Semi Final results
Yesterday, Wednesday 13 July, polo supporters from across the UK descended upon Cowdray Park Polo Club for the anticipated Cowdray Gold Cup Semi Finals to decide the two teams which would do battle on Sunday in The British Open Championship Final. The day began with the unbeaten Dubai taking on Scone on Lawns 1 for The Ellerston Cup and the first Final spot. Scone’s Adolfo Cambiaso was substituted by Juan Martin Nero, but the altered line-up didn’t appear to put them off their stride as Scone opened with three unanswered goals from Poroto Cambiaso, however by half-time Dubai had found their voices and the scoreboard read 5-5. As the heat both on and off the field increased, the umpires’ whistles were dusted off as the teams committed a combination of five fouls, with Dubai failing to convert all three of their penalty attempts. With possession and resulting field goals flitting between Dubai and Scone, the spectators were on the edge of their seats as Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola, later named Most Valuable Player, tied the scores 11-11 and pushed the match into overtime. As the players rode onto Lawns 1 for the extra chukka, commentator Karl Ude Martinez predicted that Castagnola would be the one to find the goalmouth first and how right he was, as Castagnola broke away from a dogged Matt Perry to carry the ball through the posts and secure Dubai their Final spot with a 12-11 win.
Open Calloway was named Best Playing Pony, her second award of the tournament and Perry’s RoR, Maddie, was presented the RoR Best Playing Pony Prize. After the field was refreshed, the crowds once again took to the stands to enjoy the second thriller of the day, with Park Place vs Talandracas. Despite conceding a goal on handicap, Park Place’s effective offensive duo of Facundo Pieres and Francisco Elizalde set the pace for the second Semi Final, with youngsters Josh Hyde and Louis Hine providing excellent defensive plays which allowed Pieres and Elizalde to flow.
Talandracas put up a strong opposition with the Hugues Carmignac substituting fir his father Eduoard after the first chukka and had secured a 7-6 lead by half-time, but Park Place’s Pieres, later named Most Valuable Player, flew into the second half and despite the best efforts of his cousin, Polito Pieres, to counter with his own flair, Talandracas were unable to score a single field goal in the second half. With the scoreboard reading 12-10 as the minutes ticked down, Louis Hine was briefly released from defensive duties to carry the ball down the field and score his first goal of the match, ending the match 13-10 in favour of Park Place and with it their place in the Final. The Final between Dubai and Park Place will be played at 3pm on Sunday 17 July at Cowdray Park Polo Club on Lawn 2.
Photograph: Louis Hine & Polito Pieres go shoulder to shoulder for possession.
By Mark Beaumont