The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Final at Cowdray Park Polo Club
The Final of The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup at Cowdray Park Polo Club was a fight to the finish between UAE Polo and King Power Foxes with end to end galloping polo. UAE started well, winning a penalty in the first 30 seconds, which Macdonough converted with ease to open the scores. Facundo answered the goal for King Power Foxes almost immediately out of the lineout to even the score 1-1 in the first few minutes. The teams looked well matched in the initial stages and UAE had been on fine form, with Macdonough ploughing through the opposition from day one in the tournament to secure their place in the Final. The first chukka ended with both teams having scored two goals each. In the second chukka, King Power Foxes steamed ahead as UAE failed to score at all, despite plenty of chances at goal and Macdonough playing his famous Electo, a mare he had scored four goals on in the Semi Final. The chukka ended 5-2. The third chukka started in much the same vein, as Gonzalito fired out of the starting blocks to make the score 6-2. UAE won a penalty 2, which Macdonough converted to take their score to 6-3, towards the end of the chukka he also converted a spot hit to close the gap 6-4. The end of the chukka saw a glorious goal set up by the only Englishman on the pitch, Hugo Lewis for his teammate Gonzalito to score after running the length of the pitch to make it 7-4. Chukka four was a foul affair, with whistles and a dramatic fall for Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha, which left the thousands of spectators holding their breath, but after a short break Top got up from his fall but it was decided that Kian Hall would finish the game in his place. Both teams managed another goal each in this chukka which ended 8-5 still in favour of King Power Foxes. In the fifth chukka Facundo came out on his mare Cube, winner of The Cartier Queen’s Cup Best Playing Pony Award, a pony he has on average scored two goals a chukka on and his team certainly didn’t fail to achieve, as they powered on to a score of 10-7. Peter Wright caused a little confusion as he cantered off the pitch after a goal by Facundo, only to return to the field with a new whistle and a few laughs from the stands having broken his own whistle. The final chukka was an incredible display of skill, pony power and a thirst for winning from both sides. The score was close enough that UAE could still have won with a flurry of goals or at worst pushed the game into extra time. Young Hugo Lewis had other ideas, as he steamed up and down the ground scoring not one but two goals. Facundo also added on another two goals, whilst Macdonough was left to try and pick up the pace for UAE. But as the clock ticked he only managed one goal as the final whistle went and King Power Foxes won the Final 14-8, their second top title of the UK high goal season. Facundo Pieres was presented The Most Valuable Player Award by Zahra Kassim-Lakha and The Twisted Best Playing Pony Award was presented to Pablo Macdonough’s mare Davina by Alex Duckett.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Final teams:
King Power Foxes (22): Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha (1), Hugo Lewis (1), Gonzalito Pieres (10) & Facundo Pieres (10)
UAE (22): Jose Ramon Araya (0), Santiago Stirling (4), Lucas Monteverde (8) & Pablo Macdonough (10)
The Most Valuable Player: Facundo Pieres
The Twisted Best Playing Pony: Davina, owned and played by Pablo Macdonough
Photograph: The King Power Foxes team with their crew celebrate winning The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Final