Bardon Polo Team 10 – 9 Vikings & Monterosso 9 – 8 UAE Polo Team (rec 1 goal)
It was only on the completion of the final league matches of the 2021 edition of the Talacrest Prince of Wales’s Championship Cup that Park Place, and all high-goal polo fans, learned who would be joining Andrey Borodin’s team in Sunday’s final. That honour will go to Monterosso following their tight but impressive win over the UAE Polo Team. Sheikha Maitha’s team were probably favourites to win this match as they had seemed to be getting stronger and stronger as the tournament progressed, but today they could not get past a focused Monterosso. Admittedly UAE were without the talented 15-year-old Lucas Monteverde Junior who was unwell. Stepping into his boots was the four-goaler Cesar Crespo. A change of line-up always unsettles a team but Crespo is no stranger to the big occasion and slotted in well. So it was hard to predict which way this game would go, even when some brilliant play from Facundo Sola and Cubi Toccalino put Monterosso ahead 5-2 early in the third. Alfredo Capella fired through two goals to bring UAE Polo Team very much back into contention (5-4) at half-time, while team-mate Barto Castagnola produced a lovely run on his own at the start of the fourth to level the scores (5-5). From then on though Monterosso were in the driving seat. Spectators on The Queen’s Ground and those watching the live stream were treated to some fabulous runs and very few whistles. Sola in particular was playing superbly and inspiring the rest of his team to raise their game, giving Monterosso a three-goal advantage going into the sixth. Tension in the UAE team had started to show, with Capella receiving a yellow card for an incident at the end of the fifth chukka. The subsequent penalty saw Toccalino increase Monterosso’s lead. UAE Polo Team were not giving up without a fight though and two goals from the “super sub” Crespo put them right back in the mix. With a minute left to play UAE won a 30-yard penalty which Capella fired through with ease, closing the gap to just one goal once again. Time was the enemy now though and on the bell Monterosso not only won the game 9-8 but earned themselves a finals ticket for Sunday.
Andras Tombor’s Bardon team were looking for their first win in this tournament and like Monterosso brought their A game to the Duke’s Ground earlier today. With Max Voelker on his way to the USA to take up a soccer scholarship at university, Noor Khadra came into the team. Like the UAE Polo Team, this change in personnel undoubtedly unsettled the team but Khadra is also used to the big occasion – he subbed for David Paradice for some of Scone Polo’s games in the Queen’s Cup – and he fitted in from the first whistle. Vikings were looking for their second win but Bardon were determined to win this match from the start. They had gone down after some close battles in previous games and wanted a different result today. Fran Elizalde was firing through the goals in the early chukkas to give Bardon a 4-1 lead at the start of the third. Penalties by the sharp-shooting Juan Martin Zubia brought Vikings back into contention 4-3 in the third and a lovely field goal from the young Argentine levelled the scores at half-time. Vikings dominated the early stages of the fourth with some great teamwork between Sebastian Merlos and Zubia, giving Vikings a two-goal advantage (6-4). Elizalde, who had a stand-out game today, levelled the scores once more only for Chris Mackenzie to win a horse race against Matias Machado to give Vikings the narrowest of leads on the bell. The fifth was almost a carbon copy of the previous chukka; but this time it was Bardon’s Bigatti who scored to give his team the advantage going into the final chukka (9-8). Zubia scored when pouncing on a loose ball to level the scores again, only for Elizalde to convert a 30-yard penalty. There was now just three minutes left and the score read 10-9 to Bardon. A shot from Bigatti went wide and a melee in the Bardon goal also resulted in the ball going wide, guaranteeing a Bardon victory at the final bell. Due to the who beat who rule, this win also means that it will be Bardon who will play UAE Polo Team in the Talacrest Trophy sub final on Sunday morning.
Next Games – Sunday 22 August
11am Duke’s Ground Talacrest Trophy: UAE Polo Team v Bardon
3.30pm Queen’s Ground Talacrest Prince of Wales’s Championship Cup
Final: Park Place v Monterosso