Les Lions/Great Oaks and Scone Advance to Semi-Finals
A thrilling day of quarter-final matches in the 2020 Cartier Queen’s Cup was highlighted by an 11-10 overtime victory for Les Lions/Great Oaks over Next Generation, avenging their loss in the King Power Gold Cup final. Earlier in the day, Scone impressed in their 12-8 win over Monterosso on the Queen’s Ground at Guards Polo Club.
The first quarter-final saw Scone’s Nico Pieres lead his team to victory, contributing on all 12 Scone goals with nine goals and three assists. Monterosso had their opportunities in the game but struggled to convert their chances from the field, scoring just one field goal through the first four chukkas despite 13 shot attempts. Along with an efficient 58% attack from the field, Scone converted 5 of their 6 penalty attempts to hold off a late push from Monterosso and claim the 12-9 victory.
An evenly matched seven minutes to begin the game saw the teams remain deadlocked at 2-2, with Scone receiving field goals from Pieres and James Harper, while Monterosso responded with one goal each from Ignacio Toccalino and Jeronimo del Carril. Monterosso’s struggles from the field began in the second chukka, missing all three shot attempts as part of a scoreless chukka, opening the door for Scone to take the lead. A penalty 4 conversion, as well as a field goal for Pieres pushed Scone’s lead to two, but the remainder of the first half saw Monterosso stay within reach despite three fouls in the third chukka. Trading penalty conversions, Scone and Monterosso kept the difference on the scoreboard at two, leaving Scone with the 5-3 advantage.
The inaccurate shooting caught up to Monterosso in the fourth chukka as their eleventh consecutive miss resulted in Scone building a consistent attack to increase their lead to five. David Paradice scored his first goal of the game from the field, while two more penalty conversions for Pieres left Scone just two chukkas away from victory. In desperate need of offense, a slow start to the fifth chukka for Monterosso all but sealed their fate, as their deficit grew to seven on back-to-back goals from Pieres. Ending the 8-1 run, Monterosso’s Ignacio Toccalino scored three goals in quick succession to give Monterosso some hope, but even another three-goal chukka to end the game was not enough for Monterosso to challenge a Scone team that completed the 12-9 victory to claim a spot in the semi-finals.
Attention turned to the highly anticipated re-match of the King Power Gold Cup final between Les Lions/Great Oaks and Next Generation. In a game that could have gone either way, overtime was needed to determine the victor with Camilo Castagnola scoring the winning goal in traffic, just over a minute into the extra chukka. 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso was forced from the game after the fourth chukka, replaced by Juan Martin Zubia who performed admirably with one goal and an assist, but the quick push in overtime from Les Lions/Great Oaks and the eight-goal performance from Camilo Castagnola led Les Lions/Great Oaks to the exciting 11-10 victory.
Applying the early pressure in the game, Les Lions/Great Oaks kept the ball in the attacking half throughout the first chukka, outshooting Next Generation 4-0, but they were unable to take the lead as the field goal from Camilo Castagnola was answered on a penalty 3 conversion from Adolfo Cambiaso. The back and forth game carried over into the second chukka with Next Generation using their offense from the penalty line to keep pace with the duo of Camilo and Bartolome Castagnola who contributed a field goal each. Held to just three shots the entire first half, Next Generation fell behind before the end of the half due to the lack of offense to keep pace with the potent Les Lions/Great Oaks attack. In one of his best games to date this season, Camilo Castagnola added two more goals, one from both the field and the penalty line, giving Les Lions/Great Oaks the 5-3 advantage.
Entering the tournament as the leading scorer from the field, Poroto Cambiaso was held off the scoreboard, leaving his three teammates to pick up the scoring, which they did in the fourth chukka. Led by three goals from Diego Cavanagh and one from Jean-Francois Decaux, Next Generation quickly turned a two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, setting up a thrilling finish. Leaving the game during the break after the fourth chukka, Adolfo Cambiaso was replaced by Juan Martin Zubia, changing the dynamic of the game with Next Generation down their 10-goaler for the final two chukkas. Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola capitalized with a goal each to push the game into an 8-8 tie. Making an impact, Zubia’s lone goal gave Next Generation the 10-9 lead with time running out, but a quick response from Camilo Castagnola sent the game into overtime. A minute and twenty seconds in, a determined Les Lions/Great Oaks attack placed the ball in front of goal, and in traffic, Camilo Castagnola sent the ball through the goal for his eighth goal, sending Les Lions/Great Oaks into the semi-finals with the thrilling 11-10 victory.
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
Photo credit – Images of Polo