By Alex Webbe
Looking to improve on their showing in the Queens Cup where they made it into the semifinals, Murus Sanctus (Corinne Ricard, Hilario Ulloa, Francisco Elizalde (Facundo Sola) and Martin Podesta) got off on the right foot in the opening match of the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup by slipping past a talented Talandracas lineup (Edouard Carmignac, Guillermo Caset, Pelon Stirling and Hugo Lewis), 9-8 Tuesday afternoon at the Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Hugo Lewis and Hilario Ulloa traded goals in the opening minutes of the first chukker, with 10-goaler Pelon Stirling converting a penalty shot for the early 2-1 Talandracas lead.
Second chukker goals from Ulloa, Francisco Elizalde and Corinne Ricard were supported by shutout defense. The second period ended with Murus Sanctus on top, 4-2.
Talandracas displayed their defensive talents in the third period as they held the Murus Sanctus team scoreless while adding goals from Sapo Caset and Lewis to level the score at 4-4 to end the first half.
The Murus Sanctus attack surged in the fourth chukker. Elizalde opened the scoring followed by a pair of goals from Ulloa, 7-4. Caset scored the final goal of the period but it was Murus Sanctus with the lead, 7-5.
Elizalde scored his third goal of the day to open the fifth, 8-5. Caset responded with a goal, keeping Talandracas in the game, 8-6. Martin Podesta scored his first goal of the day to extend the Murus Sanctus advantage to three goals, 9-6. Stirling’s second goal of the day closed out the scoring in the fifth and had Talandracas trailing by two goals, 9-7.
Talandracas tried desperately to score in the final chukker, but the Murus Sanctus defense was resolute. Lewis finally found a chink in their armor, bringing Talandracas to within a goal of the lead, 9-8, but that was where it ended.
Ulloa led the Murus Sanctus attack with four goals. Elizalde scored three times with Ricard and Podesta each adding a goal for the win. Caset and Lewis scored three goals apiece for Talandracas. Stirling added two goals in the loss.
El Remanso 11, La Bamba de Areco 9
In the second Gold Cup match of the day, the All-English, El Remanso polo team (Charlie Hanbury, Oliver Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) edged La Bamba de Areco (Ned Hine, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr.) in the final chukker by an 11-9 score.
La Bamba de Areco took the early lead on goals from Magoo Laprida and Diego Cavanagh. El Remanso was unable to establish a playing rhythm and fell behind, 2-0.
Second period play was muted offensively with El Remanso holding La Bamba de Areco scoreless. A pair of penalty goals from James Harper accounting for all of the scoring, knotting the game at two goals apiece, 2-2.
Two more goals from Harper in the third were aided by a goal from the field from Ollie Cudmore as El Remanso took a 5-3 lead. Rodrigo Rueda scored the only goal of the period for La Bamba de Areco, who trailed by two goals, 5-3, at the end of the first three chukkers.
The offense began to stir for La Bamba de Areco as the second half got underway. Cudmore scored first for a 6-3, three goal lead, but La Bamba de Areco fired right back. Back-to-back goals from Laprida ended the fourth chukker with El Remanso holding on to a one goal lead, 6-5.
The La Bamba de Areco rally carried into the fifth chukker. Goals from Cavanagh and Laprida tied the game at seven goals apiece, 7-7, with Beim accounting for the only El Remanso score.
Laprida’s fifth goal of the game gave the early sixth period lead to La Bamba de Areco, 8-7. Charlie Hanbury tied the game at 8-8 with his first goal of the game. A foul in the La Bamba de Areco goalmouth resulted in a Penalty 1, awarding a goal to El Remanso for a one goal edge, 9-8. Ruida tied the game for the fourth time in the least two chukkers to make it 9-9, with time running down on the game clock. Goals from Hanbury and Harper went unanswered as El Remanso rode off with the 11-9 victory.
Harper’s five goals led the El Remanso attack. Cudmore and Hanbury each scored twice; Beim added a goal; and the team was awarded a goal on a Penalty 1. Laprida scored a team-high five goals for La Bamba de Areco. Cavanagh and Ruida added two goals each in a losing effort.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup action is scheduled to continue with two games slated to be played on Wednesday, June 28th. In the noon contest, King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Jimbo Fewster, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) will make their first effort to defend their 2016 title when they face La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Luke Tomlinson). The Game will be a rematch of last year’s final in which King Power raced past La Indiana, 9-5.
The second match of the day is scheduled to be played at 2pm and will feature 2017 Cartier Queens Cup winner RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Tommy Beresford, Adolfo Cambiaso and Rodrigo Andrade) and Monterosso (Alessandro Bazzoni, Ignacio Toccalino, Santiago Toccalino and Matt Perry).
All matches of the Gold Cup for the British Open will be streamed live on Pololine.TV produced by Polocam.
Photos: Ana Clara Cozzi
To see all the teams and results click here