Large crowds attended Cowdray Park Polo Club for the Semi-Finals of the King Power Gold Cup for the British Open.
First match of the day was between VS King Power and Park Place playing for the Ellerston Cup. For VS King Power, ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha played at 1 with Juan Martin Zubia at 2, Polito Pieres at 3 and Marcos di Paola at Back. Andrey Borodin took the number 1 position for his side with Juan Britos at 2, Hilario Ulloa at 3 and Benjamin Urquiza at Back.
A total of 21 goals was scored in the match with the scores level-pegging throughout, at half time 6-6, chukka 4 ending on 7-7 and chukka 5 at 8-8. Chukka 6 opened with Urquiza stealing the ball from the King Power patron, a pass to Britos and then on to Ulloa, the 10 goaler racing away to move the score on to 9-8 in Park Place’s favour. But a penalty hit from 30 yards by Zubia brought the scores level again on 9-9. Ulloa raced away from the throw-in to make a beautiful under-the-neck shot his seventh goal of the match and take Park Place ahead again. A penalty was awarded to VS King Power, Zubia finding the mark from 40 yards, and it was all square at 10-10. With the crowd on the edge of their seats as the clock ran down, Zubia snatched the ball from the throw-in and raced all the way to the Park Place goal to achieve his sixth goal of the match and an 11-10 victory for VS King Power taking them into Sunday’s Final. The Ellerston Cup was presented by Mrs Roz Packer, Robert
The second semi-final played for the Tramontana Cup between Dubia and Scone Polo was equally thrilling with a tally of 24 goals. Sixteen year old Camilo Castagnola took the number one position with patron Rashid Albwardy at 2, Bartolomé Castagnola, 18 year old brother to Camilo, playing at 3, and Ignacio du Plessis at back. Scone Polo’s patron David Paradice played at 1 for his side, England captain James Beim at 2, Nico Pieres at 3 and James Harper at Back.
The opening goal came from Barto Castagnola, soon answered by Beim, while a goal from the Dubai patron gave his side the lead at 2-1 by the end of chukka 1. Chukka 2 ended at 5-2 in Dubai’s favour but the side gave away two penalties in chukka 3, converted by Nico Pieres, whose field goal plus another from James Beim saw the scores equal on 6-6 at half time. By the end of the fourth chukka, scores were level-pegging at 8-8. But the crowd were to be completely enthralled by the Castagnola boys’ skills in chukka 5, Barto making three goals in swift succession and his brother shooting a fantastic 60 yard penalty high over the posts to end the chukka 12-8 ahead. A lovely goal from du Plessis and another from Camilo Castagnola took Dubai on to 14-8 and despite a brave final chukka from Scone Polo in which Nico Pieres pulled back two goals, the final score was a convincing 14-10 victory for the young Dubai side. Anthony Embiricos presented the Tramontana Cup, commemorating his team which still holds the record for four successive Gold Cup wins in the 1980s, to Rashid Albwardy; Robert Mehm, Vice President of EFG Private Bank, presented individual prizes to all players and Mrs Courtney Mehm presented the award for Player Best to his Handicap to the 6 goal player Camilo Castagnola. The prize for Best Playing Pony of the match, presented by Mrs Melanie Vere Nicoll on behalf of Schweppes, was judged to be Michingui played by Camilo Castagnola and the Retraining of Racehorses award for best re-trained thoroughbred from the racetrack, sponsored by Lycetts and presented by Piers Plunkett, went to Maidana played by Camilo Castagnola and owned by Alan Kent.
VS King Power meets Dubai in the Final of the King Power Gold Cup on Sunday 21st July, having last met each other in the Final in 2014.