Les Lions/Great Oaks vs Next Generation
This weekend, on Sunday 26 July at 3pm, all eyes will be upon Cowdray Park Polo Club for The King Power Gold Cup Final for The British Open, in one of the most anticipated Finals of the year as the mighty Argentine families of Castagnolas and Cambiasos go head-to-head. This is not the first time the two teams have faced each other in this year’s tournament, the very first match saw Les Lions/Great Oaks vs Next Generation, and so it seems like a twist of fate that the two teams who started the tournament will finish it.
When the teams last met on Wednesday 1 July it was Les Lions/Great Oaks who took a convincing 14-10 and no doubt they will be keen to repeat this success on Sunday. However, much has changed since those early days of the tournament – Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola was initially sidelined for the start of the tournament due to injury and was replaced by Alejandro Muzzio; despite the skill of muzzio there is much to be said for the brotherly symbiosis between Jeta and Barto Castagnola and Jeta’s return to the Les Lions/Great Oaks line-up on Wednesday 15 July has brought the team continued success with three subsequent wins under their belts.
The finalists were decided following the Semi Finals on Wednesday 22 July.
The first match of the day was between Park Place Vaara and Next Generation. Despite the Next Generation line-up suffering from a last-minute alteration, with an injured David ‘Pelon’ Stirling being replaced by the more than capable Diego Cavanagh, Next Generation claimed a 13-11 victory after an impressive three goal final chukka, which enabled them to lift The Ellerston Cup and also secure their place in Sunday’s Final. Poroto Cambiaso was named Best Playing Pony, with many who watched the match live via Cowdray TV praising his impressive talent, while Duet, owned by Pelon Stirling and ridden by Diego Cavanagh was the Best Playing Pony.
The second Semi Final saw a second defeat for the Park Place organisation as a strong team defence from Les Lions/Great Oaks meant Park Place had to fight for every opportunity. In the second half this defence was so strong, that Park Place’s Pieres powerhouses were stopped from scoring a single field goal. Despite this, Park Place still managed to keep themselves in the game and up until the final few seconds of the match the scores were tied at 9-9 with the finalist spot completely up for grabs. However, a long pass from Barto Castagnola to brother Jeta, who stormed through and sent the winning goal soaring through the posts, with is securing Les Lions/Great Oaks’ place in Sunday’s Final with a 10-9 win. Les Lions/Great Oaks also took home The Tramontana Cup and Jeta Castagnola was named Best Playing Pony. Lovelocks Ilusive, who also won the Polo Times Best Playing Pony award in The Prince of Wales Final, played by Gonzalito Pieres and owned by Park Place was the Best Playing Pony. Despite all matches currently being played behind closed doors, you can watch the Final live via Cowdray TV.
King Power Gold Cup Final Teams:
Les Lions/Great Oaks (22): Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola (7), Dillon Bacon (2), Barto Castagnola (7) & Santiago Laborde (6)
Next Generation (22): Jean-François Decaux (0), Diego Cavanagh (8) Adolfo Cambiaso Jnr (4) & Adolfo Cambiaso (10)
Photograph: Adolfo Cambiaso & Juan Britos going shoulder to shoulder in the Semi Finals. By Mark Beaumont