RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Ali Paterson, Rodrigo Andrade and Nicolas Pieres) scored the first goal of the day as they faced Zacara (Tom Brodie, Lyndon Lea, Lucas Monteverde and Pablo Macdonough) in the first round of play in the 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open at the Cowdray Park Polo Club but the balance of the first half was all Zacara. Goals from Pablo MacDonough, Lucas Monteverde and tom Brodie ended the first chukker with Zacara in front by two goals, 3-1.
RH Polo continued to struggle with their offense in the second period but Zacara remained in control of the game. A penalty shot by Pieres from 130-yrds hit the post and bounced over the end line, but that would be as close to scoring as they would come in the period. Two more goals from MacDonough extended the Zacara lead to four goals, 5-1.
There was no let-up from Zacara in the third as MacDonough continued to swing a hot mallet. Two more goals from the Argentine 10-goaler went unanswered as Zacara left the field at the end of the first half on top of a commanding 7-1 lead.
A refocused RH Polo team took control of the game in the opening minutes of the fourth chukker, with Argentine 9-goaler Nico Pieres scoring back-to-back goals that cut the Zacara lead down to four goals, 7-3, but that was as far as they would go. A red-hot Pablo MacDonough scored on a brilliantly-executed nearside neck-shot from near the end line and then added his seventh goal of the game on a long pass from Brodie to end the period with Zacara in the lead, 9-3.
The Zacara momentum continued to dominate the field as play got underway in the fifth chukker. Brodie followed up on a run to goal, scoring his second goal of the day and MacDonough continued scoring at a blistering pace as he added two more goals for a 12-3 advantage. For the third time in the last four chukkers RH Polo was unable to score and trailed by nine goals with one period left to be played.
An offensive spark in the sixth chukker resulted in opening goals from Ali Patterson and Rodrigo Andrade, but the push was late and fell far short. Zacara scored the final two goals of the chukker for a resounding 14-5 win to open their British Open season.
Clarke & Green 9, Apes Hill 6
Opening chukker play between Clarke & Green (Nick Clarke, Juan G. Zavaleta, Luke Tomlinson and John Paul Clarkin) and Apes Hill (Tom Beim, Mark Tomlinson, Eduardo N. Astrada and Alec White) was guarded with neither taking early control of the play. Two missed penalty shots for Apes Hill (Mark Tomlinson) frustrated early efforts but the Clarke & Green offense was equally non-productive. Australian 4-goaler Alec White scored he only goal of the chukker in the final minute of the period to give Apes Hill the early lead, 1-0.
Clarke & Green stormed onto the field, taking control of the balance of the first half and charging out to a 5-2 halftime lead.
Apes Hill tried to rally late in the game, cutting the Clarke & Green lead to two goals, 8-6, in the final period before giving up the final goal of the match in a 9-6 Clarke & Green victory.
Two British Open matches are scheduled to be played on Thursday, June 23rd with Cartier Queens Cup finalist La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Julian De Lusarreta) facing Britannia El Remanso (Charlie Hanbury, Ollie Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) in a 1pm contest followed by a match between the defending British Open championship King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Pepito Araya, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) and La Bamba de Areco (Jean Francois Decaux, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda) at 3pm.