By Alex Webbe
Zacara (Jack Hyde/Juan Jose de Alba, Lyndon Lea, Lucas Monteverde and Pablo MacDonough) hasn’t had an easy time of it over the course of the 2016 Cartier Queens Cup although they won their first two games by identical 13-9 scores (RH Polo and Sifani). They suffered a devastating 15-9 loss to defending champion King Power Foxes and needed to win a penalty shootout to earn a quarterfinal berth in spite of their 2-1 record. Things got no easier for them on Sunday as they took the field against RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Pepito Araya, Nico Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade), a team that had won only one previous game in the tournament and one that they had previously beaten (13-9).
Jack Hyde, two-time winner of the Talacrest Young Player Award, injured his hand during practice earlier in the week and was forced to lead after the first two minutes of play. He was replaced by Juan Jose de Alba, and Zacara played on.
Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo Andrade scored the first goal of the day for RH Polo followed by a 60-yard penalty conversion (Safety) from 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough to tie it at 1-1. MacDonough added a goal from the field to give Zacara the early 2-1 lead after the opening chukker of play.
Zacara extended the lead to 4-2 with a couple of second chukker goals while Nico Pieres responded with a goal from the field for RH Polo.
RH Polo put on a show in the third period that held Zacara scoreless while Pieres added three goals (one on a 60-yard penalty shot) to the RH Polo total. At the end of the first half Zacara found themselves trailing RH Polo, 5-4.
Both defenses tightened up in as the second half began, but RH Polo was on the attack. Missed scoring opportunities by Ben Soleimani and Andrade cost them as Zacara’s Lucas Monteverde scored the only goal of the chukker and tied the game at 5-5.
Lyndon Lea scored the first goal of the fifth chukker and gave the lead to Zacara, 6-5. MacDonough converted a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal to make it 7-5 before RH Polo responded. Pieres scored the final goal of the period on a 40-yard penalty conversion but it was Zacara in the lead, 7-6.
J.J. de Alba scored his first game of the day to open the sixth chukker, regaining the two goal lead for Zacara, 8-6, but RH Polo fought back. Peres converted a 7-yard penalty shot for a goal, 8-7. Zacara countered with a goal from the field from MacDonough, 9-7, but RH Polo continued to press their attack. Pieres converted a 30-yard penalty shot with just over two minutes left on the clock, 9-8, and added the tying goal to end the period and force a sudden-death overtime chukker.
After a brief intermission to allow the players to retrieve fresh mounts, the two teams returned to the field with RH Polo going immediately on the attack. Zacara took control of the ball, however, and while attacking the RH Polo goal were fouled resulting in MacDonough converting a 30-yard penalty shot for the winning goal, 10-8.
The victory boosts Zacara into Wednesday’s semifinal game against Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Kian Hall, Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero) at noon.
La Indiana 16, Sifani 7
Earlier in the day, a fast-developing La Indiana polo team (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Julian de Lusarreta) ran over Sifani (Hilali Noordeen, Juan Gris Zavaleta, J.P. Clarkin and Luke Tomlinson) in a 16-7 romp at Billingbear Park. The victory secured La Indiana a spot in Wednesday’s semifinal of the Cartier Queens Cup while eliminating Sifani from the competition.
Sifani received one goal by handicap and made it 2-0 on a 60-yard penalty conversion from Luke Tomlinson. Consecutive goals from Nic Roldan and La Indiana team captain Michael Bickford tied the game at 2-2, but Sifani wasn’t through yet. A goal from the field from Juan Gris Zavaleta and a 40-yard penalty goal from Tomlinson had Sifani taking the early lead, 4-2.
A determined La Indiana line-up stormed the field in the second chukker, playing playing shutout defense and scoring four straight goals to take the lead. Roldan opened the scoring on a well-executed neck-shot that was followed by a pair of penalty goals from Merlos that gave them their first lead of the game, 5-4. Julian de Lusarreta closed out the chukker with an impressive backhander from a steep angle that extended the La Indiana lead to two goals, 6-4.
Both defences stepped it up in the third period with Zavaleta scoring the first goal of the chukker to bring Sifani to within one goal of the lead, 6-5. Roldan scored the only other goal of the period as he followed up de Lusaretta and drove the ball through the goalposts on a nearside shot to maintain the two goal advantage at the end of the first half, 7-5.
La Indiana was on fire when they took the field for the second half of play. Merlos opened the scoring with a goal from the field followed by a goal from Bickford. Merlos worked the ball the length of the field with Roldan driving it through the posts, extending the La Indiana lead to five goals, 10-5. Roldan added another from the field and Merlos converted a short penalty shot for a goal that had Sifani trailing by seven goals, 12-5.
Tomlinson converted a 60-yard penalty shot to open the scoring in a static fifth chukker as Sifani cut the La Indiana lead to six goals, 12-6, but no rally ensued. A streaking Roldan scored the only other goal of the period on a well-places booming pass from Merlos, giving La Indiana a commanding seven goal lead, 13-6, to end the chukker.
There was no let up from La Indiana as they charged into the sixth period of the game. Roldan took the opening throw-n 150-yards down the field for his seventh goal of the game following by scoring efforts from de Lusarreta and Merlos that had La Indiana on top by ten goals, 16-6. Zavaleta scored the final goal of the game in the closing seconds as La Indiana celebrated the win and a trip to Wednesday’s semi-finals.
Roldan led all scoring with seven goals. Merlos scored five times (three on penalty conversions). Bickford and de Lusarreta each scored twice for the win. Zavaleta and Tomlinson each scored three goals for Sifani (all three of Tomlinson’s came on penalty conversions), and the team received one goal by handicap.
The victory will send La Indiana against the defending championship King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Pepito Araya, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) in a 4pm Wednesday semifinal match.