Pearson’s Vikings triumph in final of the Texaco Cup

Lila Pearson and her Cowdray Vikings team
Lila Pearson and her Cowdray Vikings team

Another blisteringly hot weekend saw the Final of the 12 goal Texaco Cup played between Cowdray Vikings and Yaguara on  July. 7

Playing alongside Lila Pearson in her Cowdray Vikings side were her son George Pearson (two goals) at number 2, Ollie Cork (two goals) at number 3 and England player Jack Richardson (7 goals) at Back.

Featuring in Martina Lowe’s Yaguara side were brothers Juan Facundo and Manuel Guevara (each three goals) at numbers 2 and 3 and the experienced Andrea Vianini (five goals) at Back.

Manuel Guevara made the first mark on the scoreboard for Yaguara, Ollie Cork shooting fast but wide to end the first chukka and Yaguara taking a 1-0 lead.

Chukka 2 saw young Cork again close to Yaguara’s goal but losing the ball over the back line. Vianini brought the ball in and George Pearson got his stick to it, but there was soon a whistle and a 30 yard penalty awarded to Cowdray Vikings which Richardson sent accurately between the posts to level the scores at 1-1.

Yaguara won the throw in and Vianini sent a powerful shot forward. Richardson attempted to stop it but Juan Facundo Guevara got his stick to it and the ball trickled over the goal line for Yaguara to take the lead again. Yaguara failed to score both from a 60-yard penalty and a good run to goal by Vianini which saw the ball going out.

But a lovely piece of team play by the young Cowdray Vikings players saw Cork run away with the ball and take it all the way to the Yaguara goal for 2-2. The second half saw a dramatic change of fortune, first a neat pass from Cork enabling Richardson to make a super under-the-neck shot to goal to take Cowdray Vikings into the lead for the first time. Next came Cork with another great goal to 4-2.

Richardson raced away to the goal from the throw-in but Vianini, strong in defence, flicked the ball away. But Pearson was at hand to claim it and pop it through for 5-2. By the end of the chukka the Vikings had moved on to 6-2 following another goal from Jack Richardson.

The final chukka saw tough play and a melée which resulted in a 60 yard penalty for Cowdray Vikings which Richardson sent straight and true but the ball was stopped by Manuel Guevara.

Cork and Pearson made the next move for Cowdray Vikings but Manuel Guevara hooked the ball away from Pearson and raced off to score and pull a goal back for Yaguara. However, it wasn’t long before Pearson repaid him by hooking the ball away and sending it to Cork who neatly put the ball between the posts for a 7-3 victory for Cowdray Vikings.

Mrs Jo Richardson presented the handsome Texaco trophy – one of Cowdray’s finest – to Lila Pearson and prizes to all the players. The Best Playing Pony prize, presented by Saracen Horse Feeds, was awarded to ‘Star’ owned and played by Jack Richardson.

In a feast of polo which also saw 4 and 6 goal played, the feature match of the weekend played in front of a huge crowd was the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup played as one of the league matches of the 22 goal handicap King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship.

Ben Soleimani’s RH team with Argentine players Martin Podesta (five goals), Guillermo ‘Sapo’ Caset (nine goals) and Brazilian eight-goal player Rodrigo Andrade faced the Monterosso side of Alessandro Bazzoni with Argentine players Juan Martin Zubia (six goals) and 8 goal brothers Ignacio and Santiago Toccalino.

Andrade was the first to mark the scoreboard with a goal for RH Polo in chukka 1. Santiago Toccalino answered for Monterosso in the second chukka but Sapo Caset held the lead for RH Polo with a lovely long shot to goal.

A 30-yard penalty from Santi Toccalino took the score on to 2-2; by half time Monterosso were 4-3 ahead. In chukka 4, two goals from Santi Toccalino extended Monterosso’s lead before Sapo Caset made his second goal and the chukka ended at 6-4 in Monterosso’s favour.

The fifth chukka ended at 8-6 to Monterosso before three goals in succession from Caset in chukka 6 completed a 9-8 victory for RH Polo.

His Excellency R. Carlos Sersale de Cerisano presented the historic trophy dating back to 1953 to a delighted Ben Soleimani and prizes of Argentine wine to all players.

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