Apes Hill, Clarke & Green, El Remanso register wins

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BRITISH TRIPLE CROWN: JAEGER-LECOULTRE GOLD CUP FOR THE BRITISH OPEN (2016) – DAY 8
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Apes Hill vs. La Bamba, during day eight of the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Wednesday, June 29th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club

Apes Hill vs. La Bamba, during day eight of the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Wednesday, June 29th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club / Photo by Tony Ramirez/Images of Polo / imagesofpolo.com


 

Apes Hill – 11

Tom Beim (3), Mark Tomlinson (6),
Eduardo Novillo Astrada (9), Alec White (4)

La Bamba de Areco – 10

Jean Francois Decaux (0), Diego Cavanagh (8),
Magoo Laprida (8), Rodrigo Rueda (6)


“We knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Apes Hill coach Eduardo Heguy after his team snatched a tight 11-10 win over La Bamba de Areco. In their previous two games, he noted, La Bamba “gave King Power a hard time, and they only lost to HB by one goal. They were coming off two defeats, so we knew the pressure would be on.”

Patron Jean Francois Decaux was instrumental in the push, consistently keeping the attack going for La Bamba de Areco. At the start of a three-man play, Decaux sent the ball to 8-goaler Cristian “Magoo” Laprida, who checked and turned. Everyone wanted a piece of it. La Bamba de Areco, with smooth teamwork, warded off an antagonized Apes Hill. When the ball got loose Decaux jumped back in and passed it to 8-goaler Diego Cavanagh, who has the uncanny timing of a fox. Cavanagh left it for Laprida (the two work like magic together), who tapped it through the posts to tie the game at 3. Cavanagh retied the score at 5 in the third chukka.

You didn’t have to wait long in the second half to see the numbers change on the board. Both teams had a flurry of goals. The fourth chukka ended 9-8 for La Bamba de Areco, courtesy of Decaux, who scored three times on the day. Marking by both teams got very tight in the fifth, which saw a slew of stopping, turning, running and horse changes. Things stood at an extended stalemate (nearly five minutes) in the sixth with the score tied at 9.

Nine-goaler Eduardo Novillo Astrada led the final attack for Apes Hill. With purely instinctive moves and a killer backhand, most often he either made the goal or was in on the play. Alec White scored three times for Apes Hill, and teammate Mark Tomlinson made five goals, his final one clinching the win with less than a minute left on the clock. –Darlene Ricker

 

Clarke & Green vs. HB Polo, during day eight of the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Wednesday, June 29th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club

Clarke & Green vs. HB Polo, during day eight of the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Wednesday, June 29th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club / Photo by Tony Ramirez/Images of Polo / imagesofpolo.com


 

Clarke & Green – 12 (OT)

Nick Clarke (0), Juan G. Zavaleta (7),
Luke Tomnlinson (7), John Paul Clarkin (7)

HB Polo – 11

Ludovic Pailloncy (1), Cubi Toccalino (8),
Pelon Stirling (10), Sebastien Pailloncy (3)


Clarke & Green did it again, duelling to the finish against HB Polo to take a third consecutive win in the 2016 British Open. It was a battle royal, with both teams coming into the match undefeated and determined to keep it that way.

“We had to get down to a scrum, like a game of rugby!” said patron Nick Clarke of the rugged 12-11 win against HB Polo in extra time. Sporting a mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration as he headed out to dinner with his family that evening, Clark described the team’s strategy as, “Keep going, never give up—and have a bit of luck.”

HB dominated for the first two chukkas, leading by two goals at the top of the third. Juan Zavaleta, one of Clarke & Green’s trio of 7-goalers, promptly leveled the score at 5 with two back-to-back field goals. The first came on a nearside neck shot with Sebastien Pailloncy about to jump into his pocket. The second demonstrated slick teamwork, with Clarke taking out Ludo Pailloncy and clearing the way for Zavaleta to make a run into goal. Clarke continued to mark Ludo Pailloncy, giving chase in the fifth but unable to outrun him as Pailloncy escorted a pass from HB Polo’s superstar 10-goaler, David “Pelon” Stirling, straight into goal.

That left Clarke & Green behind 9-6 early in the fifth chukka. Suddenly the entire game changed, with the momentum decidedly swinging to Clarke & Green. They romped into a 10-9 lead with four head-spinning successive goals, two by Luke Tomlinson and one each by John Paul Clarkin and Clarke.

At that point it became a flat-out war of attrition. Stirling tied the game and then, with 1:08 on the clock, pulled HB Polo into a one-goal lead. In the last 30 seconds of regulation play, goals by Tomlinson and Zavaleta forced the game into extra time. Tomlinson scored the winning goal for Clarke & Green, ending the contest 12-11. –Darlene Ricker

 

El Remanso vs. Cowdray Vikings, during day eight of the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Wednesday, June 29th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club

El Remanso vs. Cowdray Vikings, during day eight of the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Wednesday, June 29th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club / Photo by Tony Ramirez/Images of Polo / imagesofpolo.com


 

Britannia El Remanso – 9

Charlie Hanbury (4), Ollie Cudmore (5),
James Beim (7), James Harper (6)

Cowdray Vikings – 6

George Pearson (2), Chris Mackenzie (6),
Jack Richardson (6), Alejandro Novillo Astrada (8)


By the time Wednesday’s final match rolled around, the weather was at its worst all day. That made it all the more grueling for Britannia El Remanso and the Cowdray Vikings, with Britannia El Remanso prevailing 9-6.

“The weather made it difficult to control the ball and to carry it down the field,” said coach Eduardo Heguy. “We wanted to play an open, running game, but we had to work harder for it. And Cowdray is a tough team.”

Indeed, the Cowdray Vikings made Britannia El Remanso work for every goal. George Pearson played extremely well for Cowdray and was all over the field. In the third chukka he stole the ball from England team captain James Beim, scoring on a near side shot and giving Cowdray a 3-2 lead.

James Harper put Britannia El Remanso back in the mix, leveling the game at 5 at the top of the fifth chukka. The team went on a roll, with Ollie Cudmore bringing Britannia El Remanso to an 8-5 lead. The final chukka saw Beim going like a freight train down the field. A quick string of handoffs sent the ball from Harper to Cudmore to Beim and back to Cudmore for the goal. One more from Cudmore and another from Cowdray’s Jack Richardson ended the game 9-6 for Britannia El Remanso.

“Given the weather, our game plan was to hit the ball as much as we could and play the game in their end, hoping they would make mistakes, rather than us trying to come up with anything clever,” said Beim. “It was a massive win for us. We really needed it, as we were a bit down on ourselves after losing our last game,” which La Indiana won 13-10.

Wednesday evening a group of Britannia El Remanso players joined their counterparts from Apes Hill for a celebratory meal with their mutual coach, Eduardo Heguy, at Faustino’s, a popular tapas and wine bar in Midhurst. “It’s a great group of guys,” said Heguy, noting that the two teams spend a lot of time together. “We train together and have our horses at the same farm. Today was ‘happy days’ for all of us.”

Where did the party go after that? He laughed. “Are you kidding? Everyone went home and went to bed.” –Darlene Ricker

 


The Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship was established in 1956, when it was then known as the Cowdray Park Gold Cup. The trophy itself was stolen in 1968, and has not been recovered. Stowell Park and Tramontana share the record for most wins, with five titles apiece.
 


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