An action-packed Goodwood weekend featuring eight key Finals
After 27 matches between 15 teams, the 15-goal Harrison Cup Final featured Emlor and Valhalla/Madams Farm battling for the title on Brooks Field on Saturday 30th July.
Emlor entered the final with a familiar line-up of Spencer McCarthy in the number 1 shirt, Jose Ramon Araya (4 goals) at number 2, young Hugo Taylor (4 goals) at number 3 and Max Charlton (6 goals) at Back. Valhalla/Madams Farm featured Justin MacRae at number 1, alongside Alfie Hyde, substituting for injured Nick Johnson, at number 2, Michel Del Carril at 3 and Englishman 6-goaler Jack Richardson at Back.
Winning each of their games in the tournament by one goal or less, Valhalla/Madams Farm were no strangers to a close match but they ran into a determined Emlor team in the opening half. Wasting little time, Emlor struck on three different occasions, receiving one goal each from Araya, McCarthy and Charlton to hold a 3-0 lead. Kept in their own half for most of the opening chukka, Richardson found his way to goal before the end of the first seven minutes to get Valhalla/Madams Farm on the scoreboard, but they trailed 3-1. Emlor’s accuracy in open play continued to be a factor as they took advantage of every opportunity at goal to extend their lead. Shooting a perfect 3 for 3 in the second half, two tallies from Charlton and one from McCarthy, pushed Emlor’s lead to four as Valhalla/Madams Farm struggled to slow the prolific attack of Emlor. Attempting to contain Emlor, Valhalla/Madams Farm held them off the scoresheet from the field in the third chukka but sent Charlton to the 30-yard line twice, where he converted both attempts. Continuing to provide the scoring for Valhalla/Madams Farm, Richardson added his third and fourth goals of the first half to leave his team facing an 8-4 deficit with two chukkas remaining.
A quick fourth chukka resulted in zero whistles as the back-and-forth play remained in the middle of the field. Showcasing a renewed defensive effort, Valhalla/Madams Farm held Emlor scoreless, while MacRae brought his team within three goals as they inched closer leading into the final chukka. Despite Richardson’s fifth goal of the match, Valhalla/Madams Farms best effort to produce a comeback fell short as Emlor used their strong start to maintain their lead. Hugo Taylor added a final goal for Emlor to complete the impressive 9-6 victory and claim the Harrison Cup. Mrs Sarah Holmes presented the trophy to a delighted Spencer McCarthy. The Most Valuable Player prize was awarded to Hugo Taylor. Hugo stepped forward again to receive the No.3 Gin Pursuit of Perfection Best Playing Pony rug and the Brooke Joynson Cup on behalf of his pony Extasis.
In the Subsidiary Finals played on Ambersham 3, James McCarthy’s Emlor Black beat Ana Escobedo’s Ojo Caliente 9.5 – 6 to take home the Aotea Cup and Max Kirchhoff’s Snakebite overcame Romilla Arber’s Four Quarters Black 6 – 5 to claim the Maidensgrove Cup.
The final 18-goal tournament of the season concluded at with Marchfield/Tahanto facing Green Gates on Sunday 31st July on Lawns 2. Meeting earlier in the tournament, Marchfield/Tahanto claimed the victory, yet Sunday’s final was decided in the final moments for the Challenge Cup.
For Marchfield/Tahanto, Felix Esain donned the number 1 shirt, with Manuel Plaza de Ayala (6 goals) at number 2, followed by Guillermo Terrera (7 goals) at number 3 and Saad Audeh at Back. Green Gates were led by Noor Khadra at number 1, Cesar Crespo (6 goals) at number 2, with an experienced backfield that included two 6 goalers Michel Del Carril at 3 and Isidro Strada at Back.
To open the match, Marchfield/Tahanto’s Manuel Plaza de Ayala struck first on a 60-yard penalty conversion to begin the scoring, but the foul-ridden start to the match turned in favour of Green Gates. Marchfield/Tahanto committed five fouls leading to three penalty goals for Strada in the first and second chukkas, producing all of Green Gates’ offence and allowing them to hold a 3-1 lead. Plaza de Ayala’s second goal of the match was the first field goal of the contest, concluding the second chukka and leaving Marchfield/Tahanto trailing by one. Utilizing Felix Esain in the number 1 position, Marchfield/Tahanto tied the score at 3-all in the early stages of the third chukka, but Green Gates generated a swift response, charging forward with consecutive goals from Crespo and Del Carril to restore their two-goal advantage. Returning to the penalty line, Plaza de Ayala sent his third goal through the posts this time from the 30-yard line, leaving the score at 5-4 in favour of Green Gates.
