By Alex Webbe
Rain didn’t appear to dampen the day for them as previously winless RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Ali Patterson, Rodrigo Andrade and Nico Pieres) kept close to Britannia El Remanso (Charlie Hanbury, Ollie Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) close in the final chukkers of their Tuesday afternoon in the knockout phase of the Cartier Queens Cup match before upsetting them in a 10-9 nail-biter that sends them to the tournament quarterfinals.
The opening chukker was all Britannia El Remanso as they rang up three first chukker goals while holding RH Polo scoreless. El Remanso ended the chukker on top, 3-0.
A strong second period from RH Polo saw them trade goals with El Remanso, 4-1, before Nico Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade each added a goal to bring them to within a goal of the lead, 4-3.
Andrade scored on a well-placed pass from Pieres to tie the game at 4-4, but El Remanso battled back. A goal from the field from Charlie Hanbury and a 30-yard penalty conversion from James Beim ended the first half with El Remanso in control of the lead, 6-4.
A 40-yard penalty goal from James Harper extended the El Remanso lead to three goals, 7-4, but there was still life left in RH Polo. A long blast by Pieres cut the lead back to two goals, 7-5, and a goal from Andrade in the final seconds of the chukker brought RH Polo back to within a goal of El Remanso, 7-6.
Pieres wasted little time in setting the pace for the fifth chukker, scoring the tying goal, 7-7. James Beim countered with a goal from El Remanso that gave them back the lead, 8-7. Andrade tied the game at 8-8 mon an impossible angle shot from the backline and Pieres gave RH Polo their first lead of the game on a 200-plus yard run to make it 9-8.
With both teams clamouring for the ball, El Remanso took advantage of an RH Polo foul, converting from 30-yards out to level the score again at 9-9. Neither team was able to mount a successful run at goal until Pieres stole the ball from inside of midfield and raced down the field to give the lead back to RH Polo, with little 1:30 on the game clock. El Remanso tried to control the ball and headed toward the RH Polo goalpost when the ball was cleared to the sideboards. Both teams fought for control of the ball but precious time was being eaten up. A drive was made by RH Polo as the final bell sounded in the 10-9 RH Polo victory.
The win is the first of the season for a fast-developing RH Polo team who lost consecutive games in the 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge at the Cowdray Park Polo Club, and atoned for their 10-9 loss to El Remanso in that tournament. The win will send them to face Zacara (Jack Hyde, Lyndon Lea, Lucas Monteverde and Pablo MacDonough) in quarterfinal play on Sunday, June 5th at the Guards Polo Club at 3pm.
The knockout phase of the tournament continues on will begin on Wednesday with HB Polo (Ludovic Pailloncy, Ignacio Toccalino, Pelon Stirling and Sebastien Pailloncy) battling Valiente at 11am. La Bamba de Areco (Jean-Francois Decaux, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr.) is scheduled to meet Talandracas (Eduard Carmignac, Tommy Beresford, Polito Pieres and Sapo Caset) in a 1pm encounter; with Apes Hill (George Hanbury/TBA, Mark Tomlinson, Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Alex White) taking on Sifani (Hilali Noordeen, Juan Gris Zavaleta, J>P> Clarkin and Luke Tomlinson) in a 3pm match.