By Alex Webbe
Led by five goals from English 7-goaler Luke Tomlinson, Clarke & Green (Nick Clarke, Juan G. Zavaleta, Luke Tomlinson and John Paul Clarkin) managed to eke out an 8-7 overtime win over RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Ali Paterson, Rodrigo Andrade and Nicolas Pieres) Saturday afternoon in the opening day’s Gold Cup for the British Open at the Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Tomlinson opened the scoring for Clarke & Green with the first goal of the game, 1-0. Ali Patterson responded with a goal for RH Polo that tied the game at 1-1 at the end of the first chukker.
Second chukker goals from Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo Andrade and Nico Pieres (60-yard penalty conversion) had RH Polo in the lead, 3-1. Tomlinson converted a penalty shot for the final goal of the period to trail RH Polo, 3-2.
In a daring third period play, Tomlinson stole the ball from Pieres at a flat run and raced nearly 200-yards down the field to score the tying goal, 3-3. Tomlinson’s second goal of the chukker gave Clarke & Green a 4-3 edge. Juan Gris Zavaleta extended the lead to two goals, 5-3, as he stole the ball from Pieres to score and give Clarke & Green the two goal halftime advantage.
Zavaleta stretched the lead to three goals, 6-3, with the opening score of the second half. Pieres converted a 60-yard penalty shot for the only other goal of the chukker. Clarke & Green continued to lead, 6-4.
Andrade fired up the RH Polo team with back-to-back goals in the fifth. The RH Polo defense held Clarke & Green scoreless for the first time all day, and left the field deadlocked at 6-6.
Tomlinson opened the sixth period with a go-ahead goal, but RH Polo fought back. A goal from Pieres leveled the score for the fourth time on the day and ended regulation play all even at 7-7, forcing a sudden-death overtime chukker.
The overtime period was brief, with Zavaleta breaking free and scoring the winning goal for Clarke & Green for their second consecutive win and a perfect 2-0 record. The loss was the second for RH Polo in as many outings leaving them with a disappointing 0-2 record.
Tomlinson led the field with five goals. Zavaleta added three goals, including the game winner. Andrade and Pieres scored three goals apiece for RH Pol. Patterson added a goal in a losing effort.
Apes Hill 9, Talandracas 6
Wind and showers greeted Talandracas (Edouard Carmignac, Pablo Pieres, Tommy Beresford and Sapo Caset) and Apes Hill (Tom Beim, Mark Tomlinson, Eduardo N. Astrada and Alec White) as they faced one another in the second British Open match of the day, but by the time the second half got started the weather cleared and a bright sun warmed up the enthusiastic spectators as they watched Apes Hill level their record at 1-1 with a second half win.
Polito Pieres opened the scoring for Talandracas but Apes Hill stormed back. A pair of goals from Mark Tomlinson had Apes Hill in the lead, 2-1. Pieres scored the final goal of the period for a 2-2 tie.
The scoring was muted in the second period with Alec White scoring for Apes Hill. Tommy Beresford kept the score level with the final goal of the chukker, 3-3.
Third chukker goals were scarce with Pieres managing the only score of the period. After three chukkers of play it was Talandracas on top of a 4-3 score.
A determined Apes Hill pressed the attack in the fourth period. Goals from Tom Beim and White went unanswered as Apes hill took the lead, 5-4.
Talandracas continued to attack the Apes Hill goal, with Caset tying the game at 5-5 with the opening goal of the fifth chukker, 5-5. Apes Hill, however, was on a roll. Eduardo Novillo Astrada scored twice and White added his third goal of the day. With one chukker left in regulation play, Apes Hill was leading by three goals, 8-5.
Astrada’s third goal of the afternoon stretched the Apes Hill lead to four goals, 9-5, as the team focused on defense. Pieres managed a single goal but it wasn’t going to be enough. Apes Hill recorded their first win of the tournament and leveled their record at 1-1. The loss was the second for Talandracas, 0-2.
Astrada and White set the offensive pace for Apes Hill with three goals each. Tomlinson added two goals and Beim was credited with a goal in the win. Pieres led the field with four goals for Talandracas. Caset and Beresford each scored once in the loss.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup competition continues on Sunday with La Bamba de Areco (Jean Francois Decaux, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda) battling HB Polo Team (Ludovic Pailloncy, Ignacio Toccalino, Pelon Stirling and Sebastien Pailloncy) in a 1pm contest. La Bamba de Areco (0-1) will be looking for their first win of the tournament while HB Polo (1-0) will attempt to remain undefeated.
France’s Corinne Ricard and her Murus Sanctus team (Corinne Ricard, Manuel Elizalde, Facundo Sola and Alfredo Cappella) will debut against the Cowdray Vikings (George Pearson, Chris Mackenzie, Jack Richardson and Alejandro Novillo Astrada) in the 3pm game.