El Remanso defeat VPS Sifani; King Power Foxes slide by La Indiana in OT

jaeger-le-coultre-gold-cup-2015-cowdray-park-polo-clubEl Remanso – 15
George Hanbury (3), Charlie Hanbury (4),
Ollie Cudmore (5), David Stirling (10)

VPS Sifani – 12
Hilali Noordeen (0), Max Charlton (7),
Agustin Merlos (9), Malcolm Borwick (6)

A delayed start marked the first match of VPS Healthcare Sifani’s inaugural Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup game, with team mates – Malcom Borwick (6), Max Charlton (7) and Tincho Merlos (9) – waiting for patron Hilali Nordeen. Eventually, a substitute – Cowdray based zero goaler Stephanie Haverhals – stepped in, wearing grey rather than white jeans, alongside the fourth VPS Healthcare Sifani shirt. It continued to be a game of firsts at Cowdray for team VPS Healthcare Sifani as they were also first to score, ending the chukka with three goals to El Remanso’s one.

With patron of the side Hilali Nordeen taking up the reins for chukka two the team in white continued to lead until El Remanso were able to draw level at 5 all in chukka three, then took the lead which they maintained right up to the half time bell. Chukka five was destined to be seven and a half minutes of constant running end to end, with scores going up on both sides and plenty of equalising, play was momentarily paused due to an injury to George Hanbury, however his florescent green hat was soon clearly visible as he mounted and re-joined his teammates and the chukka finally ended at 10 all.

Quickly regaining their lead with three rapid goals in number five (El Remanso – 13 vs. 10 – VPS Healthcare Sifani), by the bell there was only a goal in it as they headed into number six (13 vs. 12). The guys in blue however, George Hanbury (3), Charlie Hanbury (4), David Stirling (10) and Ollie Cudmore (5), were not keen to let anyone take away their lead away, soon stretching the gap by three goals to win (15-12). –Victoria Elsbury-Legg

King Power Foxes – 11 (OT)
Top Srivaddhanaprabha (1), Hugo Lewis (1),
Gonzalito Pieres (10), Facundo Pieres (10)

La Indiana – 10
Michael Bickford (1), James Beim (7),
John Paul Clarkin (8), James Harper (6)

Moving from Manor Farm 1 to Lawns 1, King Power Foxes (winners of the 2015 Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards) – patron Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha (1) and young English pro Hugo Lewis (1), together with the two ten goal Pieres brothers – Gonzalito and Facundo, took up the challenge set by Michael Bickford’s La Indiana – James Beim (7), John Paul Clarkin (8) and James Harper (6). Despite King Power Foxes scoring first, a great ride off on Gonzalito Pieres by England Captain James Beim enabled him to find the goal and put La Indiana into the lead at 2-1. Another field goal followed by another member of the England squad – James Harper, meaning La Indiana finished the first chukka 3-1 up.

Despite some fantastic field play in the second King Power were the only team to find a goal, bringing them within one of La Indiana’s now 3-2 lead. At the start of the third it was soon all the threes on the scoreboard at the start of the third as King Power Foxes equalised, then stole the lead, followed by two great field goals from the stick of the ten goaler as his brightly coloured purple hat flashed the length of the pitch above the bright blue shirt to put the Foxes well ahead going into the fourth at 6-3.

Chukka five brought with it fantastic play from James Harper, scoring three great field goals in quick succession to bring it back to a one goal game with La Indiana – 7 vs. 8 – King Power Foxes, going into the final chukka – and what a chukka it turned out to be. Rapidly, La Indiana equalised at 8-all, but Gonzalito Pieres was determined to keep the goal lead putting a 9 on his side of the board, only for La Indiana to equalise, then James Beim took La Indiana ahead at 10-9.

A surprising miss from a penalty taken by Facundo Pieres was rapidly rectified by a great goal from the ten goaler to once again draw level – this time at 10-all in the last ten seconds. It then looked like the match might go the way of La Indiana, as in the final seconds a penalty was awarded in their favour – only for the safety 60 (taken under great pressure and to gasps from the crowd) to be missed – sending the second game of day three of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup at Cowdray into a seventh chukka.

It was a truly exhilarating match on Lawns 1 going into a breath-taking extra chukka, with both teams looking to score and missing – and great play demonstrated by all on the pitch it was finally Gonzalito Pieres who found the golden Gold Cup goal to give King Power Foxes an 11-10 win. –Victoria Elsbury-Legg

INFO.: cowdraypolo.co.uk