La Magdeleine and Park Place Vaara Round Out Semifinal Contenders in Cartier Queen’s Cup
With two spots in Wednesday’s semifinals still up for grabs in the Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club in Windsor, Berkshire, Sunday’s doubleheader action began between an undefeated Scone Polo and a 2-2 La Magdeleine. Relying on power from the field, a five-goal effort from Min Podesta powered La Magdeleine over Scone Polo and the Cambiaso duo of Adolfo and Poroto 11-8. With one of Andrey Borodin’s Park Place teams already in the Queen’s Cup semifinals, his second team, Park Place Vaara were looking to claim the final spot in a match against 3-1 King Power on The Duke’s Ground. Entering the final chukka of play deadlocked 9-all, the emergence of Juan Britos’ strong second half play pushed Park Place Vaara to claim the last semifinal spot 9-11.
Kick-starting the competition at Zacara, Garese’s La Magdeleine struck first, blanking Scone Polo from the scoreboard while posting back-to-back goals from Podesta and Pablo Mac Donough. Mounting a response for Scone Polo in the second chukka, goals from Adolfo Cambiaso in the field and Poroto Cambiaso from the penalty line brought the match back level 2-2, only to be answered once more by Mac Donough and Podesta. Scone Polo found themselves in a similar situation to the previous chukka and again relied on the Cambiaso duo. Contributed one more goal each, including a Penalty 1 for Adolfo tied the match 4-4 entering the half.
Creating some much-needed separation in the fourth chukka, Ollie Cudmore initiated the scoring for La Magdeleine, to be followed by two goals from Mac Donough from both the field and 30-yard line. La Magdeleine’s defence was an emerging storyline as Scone Polo would score just two goals from the field on 12 shots, putting immense pressure on Scone Polo’s penalty attempts to keep pace in the second half. Two crucial conversions from the Cambiasos brought Scone Polo back to within two goals, but it was short-lived as La Magdeleine’s success in open play resulted in goals from Podesta and Mac Donough to put La Magdeleine ahead 10-6. Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso made one last push for a final chukka comeback that included Adolfo’s third penalty conversion of the match but despite these efforts, Podesta’s fifth goal in one of his best performances of the season sealed an 11-8 victory and guaranteed La Magdeleine’s place in Wednesday’s semifinals.
Executing a flawless knock-in, King Power opened the scoring in the final match of the quarterfinals as Mackenzie Weisz fought off Hilario Ulloa to run the ball through the goal. Park Place Vaara responded with consecutive goals from Ulloa and Britos to hold a narrow 2-1 lead. Returning to the King Power line-up for the first time in three games, Nico Pieres brought King Power back to even in a match that was continuing to go back and forth. James Harper kickstarted a run for King Power with consecutive goals in a fast-paced second chukka to inch King Power ahead by one. It was evident though that these two teams were closely matched as Park Place Vaara erased the deficit in the third chukka to tie the game at 6-all.
After feeling unwell at the start of the fourth, Britos then stepped up for Park Place Vaara, firing through two goals, including a nice cut shot to hold a two-goal advantage. Their defence also stood strong, keeping King Power off the scoreboard. However, Park Place Vaara’s lead evaporated after Weisz impressively ran a throw-in straight to goal, and Pieres successfully fought through multiple defenders as one chukka remained to determine the last semi-finalist. A missed Penalty 4 from King Power opened the door for Park Place Vaara, with Britos scoring from distance and then drawing a foul in front of goal to add a penalty conversion. With just three minutes left, King Power charged down the field, but Park Place Vaara produced some strong defensive play, including a backhand from Santos Merlos off the goal line, to secure a hard-fought, 11-9 victory and claim the fourth and final spot in the Queen’s Cup semifinals.
Semifinal action begins June 8, beginning with Park Place versus Great Oaks LL, followed by La Magdeleine against Park Place Vaara.
Photo Credit ©Images of Polo