Talandracas triumph as Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup continues

Cortium Jaeger Le Coultre (yellow) v Talandracas (grey) in a Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo Match for the Cooch Behar Cup on Lawns 2 at Cowdray Park Polo Club Picture by Clive Bennett
Cortium Jaeger Le Coultre (yellow) v Talandracas (grey) in a Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo Match for the Cooch Behar Cup on Lawns 2 at Cowdray Park Polo Club Picture by Clive Bennett

By the close of last weekend, all teams had completed their third matches of the British Open Polo Championship for the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup.

Saturday saw 2012 winners Cortium Jaeger-LeCoultre in action against Talandracas. Talandracas were leading 6-3 at the end of the first half with Lucas James the tireless workhorse of the side backing up ten-goaler Juan Martin Nero.

During the fourth chukka, Cortium rallied with two exceptional goals from the patron Adrian Kirby levelling the scores at 7-7. In the sixth, Kirby passed a ball to Francisco Elizalde who scored from a phenomenal angle to see Cortium in the lead for the first time at 8-7.

But Jauretche for Talandracas found the space to zip a nifty ball through the posts to equalise. Picking up the ball and carrying it down the field he headed for the goal again and nailed victory for Talandracas at 9-8.

A good open match between Sumaya and Thai Polo saw the first half close at 5-3 in favour of Sumaya. Sumaya continued to out-play Harald Link’s Thai Polo side and won 11-8.

The able patron, Ahmad Aboughazale, has put together a strong team with Hilario Ulloa, nine goals, and Facundo Sola, eight, combining brilliantly. Ably supported by Tomas Garbarini, the team have won all three of their matches in the tournament so far.

On Sunday, 2011 Gold Cup winners Zacara, who have already won the US Open and the Cartier Queen’s Cup in 2013, took on 2011 finalists Les Lions, in the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup, played as a round of the Gold Cup.

Zacara’s Facundo Pieres, at the top of his form, scored a hat-trick in the opening chukka, including a magnificent goal from an impossible angle 70 yards out.

With Rodrigo Andrade, eight goals, in the No3 position, also piling on the pressure, the team looked almost unstoppable and by half-time Zacara were 7-1 ahead.

Despite nine-goaler Agustin Merlos toiling ceaselessly for Les Lions, well backed up by his brother Sebastian, by the close of the fifth chukka, the side were trailing 9-4 after a couple of missed penalties.

Despite two excellent goals from the Merlos brothers in the sixth, Les Lions were outclassed by Zacara, who won 9-6 and, with three wins to their credit, will definitely be in the quarter-finals.

Ambassador Alicia Castro presented the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup to Lyndon Lea, patron of Zacara, and individual prizes to both teams.

In the final match of the weekend, Salkeld beat HB Polo Team 8-7.

LIZ HIGGINS