Gold Cup and Midhurst Town Cup thrill Cowdray crowds

Action from the Midhurst Town Cup match / Picture by Clive Bennett - see more at www.polopictures.co.uk
Action from the Midhurst Town Cup match / Picture by Clive Bennett - see more at www.polopictures.co.uk
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It’s been a busy week of Gold Cup and Midhurst Town Cup action at Cowdray Park Polo Club.

Here, from Liz Higgins, are the latest reports...

Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup: Talandracas v Sommelier

After taking an early 5-1 lead in the first chukka, it looked like it was going to be an easy win for Talandracas, but it was not to be.

A steady and sustained comeback from Sommelier kept them in it.

Sommelier were able to hold Talandracas back and prevent them from scoring more than one goal per chukka, slowly catching up to produce an exciting finish.

In the second major upset of this year’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup, La Bamba de Areco defeated reigning champions King Power Foxes.

They weren’t quite able to pull off a win, losing out by just one goal. Only four of the 21 goals were scored from the penalty line in a close match.

French patron Edouard Carmignac of Talandracas was thrilled to pick up the stunning silver Ashton Cup.

Benson Cup final

Andrew Swaffield’s Alcedo team met Lila Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings in the final of the eight-goal Benson Cup played at Cowdray’s Ambersham grounds.

Andrew’s line-up of Will Harper (0 goals) at No2, Nick Clague (3 goals) at No3 and James Harper (6 goals) at back faced a Cowdray Vikings side which featured George Pearson (2 goals) joining his mother Lila, alongside Byron Watson (3 goals) playing at No3 and Ed Hitchman at back.

A blistering first chukka saw five goals on the scoreboard, the first from Cowdray Vikings, who nonetheless ended the chukka one goal down.

A spot penalty for Alcedo in the second chukka enabled them to stay ahead despite a good field goal from Byron Watson for the Vikings.

After half-time James Harper dominated the match, showing all the strength of his six goals. He scored in both the third and fourth chukkas leaving it to son, Wills, to put the final mark on the scoreboard for a winning score of 7-3.

So another Sunday brought another trophy for a delighted Swaffield. The Hon Charles Pearson presented the historic cup and prizes.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup

RH Polo v Murus Sanctus

After a confident start by Murus Sanctus that saw them put up a good fight in the first couple of chukkas, RH Polo predictably went on to beat Corinne Ricard’s team.

Both Adolfo Cambiaso, the world’s leading player, and Rodrigo Andrade made their mark on the scoreboard with five and three goals respectively, one of Cambiaso’s being a huge shot from way outside the 60-yard line.

Tommy Beresford also had a great match adding four goals to the scoreboard, slotting each 30-yard penalty home with ease while Cambiaso took on the more daunting 40 and 60-yard shots.

RH Polo didn’t miss a penalty and made the most of each of the opportunities warranted by nine Murus Sanctus fouls. Murus Sanctus were unable to recover from a three-goal deficit at half-time, eventually succumbing to a 15-7 defeat, Ben Soleimani’s team really finding their stride in the fifth chukka to press home their advantage.

La Bamba de Areco v King Power (for the Midhurst Town Cup)

In the second major upset of this year’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup, La Bamba de Areco defeated reigning champions King Power Foxes in a long-drawn out battle that saw delays for injury and a change of players.

The youngest player in the Gold Cup, Ned Hine, played in place of Jean Francois Decaux in the La Bamba de Areco side alongside Diego Cavanagh at No2, Christian Laprida at No3 and Rodrigo Rueda at back.

Hugo Taylor took over the patron’s position for King Power Foxes with Jimbo Fewster at No2, and the ten-goal Pieres brothers Facundo and Gonzalito at No3 and back respectively.

The first two chukkas were breathtaking, a 30-yard penalty starting the scoring for each side. Three goals to each team had piled on to the scoreboard by the end of chukka one and it was 5-5 at the close of chukka two.

Cavanagh achieved three field goals in the third chukka, unanswered by King Power. Laprida, forced to leave the field injured, was replaced with eight-goal player, Fran Elizalde, who obliged with the fourth goal of the chukka and La Bamba went into half-time 9-5 up.

King Power pulled back two goals in the fourth chukka but failed to score at all in the fifth.

With the score at the start of the sixth chukka 11-7 in La Bamba’s favour, Facundo Pieres brought out all his ten-goal magic to score three excellent field goals. Awarded a 30-yard penalty, Gonzalito put the ball accurately between the posts and King Power had levelled the scores on 11-11 forcing the game into a seventh chukka.

It did not take long for Diego Cavangh to race away to score from an amazing angel and achieve a surprise win for La Bamba.

The Midhurst Town Cup was presented by Nick Ferrier of Jackson Stops, who also presented the award for Best Playing Pony to Nueve Chicago, owned and played by Facundo Pieres in the sixth chukka.

Mariya Burton of Aspinal London presented prizes of luxury leather bags to all the players.

LIZ HIGGINS

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