Quarter-Finals Set in 2020 Cartier Queen’s Cup
The final day of group play in the 2020 Cartier Queen’s Cup featured two matches decided by one goal beginning with Park Place Vaara capturing their first victory of the tournament, defeating Les Lions/Great Oaks 11-10. An exciting second match resulted in Scone narrowly defeating MT Vikings 10-9 on the Queen’s Ground at Guards Polo Club, concluding group play to set the scene for Saturday’s quarter-finals.
The first game of the day featured Park Place Vaara’s best performance of the tournament, relying on the early penalty shooting of Juan Britos, who finished a perfect 5 for 5 from the penalty line in the game. The disciplined Park Place Vaara team kept Les Lions/Great Oaks off the penalty line, where Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola have excelled, capturing the exciting 11-10 victory thanks to four field goals on a strong performance from Tommy Moreno.
Conceding one goal on handicap, Les Lions/Great Oaks tied the scoring in the opening moments of the game on a field goal from Santiago Laborde, but Park Place Vaara responded with a run of three unanswered goals, including two goals from Moreno to take a commanding three-goal lead. Moreno continued to be an early story in the match, scoring his third goal for Park Place Vaara but before the end of the second chukka, Les Lions/Great Oaks utilized a balanced attack that saw one goal each from Bartolome Castagnola, Camilo Castagnola and Laborde. Finding their stride, Les Lions/Great Oaks closed the gap to one at the end of the first half, led by a goal and an assist from Bartolome Castagnola.
Foul trouble for Les Lions/Great Oaks in the fourth chukka sent Britos back to the penalty line, where he continued to convert every opportunity, scoring his fourth and fifth penalty goals of the match. Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola continued toe xecute their two-man game, assisting on the other’s field goal, but Les Lions/Great Oaks saw their deficit increase to two entering the fifth chukka. Bartolome Castagnola’s fourth goal of the game was quickly responded to by Hilario Ulloa, who’s only goal of the game proved to be the difference. A defensive sixth chukka saw Park Place Vaara protect their lead and prevent Les Lions/Great Oaks from tying the score as they captured the first win with the 11-10 victory.
In arguably the closest game of the tournament, MT Vikings and Scone battled throughout the final game of group play, scoring the same amount of goals in every chukka but one, with the one goal difference in the fourth chukka proving to be the only difference in the game. Outshooting MT Vikings 17-11, Scone overcame foul trouble in the first half to narrowly capture the 10-9 victory in part due to the impressive eight goal performance from Nico Pieres.
Alternating goals in the first chukka, Scone excelled from the field receiving goals from Pieres and Oliver Cudmore but struggled to keep MT Vikings off the penalty line where Juan Martin Zubia converted two of his three attempts to tie the score at 2-2. Held to zero field goals in the opening two chukkas, MT Vikings continued to keep pace with Scone due to the penalty shooting of Zubia, scoring his third penalty goal to restore the 3-3 tie. Leading their respective teams, Pieres and Zubia accounted for all but one of the ten goals in the first half as the score remained deadlocked at 5-5 with neither team able to separate themselves in the game.
Foul trouble for MT Vikings ultimately resulted in Scone taking the first lead of the game, converting two penalties while conceding just one field goal to MT Vikings’ James Beim. Holding the 7-6 lead, Scone’s Pieres continued to be an offensive force, extending the lead to two, but Beim responded for a second time to keep MT Vikings within one. In a crucial stretch of the game, Pieres scored three consecutive goals, leaving Scone with a three-goal lead and only one and a half chukka remaining. In a quick switch of momentum, MT Vikings converted a three-goal run of their own, including the final one from Ignacio Toccalino, replacing Sebastian Merlos for the second game. With the score tied and time running out, James Harper came forward to score the game-winning goal, sending Scone into the quarter-finals with the exciting 10-9 victory.
Park Place and Thai Polo advance directly to the semi-finals, while Scone meets Monterosso and Next Generation faces Les Lions/Great Oaks in a King Power Gold Cup final rematch to highlight Saturday’s quarter-finals.
All matches remain behind closed doors but every game is being filmed and can be viewed LIVE via a pay per view service at guardspoloclub.com/guards-tv.
|Juan Martin Zubia
Photos – Images of Polo