Kicking-off the fifth day of competition in the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup hosted by Cowdray Park Polo Club, Vikings went head-to-head against Talandracas. Falling to Scone in the first match of League Play, it was Vikings turn to spoil Talandracas tournament debut, taking the contest 13-9.
Outshooting Talandracas from the field, Vikings was able to control on the game multiple offensive fronts, shooting 50% in open play while successfully converting five penalty goals. Talandracas’ Pablo Pieres led his team with five goals, but Viking’s Diego Cavanaugh found the edge, scoring six, including three at the line to lead Vikings to the convincing four-goal victory.
Attacking early, Vikings began the match claiming a 3-1 lead on contributions from Cavanagh and James Beim. Outscoring Vikings in the second, Alejandro Muzzio, Marcos Araya, and Juan Martin Zubia each added their names to the scoreboard to keep Talandracas within striking distance. Trading goals in the third, a strong first half from a Vikings team dialed in on both sides of the ball allowed them to take the 7-6 lead into the tents.
Opening the second half scoring on back-to-back goals, Talandracas briefly held their first lead of the match, but two off the mallet of Cavanagh tied the match 7-all. Carrying their momentum into the sixth, a Vikings scoring blitz produced four-goals in the chukka, including two crucial conversions from Zubia. Holding Talandracas to just one shot in the field and a single goal from Pieres, Vikings’ superior sixth chukka ultimately earned them the impressive 13-9 win.
Wrapping up action with the Cooch Behar Cup up for grabs, Park Place Vaara were left still searching for their first victory of the tournament, as Green Gates made a statement in their debut emerging 10-9 victors.
Despite shooting just 37% from the field, Green Gates produced enough scoring chances in the first half to narrowly hold off a charging Park Place Vaara. Along with three goals from the penalty line, Green Gates used a strong defense to generate counterattacks that kept Park Place Vaara pinned in their end throughout the first half. Neutralizing a balanced attack from Park Place Vaara, a seven-goal performance from Green Gates’ Francisco Elizalde overpowered their opponents in the narrow one-goal victory.
A strong opening chukka from Green Gates resulted in an early three goal advantage on efforts from Isidro Strada, Elizalde and Cesar Crespo. Responding in the second on back-to-back drives from Park Place Vaara’s Santos Merlos and Hilario Ulloa, Elizalde sized control hitting three unanswered, including one from the line to keep Green Gates in the lead 6-2. Trading goals in the third, Green Gate’s first half accuracy gave them a 7-3 advantage at the break.
Continuing their strong play, Green Gates held Park Place Vaara to a single goal off the mallet of Merlos. Ramping up their offensive efforts in the fifth, Park Place Vaara’s Ulloa initiated an unanswered three-goal run to pull themselves within three. Pushing Green Gates to the brink, Park Place Vaara continued their comeback bid, shutting out Green Gates in the sixth and posting two more onto the scoreboard. Despite taking only eight shots from the field and scoring three times in the second half, the lead established by Green Gates in the first half was just enough to stave off Park Place Vaara and earn Green Gates the Cooch Behar Cup 10-9.
Photo Credit: ©Mark Beaumont