King Power Foxes and La Indiana to battle

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BRITISH TRIPLE CROWN: JAEGER-LECOULTRE GOLD CUP FOR THE BRITISH OPEN (2016) – SEMI-FINALS
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Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero for Valiente, chase down King Power Foxes' Facundo Pieres, during the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship Semi-Finals, Wednesday, July 13th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club

Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero for Valiente, chase down King Power Foxes’ Facundo Pieres, during the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship Semi-Finals, Wednesday, July 13th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club / Photo by Tony Ramirez/Images of Polo / imagesofpolo.com


 

King Power Foxes – 11

Tal Srivaddhanaprabha (0), Hugo Lewis (2),
Gonzalito Pieres (10), Facundo Pieres (10)

Valiente – 10

Bob Jornayvaz (2), Ralph Richardson (1),
Adolfo Cambiaso (10), Juan Martin Nero (9)


La Indiana defeated Zacara and defending champion King Power Foxes took the win over Valiente in the semi-finals of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the 2016 British Open on Wednesday, July 13th. Both contests featured fast, open polo that swept up and down the field and ended with the same one-goal spread (11-10).

The first match, between Valiente and King Power Foxes, was a showcase of technical skill, with predictable (but ever-thrilling) fancy footwork from the 10-goal contingent: Facundo Pieres and Gonzalito Pieres for King Power Foxes and Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martín Nero for Valiente. (Nero is functionally a 10-goal player with a 9-goal handicap.)

Valiente dominated the first half, for a long stretch maintaining a three- or four-goal advantage. The fourth chukka opened 7-4 but closed with King Power trailing by a single goal (8-7). Twice at the top of the fifth, Gonzalito Pieres picked up the ball from the throw-in and sailed straight into goal, advancing King Power Foxes into the lead for the first time.

With two minutes left in the chukka Facundo Pieres plowed through the middle and handed the ball off to Hugo Lewis for the goal, although Pieres clearly could have finished it off himself. It was a prime example of the confidence many team chieftains have had in their younger players this season. The same dynamic marked the second game as well, with Zacara’s Pablo MacDonough casually leaving the ball for Tom Brodie to tap into goal.

The Zacara-La Indiana game was evenly matched and particularly notable for its super-synchronized teamwork, which has become a hallmark of both teams. The plays were riveting. In the second chukka Agustín “Tincho” Merlos took his time with the ball, not sending it ahead to Nic Roldan until a space opened up. Then the two of them took off hell-bent-for-leather toward goal, both outrunning a stunned MacDonough, with Roldan scoring. They were equally slick in the fourth chukka. Roldan sent a long drive to Merlos, who made a clean break and ran a breathless two-thirds of the field directly into goal.

The game opened up like gangbusters in the fifth and stayed that way until the final bell. Roldan tied the score at 9 at the end of the fifth chukka. Julian “Negro” de Lusarreta held onto the ball until he found Roldan in space and sent it to him. Roldan shot from 40 yards out directly into goal. The final chukka was peppered with a series of “almost goals” when the ball was either plucked off the doorstep of the goal line or went a hair wide on a deeply angled shot. In the end it was a magical mix of horses and skill, with Roldan outrunning and outgunning everyone.

–Darlene Ricker

 

Zacara's Pablo Macdonough backs off from Nic Roldan of La Indiana, during the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship Semi-Finals, Wednesday, July 13th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club

Zacara’s Pablo Macdonough backs off from Nic Roldan of La Indiana, during the 2016 Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship Semi-Finals, Wednesday, July 13th, at Cowdray Park Polo Club / Photo by Tony Ramirez/Images of Polo / imagesofpolo.com


 

La Indiana – 11

Michael Bickford (1), Nic Roldan (7),
Agustin Merlos (8), Julian De Lusarreta (6)

Zacara – 10

Tom Brodie (3), Lyndon Lea (1),
Lucas Monteverde (8), Pablo Macdonough (10)

 


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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