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Mon 18th Jun 2018

Third Time’s the Charm for La Indiana

The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final

Yesterday, Sunday 17 June, polo aficionados from across the land gathered at Guards Polo Club for their highlight tournament of the season, The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final. It was set to be a battle of wills, as two-time Finalists La Indiana took on high goal newbies, Park Place for the coveted prize. 

From the first throw-in, it was a ferocious game. Within the first two minutes, Park Place’s 10 goal powerhouse, Hilario Ulloa was on the floor, having collided with La Indiana’s Alec White. Fortunately, Ulloa quickly regained his composure, getting back in the saddle to continue the match with White taking a two minute break in the sin bin for his misdemeanour. Meanwhile, Juan Britos put Park Place on the scoreboard, converting a penalty for dangerous play, which was quickly answered by Facundo Pieres, converting a penalty of his own. The teams ended the first chukka with one goal apiece. 
The second chukka was no less dramatic, as the teams jostled for possession up and down the field. Halfway through the chukka, Park Place patron and Captain Andrey Borodin had a major collision with La Indiana’s Nic Roldan, falling from his horse, seriously injured. He was taken off the field by an ambulance and substituted by young Charlie Tighe, who has been training with Park Place throughout the winter and has played a number of games for the team during The OUT-SOURCING Royal Windsor Cup, whilst Nic Roldan took his turn in the sin bin for the collision. Park Place didn’t seem too disrupted by the injury substitution but struggled to take advantage of the now three-a-side La Indiana. Pieres and Ulloa each scored a goal to once again tie the teams at the beginning of the third chukka. 
Park Place found some of their earlier form in the third chukka, as Britos converted a penalty, then flew upfield from the throw-in for another goal. Following a goal from the combination play of Michael Bickford and the now returned Roldan, Ulloa made it 5-3 with a huge pass upfront that was intended for another player, but ultimately found its way through the posts and Tommy Beresford extended the gap even further to 6-3, having dribbled the ball through everyone! As the clock ticked down to half-time, Roldan placed a final goal through the posts to make the score 6-4 going into the break.
La Indiana, following a stern team talk during the break, came back with a vengeance in the fourth chukka. Pieres and Roldan evened the scoreboard, 6-6, with ease, with little in response from Park Place. At this point, the game was anyone’s and as the teams scored another goal apiece in the fifth chukka, one from the 0 goal substitute Tighe to a goal from Pieres, the crowd were left wondering whether this would be the first match in the 2018 Cartier Queen’s Cup tournament to go into extra time. As one of the commentators, Glenn Gilmore coined, “The Ding Dong Battle”, continued into the sixth chukka, La Indiana took the lead for the first time in the match, as Pieres broke through the Park Place ranks at phenomenal speed to bring the score to 8-7. Park Place were then awarded a 40 yard penalty, but as the whistle blew for the penalty, unexpectedly, during pony changes two minutes prior to the end of the match, Michael Bickford received treatment at the far end of the field, which some felt, whether necessary or not, interrupted the flow of the pivotal final moments of the game. The penalty was taken by Britos, which Pieres, showing his full 10 goal power, saved on the end of his stick in the goalmouth, and fired it upfield to the waiting Roldan and White. Ulloa saved the ball in front of goal, but following two unforced errors, which saw him mishit not once, but twice, Pieres seized the opportunity and dancing through his opponents, he trickled the ball through the goal to win The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final for La Indiana, 9-7. For his exceptional play, Pieres was presented with the Most Valuable Player award. His famous mare, Cube, who he played twice in the match, was presented with The Cartier Queen’s Cup Best Playing Pony rug for the second time in her career, following the same honour in 2015. 
HM The Queen and Cartier’s Laurent Feniou presented La Indiana with the trophy and the players with their prizes, courtesy of Cartier. Bickford said after the match, “For me this is the most special Cup. We’ve participated three years in a row and this was our lucky year. It was amazing to be presented with the Cup by HM The Queen also, who reminded me that we now have to win it next year!”
In the Subsidiary Final, Emlor defeated Talandracas 12-9 to take home The Cartier Trophy and 19-year-old James McCarthy was presented with the Most Valuable Player award by HM The Queen as well as the trophy on behalf of his team. 
The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final Teams:
La Indiana (22): Michael Bickford (1), Alec White (4), Nic Roldan (7) & Facundo Pieres (10)
Park Place (22): Andrey Borodin (0 – substituted by Charlie Tighe), Juan Britos (7), Hilario Ulloa (10) & Tommy Beresford (5)
Photograph: La Indiana were presented with The Cartier Queen’s Cup by HM The Queen at Guards Polo Club on Sunday 17 June. By Polo Times

