Excitement all the way as Cowdray Park’s King Power Gold Cup reaches knockout stage

The final day of group play in the 2020 King Power Gold Cup held large implications for the semi-final seedings, with Park Place Vaara securing their spot after defeating Monterosso 13-8.

By Janey Delow

Group play concluded at Cowdray Park Polo Club with a decisive 10-5 victory for Les Lions/Great Oaks against Thai Polo NW, leaving three teams tied with a 2-2 record in Zone B.

A balanced team attack for Park Place Vaara saw all four players score at least two goals. Hilario Ulloa excelled in a passing role, utilizing all three of his teammates to lead all players with five assists.

Monterosso struggled to match Park Place Vaara’s scoring from the field, shooting just 36% in the defeat. Perfect 4 for 4 penalty shooting along with an organized attack from the field led Park Place Vaara to the commanding 13-8 victory.

Foul trouble for Monterosso put them behind in the early stages of the game, conceding two penalty goals to Park Place Vaara. Guillermo Terrera broke through to cut the deficit in half, leaving Monterosso trailing 2-1 after the first chukka.

Park Place Vaara increased the pace for the remainder of the first half as Ulloa found both Juan Britos and Will Harper on the end of passes as part of a three-goal second chukka, extending Park Place Vaara’s lead to three.

Undeterred by the slow start, Monterosso responded before the end of the half, as their pressure forced Park Place Vaara into three fouls, leading to two penalty conversions for Ignacio Toccalino to end the half trailing 6-5.

A strong start to the second half for Park Place Vaara proved to be crucial in building a significant lead, with Britos leading the attack with two goals.

The balanced attack left Monterosso unable to slow all four players, conceding four goals in the fourth chukka and seeing their deficit grow to four.

A foul ridden fifth chukka prevented Monterosso from stringing together multiple goals, managing just one penalty conversion from Toccalino and leaving them trailing by five with just one chukka remaining. Effectively managing their lead, Park Place Vaara protected against any Monterosso runs to goal, maintaining their five-goal lead to complete the 13-8 victory and improve to a 3-1 record.

All eyes turned to the second game with Les Lions/Great Oaks and Thai Polo NW fighting for a victory to enter a shoot-out for a place in the semi-finals.

Making his 2020 debut in the King Power Gold Cup, Camilo Castagnola scored three goals alongside two goals from Dillon Bacon as part of a strong Les Lions/Great Oaks performance.

Limiting Thai Polo NW to 20% shooting on 3 for 15 shooting, Les Lions/Great Oaks’ organized defense led them to a convincing five-goal victory.

A back and forth start to the game saw possession change hands often, but it was Bartolome Castagnola that opened the scoring to give Les Lions/Great Oaks the 1-0 lead.

Two missed penalty attempts prevented them from increasing their lead in end-to-end action that produced numerous chances at goal, but just one goal each, leaving Les Lions/Great Oaks ahead by one goal.

Scoring just one goal from the field and the penalty line, Thai Polo NW struggled to effectively get in behind the Les Lions/great Oaks defense, leading to a counterattack that saw a goal each from Bartolome Castagnola, Camilo Castagnola and Dillon Bacon to end the half with a three-goal advantage.

After a slow first half, Thai Polo NW doubled their total on the scoreboard, converting a penalty 3 attempt, along with Ned Hine’s first goal of the game.

Foul trouble played a factor in the late stages of the game as any momentum for Thai Polo NW was slowed by four fouls in the fifth chukka that resulted in two penalty conversions for Les Lions/Great Oaks.

Holding a four-goal lead entering the final chukka, Les Lions/Great Oaks relied on their exceptional defense to limit the opportunities of Thai Polo NW and capture the 10-5 victory.

Improving to a 3-1 record, Les Lions/Great Oaks joined Park Place and Park Place Vaara in a shoot-out to determine the two teams moving directly to the semi-finals.

Taking five shots each from the 60-yard line, Park Place’s Gonzalito Pieres and Park Place Vaara’s Hilario Ulloa converted four of their five attempts, while Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Camilo Castagnola converted three of his five attempts, pushing his team into the quarter-finals in a rematch against Thai Polo NW.

