By Alex Webbe
A concerted team effort by a La Indiana team (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Julian De Lusarreta) that concentrated on passes and team play shocked the powerful Valiente lineup (Bob Jornayvaz, Ralph Richardson, Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero) Monday afternoon at the Cowdray Park Polo Club Monday afternoon as they raced out to an overpowering 6-1 halftime lead before securing a devastating 10-4 win in the second round of play in the 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open.
It wasn’t the first time La Indiana faced Cambiaso and Nero, narrowly losing to them (11-10) as members of the Dubai team in the final of the Cartier Queens Cup last month, but the sheer dominance of La Indiana was awe inspiring.
In a tightly-contested opening chukker it was Nic Roldan with the opening goal that gave La Indiana the early 1-0 lead. Nero tied the game in the bottom half of the chukker for a 1-1 tie.
La Indiana’s coordinated passing game kept every member of the team involved in the attack with Julian de Lusarreta scoring twice. An aggressive La Indiana defense held Valiente scoreless as Cambiaso missed converting a couple of penalty shots. After two periods of play La Indiana led, 3-1.
The situation didn’t improve for Valiente as the game played on. Three more third chukker goals went unanswered as Roldan added a goal and Agustin Merlos scored twice. Penalty sho0ting continued to plague Valiente as Cambiaso missed again from 60-yards out. At the end of the first half La Indiana found themselves sitting on top of a five goal, 6-1 lead.
Merlos opened the scoring in the second half with a 40-yard penalty conversion to make it 7-1. Cambiaso converted a short penalty shot for Valiente’s first goal of the second half and only their second of the game. The final goal of the chukker came from de Lusarreta who stretched the La Indiana lead to six goals, 8-2.
The scoring was muted in the fifth period with both teams concentrating on defense. De Lusarreta’s fourth goal of the game had La Indiana in the lead by seven goals, 9-2, with one chukker remaining in regulation play.
Valiente showed signs of life in the opening minutes of the sixth chukker. Nero scored twice, cutting the La Indiana lead to five goals, 9-4, but time was against them. Roldan scored the final goal of the game on a long pass from Merlos as La Indiana remained undefeated at 2-0 after beating up on a bewildered Valiente team, 10-4.
British Open play is scheduled to continue on Tuesday with a 3pm game between Zacara (J.J. de Alba, Lyndon Lea, Lucas Monteverde and Pablo Macdonough) and the 2015 British Open defending championship King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Pepito Araya, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres). Both teams enter the contest with identical 1-0 records as round two of play continues.
By Alex Webbe