By Alex Webbe
On one hand, it was a good day for the English with six of the eight players appearing in the final of the British Open home-grown, but it was the mastery of 10-goalers Facundo Pieres and his older brother Gonzalito Pieres who carried the day with a 13-8 win.
A talented and aggressive El Remanso team (Charlie Hanbury, Oliver Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) raced out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Charlie Hanbury and James Harper in first chukker play in Sunday’s final of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open at the Cowdray Park Polo Club. But there are six chukkers in the game and King Power (Hugo Taylor, Jimbo Fewster, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) was just getting started with Gonzalito Pieres scoring the final goal of the chukker to cut the El Remanso lead to a single goal, 2-1.
Second period action saw Harper extend the El Remanso lead to two goals again, 3-1, converting a 30-yard penalty shot for his second goal of the game. Facundo Pieres scored on a pass from brother Gonzalito Pieres on the ensuing throw-in to make it 3-2 before tying it up at 3-3 with the final goal of the chukker.
King Power took control of the game in the third. King Power provided shutout defense while picking up single goals from Facundo Pieres, Jimbo Fewster and Gonzalito Pieres. At the end of the first half the 6-3 lead belonged to King Power.
Fourth period goals from Facundo Pieres and Fewster gave King Power seven consecutive unanswered goals as they rode away with a commanding 8-3 lead. Harper and Facundo Pieres traded goals to end the chukker with El Remanso trailing by five goals, 9-4.
James Beim scored his first goal of the game in fifth chukker play followed by a short penalty goal from Harper, 9-6. Facundo Pieres sent a 60-yard penalty shot through the El Remanso goalposts and added another from the field, extending the King Power lead back to five goals, 11-6. Harper countered with a 60-yard penalty goal of his own, to end the chukker and bring El Remanso back to within four goals of the lead, 11-7, with one period remaining in regulation play.
There was no letup from the King Power team as Fewster scored on a breakaway to make it 12-7 with just four minutes left to play. Gonzalito Pieres extended the lead to six goals, 12-7 with El Remanso failing to mount a rally. Ollie Cudmore scored the last goal of the match as King Power celebrated their third straight British Open title behind a convincing 13-8 victory and recording their third consecutive British Open Championship.
Facundo Pieres led the field in scoring with six goals and ended the tournament as high scorer with a total of 37 goals. Gonzalito Pieres added four goals with Jimbo Fewster scoring three times and picking up MVP honors
Fewster’s New Jersey was named Best Playing Pony of the Gold Cup with Facundo Pieres’ Open Sharapova being named Best Playing Argentine Pony.