Polo: Britannia rule and Ambassador's Cup is theirs
Three exciting matches took place in Gold Cup at Cowdray Park over the weekend.
At Cowdray Park, Nick Clarke’s Clarke and Green side with Juan Gris Zavaleta, John Paul Clarkin and Luke Tomlinson faced Tal Srivaddhanaprabha’s King Power Foxes with Hugo Lewis, and Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres.
King Power Foxes forged ahead in the first chukka, Facundo, Gonzalito Pieres and Tal Srivaddhanaprabha all scoring, and by the end of chukka three King Power Foxes were ahead 7-3.
The goals dried up for them in chukka four while Clarke & Greene launched into the second half with fresh vigour, John Paul Clarkin scoring two field goals, another from Zavaleta and a 40-yard penalty from Luke Tomlinson bringing it to 7-7.
Chukka five saw Facundo dominate, two goals coming in rapid succession and then a neat manoeuvre enabling Srivaddhanaprabha to carry the ball the length of the field to make it 10-7. Awarded a spot hit, Facu tapped the ball, increased his pace and sent a classic shot through for 11-7.
His next goal came from a 30-yard penalty and his final score came when he was out on his own, running to the goal and shooting through to end the chukka 13-7 to King Power Foxes.
A penalty awarded to Clarke and Green enabled them to score again, but out of nowhere came another brilliant field goal from Facundo. The final goal came from Hugo Lewis, who also had a great match and King Power Foxes had won the Cooch Behar Cup 15-8. Philippa de Pass presented the historic cup and prizes.
On Sunday, the feature match was between Charlie Hanbury’s all-British Britannia El Remanso side and Corinne Ricard’s Murus Sanctus, for the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup.
The nine-goal back for Murus Sanctus, Alfredo Capella, despite a broken bone in his foot, played a blistering game – though his performance was well-matched by the outstanding play of James Harper at back for Britannia El Remanso, who scored the first three goals of the match.
Three more goals for Britannia El Remanso came in chukka two answered by just one from Sola for Murus Sanctus. Cappella and Sola both scored field goals in chukka three and Britannia El Remanso led 6-4.
The blue shirts went further ahead before Murus Sanctus were awarded a penalty which Sola shot through from 30 yards, the chukka ending 9-5.
Murus Sanctus came back strongly. A hit from the centre gave Capella the chance to unleash a massive hit straight through the posts for 9-6.
Sola gained the ball from the throw-in, took it round and passed to Corinne Richard who scored a good field goal. Sola won the ball from the throw-in again but Harper was strong in defence and with Cudmore’s help forged ahead for another goal and 10-7 to Britannia El Remanso.
Capella raced away to score a flashy goal with a flick of the wrist to bring Murus Sanctus up to 10-8. A penalty meant Britannia El Remanso were ahead 11-8.
Sola capitalised from a spot hit, tapped the ball forward, wrong-footed Cudmore and scored once more to equalise. Again Murus Sanctus won the ball from the throw-in and Sola carried the ball down the field for a beautiful goal and Murus Sanctus had pulled up to within a goal of the blue shirts.
James Beim helped a ball from Harper find the goalmouth and the final goal came from a 30-yard penalty sent through by Harper.
Britannia El Remanso won 13-10 and were delighted to receive the historic Argentine Ambassador’s Cup from His Excellency Carlos Sersale de Cerisano, the new Argentine Ambassador to Great Britain.
The award for best playing pony presented by the Argentine Polo Pony Breeders’ Association went to Foxy, owned and ridden by Alfredo Cappella.
The final match of the weekend was a close-fought battle between Michael Bickford’s La Indiana and George Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings.
Scores were level at 7-7 as the teams went into the fifth. A 30-yard penalty enabled Jack Richardson to take Cowdray Vikings into the lead at the beginning of the chukka but Agustin Merlos soon equalised.
A spot penalty enabled Merlos to regain the lead for La Indiana. Mackenzie won the ball for Vikings from the throw-in but Nic Roldan stole it away and his goal moved the score on to 10-8.
Richardson won the next throw-in, Mackenzie was next to claim it from La Indiana, the ball passed to Richardson then Novillo Astrada and Mackenzie gave a super flick of the wrist to put it through the posts for 10-9.
The final chukka saw the ball rolled in from the side with de Lusaretta swiftly passing to Merlos. Mackenzie swooped on to it and backed it to Novillo Astrada. Alejandro Novillo Astrada scored the goal to level the scores at 10-10.
Merlos’ nifty piece of play saw the score move to 11-10 in La Indiana’s favour. From the throw-in Bickford raced away on his own but his shot went wide.
The ball was turned by Roldan and a lovely tail backhand from de Lusaretta sealed victory for La Indiana at 12-10.
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