Drama in Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup

dramaTalandracas reduced to three-man team after umpire call

Yesterday, Sunday 28 June, the Talandracas vs Zacara match at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup was shadowed by controversy, following an incident which resulted in 4 goal Brit Alastair Paterson being sent off with no option to substitute. The decision was made by HPA umpires Peter Wright, Tim Bown and third man Charles Seavill before the game had even made half-time.

Paterson was playing in place of Zac Hagedoorn for Talandracas in the Midhurst Town Cup, a qualifier for The Gold Cup. The umpires’ decision appears to have been based on suspected ‘dangerous play’ and left Talandracas to continue the game with only three players. Eyewitness reports claim Paterson had chosen to ride a line but, which was closely followed by Zacara patron Lyndon Lea being knocked from his horse, who required medical attention before he continued the rest of the game.

The final score reflected the immense strain that the remaining Talandracas players, (Polito Pieres, Sapo Caset and Eduardo Carmignac) were under, as the game finished 21-11 to Zacara.

Many players, teams and spectators have commented on the decision across social media. One major point of controversy, aside from the ruling, was the knock-on effect of pony welfare on the Talandracas team, as the remaining players and their ponies attempted to make up for Paterson’s absence in stifling heat.

Talandracas may also now find themselves under scrutiny for a lack of effort – some accounts describe the team as standing and watching as talented young player Jack Hyde cantered the length of the ground to score for Zacara.

Talandracas now join Thai Polo, HB Polo and VPS Healthcare Sifani in a group of teams that have lost both of their games. Dubai, UAE, Apes Hill Club and King Power Foxes are all, so far, unbeaten. El Remanso, La Indiana, King Power and RH Polo have yet to play their second games, which are scheduled for today as well as Wednesday 1 July.

The first week of The Gold Cup reviewed

On Tuesday 23 June, UAE played RH Polo in the opening day of the tournament on Lawns 1 at Cowdray Park Polo Club. The match saw the established UAE team dominate over Ben Soleimani’s squad, who are new contenders for The Gold Cup this year. The final score of 14-6 represented a runaway victory for UAE in The Carlos Gracida Memorial Trophy.

The second match of the day saw Zacara, previous Gold Cup winners in both 2011 and 2013, take on local patron Nick Clarke’s Salkeld team. A breathtakingly exciting match saw Luke Tomlinson play an outstanding game, keeping Salkeld ahead for most of the match and finally winning with a score of 16-15.

On the second day of the tournament, Wednesday 24 June, Sir Charles Williams’ Apes Hill Club, with an all-pro team of Mark Tomlinson (6), Ralph Richardson (1), Eduardo Novillo Astrada (9) and Tom Morley (6), faced Talandracas. A hard fought match saw Apes Hill Club claim victory, with a final score of 11-10.

HB Polo didn’t get the easiest match to start the tournament, as they were drawn to face a strong Dubai side. The team featured up-and-coming Josh Cork (0), replacing patron Rashid Albwardy, and Martin Valent stepped-up in place of Tom Brodie. Their back players remained strong with the combined skill of Diego Cavanagh (8) and Adolfo Cambiaso (10). A high scoring match resulted in a final score of 17-9 to Dubai, which must have been somewhat of a disappointment for the Pailloncy brothers.

Thai Polo were drawn against King Power in the first round of qualifiers. Thai Polo’s patron Harald Link was regrettably sidelined through an injury sustained in the Subsidiary Final for The Bathurst Cup in The Bledisloe Warwickshire Cup, and was replaced by Gustav Rausing. This year is ‘Tal’ Srivaddhanaprabha’s King Power’s inaugural year in The Gold Cup, although the team are no strangers to the UK high goal – with a win in The Cartier Queen’s Cup Subsidiary Final this year already under their belts. King Power played excellently, and unfortunately Thai Polo were unable to gain the ground needed during the second half, which resulted in a final score of 6-0 in favour of King Power.

Thursday 25 June saw El Remanso’s first match drawn against Hilali Noordeen’s VPS Healthcare Sifani. The Hanbury borthers’ side El Remanso won 15-12.

Spectators were treated to a fabulous display of polo in the match between new Gold Cup entrant Michael Bickford with his La Indiana side, and King Power Foxes. La Indiana got off to a blistering start and led 3-1 at the close of the first chukka. However, by the sixth chukka the scores were 10-10, resulting in extra time. The seventh chukka saw both sides miss goals, before Facundo grabbed the ball and set-up for Gonzalito who bypassed Clarkin, and continuously accelerated to score a brilliant goal, which secured the match for King Power Foxes, 11-10.

To see the full list of scores and teams please click here.

Photograph: Zacara with Mariya Burton of Aspinal of London and The Midhurst Town Cup. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com