Scone Polo 10 – 9 MT Vikings on The Queen’s Ground, Guards Polo Club
The final league match of the 2020 Cartier Queen’s Cup delivered a thrilling game on The Queen’s Ground, with both teams fighting for every point in all six chukkas. There was so much to play for. A win for Scone Polo would see them finish second in League One and avoid a three-way penalty shootout alongside MT Vikings and Les Lions/Great Oaks. Meanwhile MT Vikings knew that they needed the win this afternoon to have any chance of being in Saturday’s main quarter-finals. MT Vikings were joined for the first time by their patron Siri Bazzoni who was recovering from injury. It was great to have her back with her team but she had to retire after a couple of chukkas and her place was again taken by Holly Butler, who has been so impressive in defence for the Vikings. They were also without Sebastian Merlos as he had been given a red card in their last match. His place was taken by Ignacio Toccalino who plays for Siri’s husband’s Monterosso team.
Despite the personnel changes there was no air between these teams for the first half of the game and with the scores reading 5-5 at half-time there was a strong possibility that this game may head into extra time. However a penalty in favour of Scone gave last year’s tournament winners a narrow advantage (7-6) going into the fifth chukka. Nico Pieres, who scored eight goals in this match, was on fire in this chukka, delivering two impressively long-distance shots to goal to stretch Scone’s lead by three goals (9-6). Ironically James Beim, who last year was a member of the Scone Polo Team, brought MT Vikings back into this game in this chukka, scoring himself and then delivering a lovely pass to Juan Martin Zubia to take the score to 9-8 at the end of the chukka. Zubia had another strong game for MT Vikings, scoring the majority of their goals today. With Toccalino levelling the scores at the start of the sixth this game remained wide open. Sadly another of his shots on goal went wide while James Harper pounced on a loose ball and drove that through the flags to put Scone ahead once more. With time disappearing, Toccalino and Pieres both put shots wide and so victory was Scone’s when the final bell rang out. This sets Scone Polo up with a quarter-final match against Monterosso, and Toccalino, this Saturday. Meanwhile MT Vikings move to the subsidiary quarters on the Sunday where they will play Polo Stud Schockemohle.
Park Place Vaara 11 – 10 Les Lions/Great Oaks on The Castle Ground at Flemish Farm
Talk about save the best until last. Park Place Vaara had surprised us all in this tournament by failing to win a single game. Not today. Juan Britos and young team-mate Tommy Marin Moreno were transformed, scoring five and four goals respectively in this match. What is even more remarkable about this game is that neither team got on to the scoreboard until the third chukka. Unheard of in a high-goal game. Maybe Les Lions/Great Oaks, like us, were surprised by Park Place Vaara’s change of pace. Whatever the reason Les Lions/Great Oaks were trailing by one goal at half-time (7-6). A win for them today would have seen them battle in a three-way penalty shootout this evening with Thai Polo and Scone Polo so there was still all to play for. Barto Castagnola started to restore Les Lions/Great Oaks morale almost immediately into the sixth by firing through a penalty. We held our breath – was this the moment when fortunes changed? Park Place Vaara were now ahead by just one goal, 11-10 but scores can change rapidly at this level. However, despite some frantic play from both teams there were no further goals. Park Place Vaara may have won the day on the Castle Ground at Flemish Farm but still head to the subsidiary quarter-finals on Sunday where they will play Segavas. Meanwhile Les Lions/Great Oaks will find themselves in a re-run of last month’s Cowdray Park Gold Cup final when they face their nemesis Next Generation on Saturday afternoon.
|Sat 15th||Match A||12pm||Scone Polo||v||Monterosso Polo Team|
|Match B||3pm||Next Generation||v||Les Lions/Great Oaks|
|Sun 16th||The Gerard Leigh Cup*|
|Match C||12pm||MT Vikings||v||Polo Stud Schockemöhle|
|Match D||3pm*||Segavas||v||Park Place Vaara|
Photos by Images of Polo