Poroto Cambiaso opened the scoring and doubled Scone’s lead to two after the entered with a one-goal advantage on handicap, but Great Oaks LL’s Juan Martin Nero quickly provided a response to leave the score at 2-1. However, that would be the only goal Great Oaks LL would score in the rest of the first half as Scone’s defence prevented Great Oaks LL from reaching the penalty line, while inaccurate shooting resulted in nine consecutive misses from the field. A field goal from Adolfo Cambiaso in the second chukka and a second 30-yard penalty conversion for Poroto Cambiaso provided the only offence of the opening three chukkas, leaving Scone ahead 4-1 at the half.
Finding themselves in foul trouble for the first time in the match, three Scone infractions led to two penalty conversions from Cruz Heguy, while he also added a goal from the field for a revitalized Great Oaks LL team. Trailing by two, Great Oaks LL entered the fifth chukka hopeful for a comeback, but ran into the impressive play of Poroto Cambiaso. Singlehandedly scoring three unanswered goals, Cambiaso instantly pushed the Scone lead to five in the low-scoring game as Great Oaks LL began to run out of time, trailing 8-5. Content to exchange goals over the final chukka of play, Scone’s Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso continued to play at a high-level, matching Great Oaks LL’s James Beim and Juan Martin Nero to earn the second spot in the Semi Finals with the 10-7 triumph.
Kicking off Sunday’s Quarter Finals action at Lawns, the first of two Park Place teams competing on the day opened the scoring on a 30-yard penalty conversion from 10-goaler Facundo Pieres. Looking to extend their unbeaten run in the tournament, Marques de Riscal provided a swift response with back-to-back goals from Guillermo Caset adding to their one-goal on handicap for the early 3-1 lead. Taking over play in the field in the second, the two-man game of Francisco Elizalde and Pieres resulted in two goals each as part of a dominant 4-1 second chukka that erased the two-goal deficit and put Park Place on top by one. Matching each other stride-for-stride in the final chukka of the first half, an exchange of goals from Park Place’s Pieres and Marques de Riscal’s Caset and Laborde allowed Park Place to maintain their narrow advantage to take a 7-6 lead into half time.
In arguably the most decisive chukka of the match, Park Place exited halftime exploding for five goals due to the play of young Louis Hine. Contributing three field goals on perfect shooting, Hine along with Pieres suddenly put Park Place ahead 12-7, with Marques de Riscal in danger of exiting the tournament with their first loss. Swapping penalty conversions in the fifth chukka between Caset for Marques de Riscal and Pieres for Park Place, the defensive seven minutes played into the hands of Park Place as they effectively kept Marques de Riscal from generating a run and maintained their five-goal advantage with one chukka remaining. Needing to make a definitive push to force the match into overtime, three consecutive goals from Caset, including his fourth penalty goal of the match brought Marques de Riscal within striking distance, but two final drives from Elizalde in the field and Pieres at the 30-yard line sealed Park Place’s 15-11 victory.
Attempting to claim a second victory on the day for the Park Place organisation, Park Place Vaara also got out to a quick start, outscoring Talandracas 3-1 in the first chukka, with three goals coming from their 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa to set the tone in Park Place Vaara’s favour. Remaining firmly in control, Ulloa continued to have a significant impact in the early stages of the match, adding his fourth goal while assisting on a field goal to Santos Merlos as Park Place Vaara extended their lead to three. Despite the slow start, Talandracas began to find their rhythm in the third chukka behind the play of Pablo Pieres, who scored all three of his team’s goals in the chukka, but Park Place Vaara completed an exceptional first half with three goals of their own to hold an 8-5 lead at the half.
Holding their opponents scoreless for the first time in the match, a crucial shut-down defensive chukka allowed Talandracas to begin their comeback with two more field goals coming off the mallet of Pablo Pieres. However, Talandracas had the opportunity to surge into the lead in the dominant chukka, but three Penalty 4 attempts sailed wide, allowing Park Place Vaara to maintain a narrow one-goal lead. Holding the momentum, Talandracas drove forward in the fifth chukka as their defence changed the dynamic of the match, limiting Park Place Vaara to just one goal, while they added three more to enter the final chukka with their first lead of the game at 10-9. Quickly extending their lead to two on another tally from Pieres, Talandracas had the victory in their sights. Trying to recapture their offence from the first half, Juan Britos brought Park Place Vaara back within one, but it was the only offence they could muster as Talandracas held the potent attack to just two goals in the entire second half. A final goal from Isidro Strada sealed the game for Talandracas with a 12-10 triumph over Park Place Vaara.
Edouard Carmignac was delighted to receive The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Trophy, commission in memory of the late King Power and Leicester City FC Chairman, from Marcos di Paola representing the Srivaddhanaprabha family. The Best Playing Pony rug was awarded to 9-year old liver chestnut mare, Mas Soul, played and owned by Polito Pieres. The players received generous prizes, also kindly provided by the Srivaddhanaprabha family.
The Semi Finals will take place on Wednesday 13th July at the Lawns grounds with Dubai Polo Team against Scone at 12pm for the Ellerston Cup, followed by Talandracas against Park Place at 4pm for the Tramontana Cup.
Pip Hitchman, Cowdray Park Polo Club