Fouls continued to be a story in a tense second half, with Marchfield/Tahanto racing out of the break and forcing Green Gates into committing four fouls that led to three 30-yard penalty conversions for Esain. Holding their first lead since the very start of the game, Marchfield/Tahanto found themselves in front and played a disciplined remainder of the match to avoid too many fouls and send Green Gates back to the penalty line. Fouls from both sides resulted in Strada and Esain exchanging penalty conversions for their respective teams. Tied at 8-all, play continued to go back and forth until Esain picked up the ball near his own goal and ran the length of the field. Firing at goal from over 60 yards out, Esain’s incredible shot found the mark with the bell immediately ending play and Marchfield/Tahanto celebrating the 9-8 victory to raise the Challenge Cup. The Hon Mrs Lila Pearson presented the prestigious Cup to a thrilled Saad Audeh. The Most Valuable Player prize was awarded to Felix Esain. The winner of the No.3 Gin Pursuit of Perfection Best Playing Pony and winner of the Vickers Trophy was Neon, played and owned by Manuel Plaza de Ayala.
In the Subsidiary Final played in the morning on Lawns 1, Ana Escobedo’s Ojo Caliente were victorious over Guy Schwarzenbach’s Black Bears with a final score of 10 – 7.
A thrilling conclusion to the 8-goal Holden White Cup, also played on Sunday 31st July on Lawns 2, featured Quel Domage against UAE in a final that came down to overtime to determine the champion.
Quel Domage was led by Dane Csaszar in the number 1 shirt, followed by Hector Worsley (3 goals) at 2, Hugh Humfrey (0 goals) at 3 and at Back, David Ashby (3 goals). UAE entered the final with three ladies in their line up including H.H. Sheikha Maitha at number 1, alongside Kayley Smith at number 2, Hazel Jackson (2 goals) at 3 and young Lucas Monteverde Jr. in the number 4 shirt.
From the opening throw-in, UAE applied the early pressure, keeping Quel Domage pinned in their own half and producing seven shots at goal in the first chukka. However, only one goal from Kayley Smith found its way through the posts, with Quel Domage’s Csaszar answering on his team’s only attempt, to leave the score tied at 1-all. Withstanding the early surge from UAE, Quel Domage inched into the lead on Csaszar’s second goal of the contest, which provided the only offence in a defensive second chukka and leaving his team ahead 2-1 at half time.
Building momentum from the first half, Quel Domage excelled from the field, receiving field goals from David Ashby and Hector Worsley, as they were suddenly ahead 4-1 and holding the significant advantage over UAE. Foul trouble ended Quel Domage’s run, allowing UAE to fight their way back into the game on 30-yard and 40-yard penalty conversion from Monteverde Jr. to trail by just one goal. Eager to tie the match, UAE were relentless in the final minutes trying to find the tying goal and it was Hazel Jackson who sent the ball into the goal to tie the game at 4-all, while UAE also held Quel Domage scoreless to send the match into overtime.
Just seconds into the extra chukka, Quel Domage’s Dane Csaszar jumped on the loose ball out of the throw-in, turning it to goal and receiving a nearside pass from Worsley to convert the opportunity and claim the exciting 5-4 victory for Holden White Cup.
Hugh Humfrey stepped down from the podium to receive the Holden White Cup. David Ashby was awarded the Most Valuable Player prize and El Overa Cayena, played by Lucas Monteverde Jnr, was presented with the No.3 Gin Pursuit of Perfection Best Playing Pony rug.
In the Holden White Subsidiary Finals, Gallagher overcame Oriflamme 8-7 in the Ruins Cup on Lawns 1 and InnoVent were victorious against Blenheim on the River Ground.
Pip Hitchman, Cowdray Park Polo Club