Fri 15th Jun 2018

The King Power Gold Cup for The British Open Polo Championship

The draw is announced

On Monday 11 June, players, patrons and guests gathered at Cowdray House for the draw of The King Power Gold Cup for The British Open Polo Championship, due to commence on Tuesday 26 June at Cowdray Park Polo Club. 

This year will see the return of last year’s finalists El Remanso, with the same all-Brit line-up, as well as Michael Bickford’s La Indiana, fresh from their continuing success in The Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club, with this season’s new addition, Facundo Pieres. Past winner, Jean-François Decaux and his La Bamba de Areco side will also be returning for the 2018 competition alongside age-old rivals, RH Polo. 
Talandracas will also return this year, with Edouardo Carmignac’s son, Hugues jointly at the helm with his father alongside his brand new line-up as well as Alessandro Bazzoni’s Monterosso with only one new addition this year, in the form of Juan Martín Zubia. 
Harald Link and his Thai Polo team will return to the Cowdray grounds this year. A number of the players have recently played The Cartier Queen’s Cup tournament with Max Gottschalk’s Les Lions, so are ready and set for the Midhurst-based tournament. Spencer McCarthy’s Emlor, with team regular and long-time friend Nacho Gonzalez, will also take to the field this year. 
This year will also see a Gold Cup first for Andrey Borodin’s Park Place who, as we publish this news, are through to the Final of The Cartier Queen’s Cup, and Alshair Fiyaz’s Alfi Investments. Bob Jornayvaz’s Valiente side will rise again after their Queen’s Cup Semi Final loss, to compete for The King Power Gold Cup and finally Corinne Ricard’s Murus Sanctus will return to the competition again, fielding this year’s only female player. 
The draw saw the four Cartier Queen’s Cup Semi Finalists placed at the head of the four leagues, with a representative of each team entering then drawing a place within the leagues. 
Play commences on Tuesday 26 June, with the Quarter Finals scheduled for the 14 – 15 July, the Semi Finals on Wednesday 18 July and The King Power Gold Cup Final on Sunday 22 July. For more information, please click here.
The King Power Gold Cup Teams:
League A:
Park Place (22): Andrey Borodin (0), Tommy Beresford (5), Juan Britos (7) & Hilario Ulloa (10)
Talandracas (22): Edouard/Hugues Carmignac (0), Alejandro Muzzio (7), Julian ‘Negro’ de Lusaretta (7) & Francisco Elizalde (8)
RH Polo (22): Ben Soleimani (0), Martín Podesta (5), Guillermo ‘Sapo’ Caset (9) & Rodrigo de Andrade (8)
League B:
La Bamba de Areco (22): Jean François Decaux (0), Byron Watson (3), David ‘Pelon’ Stiring (9) & Juan Martín Nero (10)
Monterosso (22): Alessandro Bazzoni (0), Juan Martín Zubia (6), Ignacio Toccalino (8) & Santiago Toccalino (8)
Murus Sanctus (22): Corinne Ricard (0), Ed Hitchman (4), Facundo Sola (8) & Gonzalito Pieres (10)
League C:
Valiente (22): Bob Jornayvaz (1), Hugo Lewis (4), Christian ‘Magoo’ Laprida (7) & Adolfo Cambiaso (10)
Alfi Investments (22): Alshair Fiyaz (0), Jack Hyde (4), Polito Pieres (9) & Nico Pieres (9)
Thai Polo (22): Harald Link (0), Guillermo Terrera (8), Joaquin Pittaluga (7) & Jaime Huidobro  (7)
League D:
La Indiana (22): Michael Bickford (1), Alec White (4), Nic Roldan (7) & Facundo Pieres (10)
El Remanso (22): Charlie Hanbury (4), Ollie Cudmore (6), James Beim (6) & James Harper (7)
Emlor (22): Spencer McCarthy (0), Agustin ‘Tincho’ Merlos (9), Diego Cavanagh (8) & Nacho Gonzalez (5)
Photograph: On Monday 11 June, the draw was decided for the upcoming King Power Gold Cup for The British Open Polo Championship. Courtesy of Cowdray Park Polo Club

