The championship match of the Gold Cup for the British Open, at Cowdray Park Polo Club, had to be delayed for a while due to heavy rainfall; but not even the rain could overshadow a great final between Thai Polo and UAE, which was the ice on the cake of the British season. And at the end of such a crazy Sunday, it was Thai Polo who managed to seize the reins over the powerful UAE foursome, to secure a 9-7 win and claim one of the most coveted polo trophies of the international polo calendar.
Thai Polo, who had already won the first 22-goal tournament, the Prince of Wales Trophy, didn’t fare too well in the Queen’s Cup. But thoroghout the Gold Cup, the foursome composed by the young Hine brothers, Ned and Louis, supported by the experience of Nicolás Pieres and James Harper, perhaps the best British player today (and who already won the Gold Cup back in 2018 with the all- English lineup, El Remanso) proved everybody they were the real thing. They provided a huge surprise by defeating no less than Scone not once, but twice and by heavy scores – 11-5 in the league stage and then a 12-4 to sweep them off the final. Perhaps UAE seemed to be “the” candidate to earn the trophy, following their success at the Queen’s Cup, and what they achieved in the Gold Cup. But they weren’t unable to do it – today luck was not on Sheikha Maitha and her boys’ side – Polito Pieres, Tomás Beresford and Tomás Panelo.
Thai Polo remained in the lead thoroghout the whole match, earning wide advantages, until they were able to reach a commanding 5-2 by half time. Meanwhile, UAE had to fight hard to shorten the gap, something that seemed an impossible task against such a determined rival. Thai Polo provided a solid and balanced team play, with the two Hine boys fitting to perfection with the experienced Pieres and Harper. As a result, UAE was unable to control their contender’s steady dominance. However, in the last chukka, they managed a huge effort and outscored Thai Polo 2-0, but the damage was alreday done. Thai Polo took crucial advantages during the match that secured the 9-7 win and the title.
The final of the Gold Cup for the British Open was at the height of its history and prestige, very well played by the two contenders. On the other side, it was a very well deserved achievement for Thai Polo, and the steady growth of the talented Ned and Louis Hine, the young and skilled sons of one of the biggest legends in British polo, Andrew Hine. And for Nico Pieres and James Harper, who already won the Queen’s Cup playing together with Scone in 2019, this Gold Cup is indeed a huge achievement in their very successful careers.
The tournament, recognised as one of the three Grand Slams of Polo, alongside the Argentine Open and the US Open, saw thirteen teams, up to 22 goals, in competition.
GOLD CUP FOR THE BRITISH OPEN – FINAL
THAI POLO 9-7 UAE
Thai Polo: Louis Hine 2 (2 goals), Ned Hine 4 (3), Nicolás Pieres 9 (3), James Harper 7 (1). Total: 22.
UAE: HH Sheikha Maitha 0, Tomás Panelo 6 (5), Pablo Pieres 9, Tomás Beresford 7 (2). Total: 22.
ScoreThai Polo: 2-0, 3-1, 5-2, 7-4, 9-5, 9-7.
Umpires: Peter Wright & Julian Appleby
Third Man: Tim Brown.
MVP: Nicolás Pieres.
BPP UK: Open Lourdes, ridden by Nicolás Pieres.
Best Polo Argentino Bred: Open Fanta, ridden by Nicolás Pieres
Cover Photo by Helen Cruden
THE EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS FROM THE FINAL OF THE GOLD CUP FOR THE BRITISH OPEN WILL BE ONLINE SOON.