Les Lions/Great Oaks Win in Overtime Again to Meet Park Place in Cartier Queen’s Cup Final
Facing elimination for the second time in the 2020 Cartier Queen’s Cup, Les Lions/Great Oaks needed overtime again, defeating Thai Polo 11-10 in an exciting conclusion to the first semi-final on the Queen’s Ground. A dominant 14-8 victory by Park Place over Scone in the second semi-final secured their spot in Sunday’s final, setting the scene for a memorable Sunday at Guards Polo Club.
After a slow start to the match, Les Lions/Great Oaks displayed an impressive defence that limited Thai Polo to just two field goals over the final five chukkas, including just 24% shooting in the game. Controlling possession, Les Lions/Great Oaks generated high quality scoring opportunities and efficiently converted 8 of their 13 attempts, five of which came from Camilo Castagnola in what proved to be the difference. A clean, fast-paced game came down to the final seconds with Thai Polo overcoming their stagnant offense to tie the score late, but just moments into overtime, Bartolome Castagnola sent Les Lions/Great Oaks into the final with his second goal of the game to complete the 11-10 victory.
Holding a two-goal advantage on handicap, Thai Polo wasted zero time in applying the early pressure to try and extend the lead. After conceding a penalty 4 conversion to Camilo Castagnola, Tommy Beresford scored back-to-back goals to give Thai Polo the early 4-1 lead. The exciting opening chukka continued to produce scoring as Bartolome Castagnola quickly responded with his first goal, but Thai Polo restored the three-goal lead when Ned Hine broke through to end the chukka. A determined Les Lions/Great Oaks team began to chip away at the deficit, beginning on the defensive end where they kept Thai Polo off the scoreboard in the second and third chukkas. Camilo Castagnola was the impact player in Les Lions/Great Oaks’ attack, accounting for all three of his team’s goals to end the first half. Turning a 5-2 deficit into a 5-5 tie, Les Lions/Great Oaks set up an exciting second half with the winner advancing to the final.
Continuing where they left off, Les Lions/Great Oaks completed a run of five unanswered goals to begin the second half on goals from Camilo Castagnola and Santiago Laborde. Held off the scoreboard for the third consecutive chukka, Thai Polo saw their scoreless streak extend past 20 minutes of play as they were in desperate need of offense with two chukkas remaining. Jack Richardson ended the drought on the assist from Beresford, and the increased pressure from Thai Polo quickly resulted in a penalty 2 conversion that tied the game at 7-7. Excelling in their two-man game, Bartolome Castagnola found Camilo Castagnola to push Les Lions/Great Oaks back ahead by one entering the sixth chukka. After a scoreless few minutes to start the chukka, Michel del Carril found an opportune time for his first goal, but seconds later, Camilo Castagnola gave Les Lions/Great Oaks the lead back. With time running out, a late Thai Polo attack resulted in a penalty 2 chance to tie the game and Beresford converted to send the game into overtime. In one of the best goals of the tournament, Bartolome Castagnola raced past the Thai Polo defence on his nearside, only to cut back in and convert the neckshot to begin the Les Lions/Great Oaks celebration as they advanced to the final with the thrilling 11-10 overtime victory.
All eyes turned to the second semi-final as Park Place scored the first five goals to take control of the match against Scone, unwilling to concede possession. Holding Scone to zero field goals until the sixth chukka, Park Place excelled on both sides of the ball, beginning on the defensive end where they pressured Scone into 10 straight missed shots to begin the game. A well-rounded Park Place performance resulted in all four players scoring at least two goals, with Will Harper leading the way with four field goals. Leading from start to finish, Park Place joined Les Lions/Great Oaks in Sunday’s final with the impressive 14-8 victory.
From the opening play of the game, Park Place utilized the two-man duo of Facundo Pieres and Gonzalito Pieres to open up an early 3-0 lead, with Scone a step behind and facing an early deficit. Going scoreless for the second consecutive chukka, Scone saw their deficit grow to five after field goals from Facundo Pieres and Harper continued Park Place’s dominance in open play. In need of offense, Scone found solace on the penalty line as foul trouble for Park Place in the third chukka resulted in three penalty goals for Nico Pieres, giving Scone some momentum. However, the organized team defence of Park Place held Scone to zero field goals, completing the first half with two more field goals from Facundo Pieres to enter the second half with a 7-3 advantage.
In an otherwise dominant performance that saw Park Place hold most of the possession, Scone was able to stay within reach thanks to the penalty shooting of Nico Pieres. Two more penalty conversions kept Scone within four, but their stagnant offense from the field prevented them from closing the gap. Transitioning to a passing role, Facundo Pieres consistently found his teammates on the run to goal, assisting on four field goals to begin the second half and extending Park Place’s lead to six by the end of the fifth chukka. Still without a field goal, Scone’s David Paradice finally broke through, beginning a run of three consecutive field goals for Scone, but it was too late as Park Place completed their dominant performance to capture the 14-8 victory and advance to the final of the Cartier Queen’s Cup.
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.
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Photo credit – Images of Polo