It was a strange and unpredictable day as the final games of preliminary play took place in the 2017 Cartier Queens Cup at the Guards Polo Club.
RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Tommy Beresford, Adolfo Cambiaso and Rodrigo Andrade) started the day with their fourth straight victory in a 11-7 win over La Bamba de Areco (Jean Francois Decaux, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr.) Wednesday afternoon at the Guards Polo Club.
La Bamba de Areco exploded for three first chukker goals to take a surprising 3-0 lead over the previously undefeated Adolfo Cambiaso-led RH Polo team. La Bamba de Areco team captain Jean Francois Decaux scored the first goal of the game followed by a goal from Diego Cavanagh as RH Polo struggled to find a rhythm to their play. Rodrigo Rued scored the final goal of the chukker in the final seconds for the 3-0 La Bamba de Areco advantage.
RH Polo wasted little time in getting back into the game in the second period. Brazilian 8-goaler Rodrigo Andrade scored the first goal of the chukker on a pass from Cambiaso, 3-1. Tommy Beresford followed with a 30-yad penalty conversion and a goal from the field that tied the game at three goals apiece, 3-3. An RH Polo foul in the final two seconds of the period sent saw Cavanagh convert a 40-yard penalty shot that kept La Bamba de Areco in the lead, 4-3.
The third chukker belonged to RH Polo with Andrade scoring his second goal of the day in the opening seconds of the chukker, and tying the game at 4-4. Cambiaso gave RH Polo their first lead of the game on an impressive 40-yard angle shot from hear the end line to make it 5-4. Cambiaso’s second goal of the period came in the final seconds of play, allowing RH Polo to ride off the field at the end of the first half on top of a 6-4 lead.
Two more RH Polo goals went unanswered in the fourth as La Bamba de Areco fell behind by four goals, 8-4. Adding to the woes of the French team, 6-goaler Rodrigo Rueda was injured and forced to leave the game as the chukker ended.
English 6-goaler George Meyrick replaced the injured Rueda in the lineup as the La Bamba de Areco as a determined La Bamba de Areco team returned to the field. Laprida scored twice for La Bamba de Areco while holding RH Polo scoreless for the second time on the day. The fifth chukker ended with La Bamba de Areco cutting the RH Polo lead back to just two goals, 8-6, with one period remaining in regulation time.
Cambiaso showed his polo prowess once again in the sixth period. Scoring twice from the field and once on a 40-yard penalty shot, Cambiaso extended the RH Polo lead to five goals, 11-6, with under a minute left on the game clock. George Meyrick scored the final goal of the game in a comfortable 11-7 RH Polo victory.
The win boosted the RH record to 4-0 to capture the league title and earn an automatic berth in the tournament semifinals while La Bamba de Areco drops to 1-3.
El Remanso 14, Monterosso 13
In one of two 4pm Queens Cup games on the day, El Remanso (Charlie Hanbury, Oliver Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) snuck past Monterosso (Alessandro Bazzoni, Ignacio Toccalino, Santiago Toccalino and Matt Perry) by the narrowest of margins in a 13-12 win.
El Remanso finished second in League I play and will face King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Charles Cooney, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) at noon on Saturday, June 10th.
Murus Sanctus 8, King Power 7
In what many considered to be the upset of the day, Murus Sanctus (Corinne Ricard, Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Sola and Martin Podesta) recorded an 8-7 win over the 2015 Queens Cup winner and the defending champion of the 2017 Gold Cup for the British Open, the King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Charles Cooney, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres).
After playing to a 1-1 first chukker tie, Murus Sanctus edged their way in front, 4-3 after the first half of the low-scoring contest.
Murus Sanctus expanded their lead to two goals, 7-5 in the fifth before hanging on for the 8-7 win.
Both Murus Sanctus and King Power will advance to semifinal-knockout action with Murus Sanctus playing Talandracas (Edouard Carmignac, Guillermo Caset, Pelon Stirling and Jack Hyde) at 3pm on Saturday and King Power preceding them in a noon match.
Sommelier 10, La Indiana 3
In the final preliminary game of the day, previously undefeated La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Luke Tomlinson) lost to Sommelier (George Hanbury, Juan Gris Zavaleta, Fred Mannix and Alec White) by a lopsided 10-3 score.
It must be understood that La Indiana had already clinched an automatic semifinal spot with their first-place finish in League I, and didn’t need the win, but a series of injuries to team members decimated a once powerful attack.
Former British team captain, Luke Tomlinson, was the first casualty, leaving the game with what was thought to be a pulled jockey muscle. Tomlinson was replaced by La Indiana team coach and former 8-goaler Ruki Baillieu. The second loss came when umpire Charles Seavill collided with Tincho Merlos, sending the former 10-goaler to the ground and suffering injures to his head and his wrist. Merlos left the game and was replaced by his nephew, Juan Cruz Merlos. La Indiana retreated into a preservation mode from that point on with Sommelier riding off with the 10-3 win.
By the end of the game, Merlos was feeling better and is expected to be back in the lineup for next Wednesday’s semifinal against the winner of the Murus Sanctus vs. Talandracas game. The status of Tomlinson is yet to be determined.