The two most prestigious French polo teams faced each other this afternoon in the final of the Marta & Lucien Barrière Gold Cup: the team from La Baule, Brittany Polo Club and the local team, Talandracas, already six times winner of this Coupe d’Or. With two teams like these, each one having an impressive “resume”, one could only expect an exceptional final. The 2000 or so spectators were not disappointed. If, in the end, it was Brittany Polo Club who lifted the Gold Cup for the first time, further writing their history, it was above all polo that emerged as the big winner of this mythical tournament.
One could only expect a great game because beyond Deauville, these two teams are successful outside France, being the only two French teams of this century to have won the two most prestigious titles in Europe: the Queen‘s Cup at Windsor, in the royal club of Guards and the Gold Cup (British Open) at Cowdray.
Talandracas‘ iconic captain, Edouard Carmignac was presented with the Queen‘s Cup by Prince Harry in 2011. That year he played with two Argentine Open winners, Milo Fernandez Araujo and Lucas Monteverde. In 2014, he was again in the final with Polito Pieres, Juan Martin Nero and Santiago Stirling, but lost to Zacara.
After winning the Gold Cup for the first time in 2009 with Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres, Jean-François Decaux lifted the coveted British trophy again last year with a team consisting of no less than Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso and Diego Cavanagh.
For this Gold Cup Marta & Lucien Barrière, the two finalist captains had, as usual, recruited great players: Benjamin Urquiza and Diego Cavanagh for Brittany Polo Club and Rufino Bensadon and Juan-Martin Zubia for Talandracas, who play at the highest level in Argentina, in particular in the Abierto, a world elite tournament. Winning in Deauville was therefore a matter of prestige for these great professionals, which explains their commitment on the field this afternoon in Deauville.
The game lived up to its promise and never, until the end of the third chukker, was the gap greater than 1 goal. The scoreboard showed a perfect tie (6-6) when the teams returned to the field after the half time. It was then that Brittany took off to take a 3-goal advantage. But it was not over yet thanks to the genius of Rufino Bensadon, who brought back the game on his own. His opponent Benjamin Urquiza scored again (10-9). However, that wasn‘t the end of the story as Rufino Bensadon had the equaliser at the end of a 60-yard penalty with just seconds to go… yet the ball went just wide of the posts leaving Brittany victorious.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and that the score would be close,“ said champagne-covered Diego Cavanagh. We went into the last chukker with a three-goal lead, which is always good at this stage of a game. But then Rufino Bensadon put on a real show, he was unstoppable when he went off dribbling the ball and scored three goals that made us having doubts. He‘s an incredible player, full of talent, very quick, almost impossible to ride-off. He was on fire in that last chukker, he put Talandracas back in the game yet fortunately it ended well for us.”
In these very close games, it is often the horses that make the difference and it was indeed a mare ridden by Diego in the last chukker that was crowned best Argentine pony of the final: „DS Soprano is a mare of Benjamin Urquiza, that he gave me in the last chukker in exchange for one of mine. The mare is very easy to handle, very explosive“. A winning exchange! Tomorrow, Diego, Soprano, their teammates and their opponents will leave for Chantilly to prepare for the Engel & Völkers French Open, a tournament of the same level, but with sixteen teams and after this performance in Deauville, Brittany Polo Club is now one of the favourites: „First of all, we‘ll celebrate this victory this evening as we should, savouring the fact of having won this tournament and we‘ll wait until tomorrow to start thinking about the French Open.“ Following this Diego, like most of the protagonists of these tournaments, will fly to Argentina to prepare for the biggest event of the season: the Triple Crown.
The doors of the Deauville International Polo Club closed on this beautiful game which is perfectly in line with the legend of the Marta & Lucien Barrière Gold Cup. A particularly successful season both from a sporting point of view and in terms of attendance. Deauville is a place where people learn to love polo.
Brittany Polo Club :
Jean-François Decaux (1)
Benjamin Urquiza (6, 7 goals of which 3 penalties)
Diego Cavanagh (8, 3 goals)
Roberto Iturrioz (1)
Hugues Carmignac (1, 2 goals)
Rufino Bensadon (7, 7 goals of which 4 penalties)
Juan-Martin Zubia (8)
Édouard Carmignac (0)
Progression Brittany Polo Club :
2/0, 4/4, 6/6, 9/6, 10/9
MVP : Rufino Bensadon
MVP Amateur : Hugues Carmignac
BPP AACCP (best Argentinian playing pony of the final) : DS Soprano ridden Diego Cavanagh and belonging to Benjamin Urquiza, 9 years old by Dolfina Popular
BBP of the final: Peregrino Bandita, a mare belonging to Rufino Bensadon, daughter of Open Bandera played in Palermo by Pablo Mac Donough.