* An exciting day of two quarter-final matches in the 2020 King Power Gold Cup began with an overtime thriller that was ultimately won 11-10 by Les Lions/Great Oaks over Thai Polo NW.

King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont
King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont

Securing the final spot in the semi-finals, Next Generation defeated Scone 13-10 at Cowdray Park Polo Club, setting the scene for Wednesday’s much anticipated semi-finals.

In a match determined by the narrowest of margins, Les Lions/Great Oaks narrowly claimed the victory behind the efforts of Camilo Castagnola, who excelled in his second game back to lead all players with eight goals.

Inaccurate shooting from the field, along with 16 fouls kept Les Lions/Great Oaks from separating themselves in the game, but in a game decided by the smallest of margins, Thai Polo NW converted just one of their final four penalty attempts in the heart breaking overtime loss. Foul trouble from the opening chukka for Les Lions/Great Oaks allowed Thai Polo NW to generate a consistent offense from the penalty line. Juan Martin Zubia began the game with perfect 3 for 3 penalty shooting to give Thai Polo NW the early lead.

Les Lions/Great Oaks continued to apply pressure in open play, outshooting Thai Polo NW 8-3 over the first two chukkas, but struggled to convert their opportunities, scoring just two field goals, one each from Dillon Bacon and Camilo Castagnola.

King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont
King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont

A foul ridden end to the first half saw a combined seven fouls in the third chukka, resulting in two penalty conversions for Camilo Castagnola to cut the deficit to one and leave Les Lions/Great Oaks trailing 5-4 at halftime.

Finding their stride from the field, Thai Polo NW started the second half strong, utilizing Ned Hine in the #1 position, who accounted for both his team’s goals to extend their lead to two. An efficient Les Lions/Great Oaks attack kept their team in the game, relying on the duo of Bacon and Camilo Castagnola in a three-goal fifth chukka.

However, foul trouble continued to be a factor as Thai Polo NW was sent to the penalty line for three attempts, but converted just one, leaving Les Lions/Great Oaks trailing by just one goal entering the final chukka. In quick succession, Les Lions/Great Oaks received a goal each from Santiago Laborde and Camilo Castagnola to race into the lead for the first time since the opening chukka.

On the following play, Zubia scored his seventh goal, sending the game into overtime. A tense overtime chukka saw end-to-end action as play carried on past three minutes. After a saved chance in front of goal, Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Bartolome Castagnola found Camilo Castagnola on a fresh horse in space, and in an impressive run to goal, he sent his team into the semi-finals with the thrilling 11-10 victory.

King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont
King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont

The last quarter-final saw Next Generation produce an exceptional first half and hold off a late push from Scone in the second half to capture the victory. Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso combined for 12 of their team’s 13 goals, executing a dynamic attack that shot 58% from the field.

The slow start for Scone was too much to overcome despite the efforts of Nico Pieres and James Harper, who finished with five and four goals respectively in the three-goal defeat.

Conceding one goal on handicap, Next Generation erased the deficit before the end of the first chukka, receiving one goal each from Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso to tie the game at two. Domination possession,

Next Generation built a significant lead by holding Scone to just two field goals throughout the entire first half. Keeping the ball in the attacking half, Next Generation continued to shoot at goal with the pressure paying off in the third chukka. Scoring four goals, three off the mallet of Poroto Cambiaso, Next Generation built a commanding 8-3 lead, leaving Scone in desperate need of offense in the second half.

King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont
King Power Gold Cup action continues at Cowdray Park / Picture: Mark Beaumont

Scone gained momentum in the fourth chukka, doubling their goal total, scoring three goals behind the efforts of Nico Pieres. Converting two penalty attempts while also assisting on a goal from Harper, Pieres quickly turned the five-goal deficit to just two as Next Generation was kept off the scoreboard.

Two clutch penalty shots from Adolfo Cambiaso allowed Next Generation to maintain control of the game, but Scone played at a fast pace and scored three goals for the second consecutive chukka thanks to two goals from Harper, pulling within one goal for an exciting conclusion.

Displaying his 10-goal status, Adolfo Cambiaso secured the victory for Next Generation, scoring back-to-back goals at the start of the sixth chukka, sending his team into the semi-finals with the 13-10 victory and winning the beautiful Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Trophy.

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