he first quarterfinal of the 2021 Gold Cup for the British Open Championship featured an impressive performance from Great Oaks LL, producing a stretch of 11 consecutive goals to defeat Murus Sanctus 14-7, booking the first spot in the semifinals at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
An evenly matched opening two chukkas left spectators expecting a match that would be decided in the final minutes, but Great Oaks LL took control of the game with an unrelenting attack that was led by Guillermo Terrera. Finishing with four goals and three assists, Terrera highlighted the quick offense that helped dominate possession, while Bartolome Castagnola and Cruz Heguy effectively stifled any possession from Murus Sanctus. In a complete team performance where all four players scored at least two goals, Great Oaks LL completed the dominant 14-7 victory on the Ambersham Grounds.
A defensive start to the match left both teams tightly marked and few chances on goal until a long pass from Facundo Sola set up Corinne Ricard to open the scoring. A Penalty 2 conversion for Heguy brought the game even as the score moved in and out of a tie through the second chukka. Murus Sanctus took the first lead at the end of a chukka with accurate shooting leading to back-to-back goals from Sola and Matt Perry and a 4-3 advantage. That would be the last goal Murus Sanctus would score until the sixth chukkas Great Oaks LL took complete control of the match. Continuous pressure from the Great Oaks LL offense resulted in two Penalty 1’s awarded to Terrera, along with a field goal from Heguy as part of a three-goal run, leaving Great Oaks LL ahead 6-4 at halftime.
Carrying their momentum into the second half, Great Oaks LL maintained possession throughout the fourth chukka, holding Murus Sanctus without a shot attempt and using the pass effectively to create scoring opportunities. Great Oaks LL converted four of their six attempts on goal to extend their goal streak to seven, resulting in a 10-4 lead. Displaying a well-rounded attack, Great Oaks LL received contributions from Terrera, Heguy and Dillon Bacon as the possession remained with Great Oaks LL and Murus Sanctus’ scoring drought carried over for the third consecutive chukka. Holding a nine-goal lead entering the sixth chukka, Great Oaks LL had the victory secured and cruised to the14-7 victory to claim the first place in the semifinals.
Continuing their winning ways in the Gold Cup for the British Open Championship, UAE Polo Team defeated Park Place 13-9 in the second quarterfinal on the Lawns Ground at Cowdray Park Polo Club. Advancing to the semifinals, UAE Polo Team set their sights on capturing their second 22-goal title of the season.
Producing an efficient performance from the field, UAE Polo Team shot 61% on 18 shots to hold the advantage over Park Place. A decisive fourth chukka ultimately was the difference in the match as UAE Polo Team built a four-goal lead and maintained the advantage for the final two chukkas. Scoring five goals while also adding three assists, Tomas Beresford was a key player in UAE Polo Team’s victory, shooting 100% from the field, but it was a complete team effort that resulted in all four players finding the scoresheet that propelled UAE Polo Team to the victory.
An early foul committed by Park Place in the first chukka led to a Penalty 2 conversion for Polito Pieres, but that was the only scoring UAE Polo Team could produce as Park Place took the lead on field goals from Juan Britos and Will Harper. In a match full of momentum swings, possession switched back in favour of UAE Polo Team in a 3-0 second chukka that saw the trio of Polito Pieres, Beresford and Tomas Panelo all score one goal each. The efficient shooting of UAE Polo Team proved to be crucial as they took advantage of each opportunity around goal, but Facundo Pieres led Park Place back to even, scoring two goals to end the half and leave the game tied at 5-5.
In what was ultimately the chukka of the match, UAE Polo Team raced out of the halftime break to dominate possession in the fourth chukka to separate themselves from Park Place. Winning four of the five throw-ins in the chukka, UAE Polo Team continued to hold possession and converted four of their five opportunities at goal with Polito Pieres contributing two goals and an assist during the run. Facing a four-goal deficit, Park Place turned to their 10-goaler Facundo Pieres to try and lead them back into the game. Despite three goals from Pieres, Park Place were only able to inch one goal closer as UAE Polo Team’s Beresford responded with two goals of his own. With a focus on defense in the final seven minutes, UAE Polo Team held Park Place off the scoreboard for the first few minutes as time began to run out for a Park Place comeback. Facundo Pieres’ sixth goal left the difference at two but it was as close as they could come with UAE Polo Team scoring the final two goals of the game to join Great Oaks LL as the second team in the semifinal.