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Mon 27th Jul 2020

Next Generation Secure Gold Cup

Adolfo Cambiaso’s eighth win

Yesterday, Sunday 26 July, saw history made at Cowdray Park Polo Club, with an epic battle between two mighty polo families – the Castagnolas and Cambiasos. 
This year, sure to Coronavirus restrictions, the sidelines were muted as no spectators or avid picnickers were allowed to line the ground, cheering on their favourites. Nonetheless, there was all to play for, with both teams eager to secure The King Power Gold Cup for the British Open. 
Both Next Generation and Les Lions/Great Oaks had impeccable form and team line-ups; Next Generation’s Adolfo Cambiaso seeking his seventh Gold Cup win but his first alongside his son and protégée, Aldofito ‘Poroto’ Cambiaso, for whom it was his first British high goal Final. Next Generations’ other two players, Diego Cavanagh (replacing an injured David ‘Pelon’ Stirling) and Jean-François Decaux have both also enjoyed Gold Cup wins. Meanwhile on the Les Lions/Great Oaks line-up were the Castagnola brothers – defending champions and nephews and cousins, respectively, to the two Cambiasos. Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Santiago Laborde is more than used to playing alongside the Castagnolas and provides a formidable defence, while team captain Dillon Bacon is capable of scoring vital goals to aid his team. 
Going into the Final the result was anyone’s guess, but the polo pundits were convinced there would be little to separate the two teams, and they were not disappointed as back and forth play illustrated the evenly matched line-ups.  
In the first half Next Generation took control of the match, with Les Lions/Great Oaks trailing 7-5 at half-time. However, the fourth chukka saw the dynamic change as Les Lions/Great Oaks scored consecutive goals to tie the scores at 7-7, but Next Generation re-doubled their offensive and restored their lead with two successive field goals. Les Lions/Great Oaks managed to claim back the deficit, but four fouls over the last seven minutes handed the power back to Next Generation who did not need asking twice. Diego Cavanagh converted all of his penalty opportunities and the final score saw a 14-12 win for Next Generation. Adolfo Cambiaso was named Most Valuable Player, his son Poroto Cambiaso took home the Best Playing Pony prize for Pintita, while Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Dillon Bacon received a conciliatory prize of the Best Playing Pony Patron for Small Axe. 
The win means that for the young and talented Poroto Cambiaso, his World Polo Tour ranking jumps impressively from 181 to 30. A full report from the Final will be included in the next issue of Polo Times
King Power Gold Cup Final Teams:
Les Lions/Great Oaks (22): Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola (7), Dillon Bacon (2), Barto Castagnola (7) & Santiago Laborde (6)
Next Generation (22): Jean-François Decaux (0), Diego Cavanagh (8) Adolfo Cambiaso Jnr (4) & Adolfo Cambiaso (10)
 
Photograph: No hard feelings between Adolfo Cambiaso & Barto Castagnola. By Mark Beaumont

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