The 18 goal tournament continues in Dubai
The league matches of The Julius Baer Gold Cup continued over the weekend at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club.
On Saturday, Rashid Al Habtoor’s Mahra (Guy Gibrat, Joaquin Pittaluga and Nacho Gonzalez) led from the start in their match against the Edrees side (Sultan Edrees, Pablo llorente, Juan Ruiz Guinazu and Pierre Henri N’Goumou). The opening chukkas of the game were low-scoring, but Mahra then went on to secure a five goal lead and won the match 9 goals to 4. The second match of the afternoon saw Julius Baer Team by Habtoor (Mohammed Al Habtoor, Santiago Cernadas, Martin Iturraspe and Guillermo Cuitino) defeat Ghantoot (Nasser Al Shamsi, Felipe Llorente, Hugo Barabucci and Ale Muzzio) 9-4. The Habtoor side led in the first two chukkas, but their opposition enjoyed a good third to close the gap between the scores. However, they couldn’t defend their goal against an on-fire Guillermo Cuitino who, as well as celebrating his birthday, was playing an unbelievable game. Scoring all nine goals for his team, he led Habtoor to their win over Ghantoot.
Sunday, the sixth day of the 18 goal tournament, saw victories for the UAE (HH Sheikha Maitha, Lucas Monteverde, Santi Stirling and Ignacio Acuna) and Desert Palm II (Tariq Albwardy, Tom Brodie, Diego Cavanagh and Matias Zavaleta) teams. The UAE versus Abu Dhabi (Fairs Al Yabhouni, Alfredo Cappella, Juan Zavaleta and Felipe Ferrario) match was one of the most exciting in the tournament thus far, with both teams evenly matched and the scores close. In the fourth chukka, Abu Dhabi surged ahead to go into the last with a three-goal lead, however, UAE kept up the pressure and tied the scores at 9-all when the final bell rang. Forcing the match into overtime, it was HH Sheikha Maitha’s UAE side that capitalised on the opportunity and won the game 10-9.
The second game saw brothers, Rashid and Tariq Albwardy pitted against each other with their respective Desert Palm I (Rashid Albwardy, Facha Valent, Facundo Castagnola and Santiago Laborde) and Desert Palm II teams. Rashid’s side led in the first, notching up two goals which remained unanswered until the second chukka. They led again in the third and rode off the pitch at half-time with the score reading 4-2. However, Tariq’s Desert Palm II came alive in the second half, taking the lead for the first time in the fourth before going on to win the match, 9 goals to 8.
Polo continues tomorrow, Tuesday 3 March with Julius Baer by Habtoor versus Mahra, Bin Drai (Saeed Bin Drai, Agustin Canale, Manolo Fernandez-Llorente and Ral Laplacette) versus Edrees.
Photograph: The Mahra team (in blue) defeated the Edrees side in Saturday’s league game in The Julius Baer Gold Cup tournament, Dubai. By Gonzalo Etcheverry.