Thu 14th Jun 2018

The Cartier Queen’s Cup Semi Finals

Park Place and La Indiana Through to the Final

On Wednesday 13 June as Guards Polo Club bathed in sunshine, four teams battled it out for the coveted two spots in The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final. 

First onto The Duke’s Ground were Andrey Borodin’s Park Place against their rivals, and match favourites, Valiente. From the first throw-in, it was clear Park Place had winning on their agenda, as The Queen’s Cup top scorer thus far, Juan Britos, fired four quick-fire goals and undertook some breath-taking runs upfield. Andrey Borodin’s side have prided themselves on their teamwork throughout this competition and yesterday’s play was no different. Each player was in the right place at the right time, perfectly executing practiced plays and taking advantage of Valiente’s disjointed action. Rob Jornayvaz’s team struggled to find their form and didn’t take the lead once in the match. At half-time the score rested at 7-5 in Park Place’s favour, with tension across both teams becoming apparent in the second half as Valiente fought to close the gap between the two teams. Hugo Lewis seemed to find his groove in the fifth chukka, fighting off four key plays from the Park Place boys, but as the final bell sounded, Park Place had taken The Hubert Perrodo Trophy with a final 11-9 score and with it a place in The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final. Hilario Ulloa’s seven-year-old stallion Minchatos Mesquite was presented with the Best Playing Pony rug after two outstanding periods in the third and sixth chukkas.
Following the excitement of the first match, La Indiana took to The Queen’s Ground against Jean-François Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco in a match that proved to be a one-sided, uphill struggle for La Bamba. Although Juan Martín Nero produced a series of, unfortunately goaless, fast runs downfield, the expert pairing of Facundo Pieres at number three and Nic Roldan, acting a quick-fire striker for La Indiana, was unsurmountable. Despite David ‘Pelon’ Stirling’s five goals, it just wasn’t enough to counteract Pieres and Roldan’s six goals in the final two chukkas. This outstanding performance, with the final score at 13-6, earned Michael Bickford’s side the final spot in The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final against rivals Park Place on Sunday at 3pm. 
The Final will be shown live on the Guards website here and a full report will feature in the July issue of Polo Times. Not a subscriber? Click here to remedy that!
The Cartier Queen’s Cup Semi Final Teams:
Valiente (22): Robert Jornayvaz (1), Christian ‘Magoo’ Laprida (7), Adolfo Cambiaso (10) & Hugo Lewis (4)
La Indiana (22): Alec White (4), Nic Roldan (7), Facundo Pieres (10) & Michael Bickford (1)
Park Place (22): Juan Britos (7), Tommy Beresford (5), Andrey Borodin (0) & Hilario Ulloa (10)
La Bamba de Areco (22): Byron Watson (3), Juan Martín Nero (10), Jean-François Decaux (0) & David ‘Pelon’ Stirling (9)
Photograph: Tommy Beresford and Christian ‘Magoo’ Laprida battled for the line in their Cartier Queen’s Cup Semi Final. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com

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