Harrison and Challenge silverware won in Cowdray's super-busy week of polo

The Harrison Cup winners / Picture by Mark Beaumont
The Harrison Cup winners / Picture by Mark Beaumont

The Harrison Cup and Cowdray Challenge Cups, played as part of Cowdray’s Goodwood Week series, are open to all-comers and lead to the overall awards in the HPA’s Victor Ludorum series.

The final of the Harrison Cup was truly exciting as befits one of the highest-rated 15-goal tournaments in the UK polo calendar.

The winners of the Challenge Cup / Picture by Mark Baumont

The winners of the Challenge Cup / Picture by Mark Baumont

Sally Turner’s CPG Nightingale and Momin Sheikh’s Berkeley Healthcare made it to the final. Alongside Turner were Will Harper (2 goals) playing at two, George Meyrick (6 goals) at three and seven-goaler Juan Gris Zavaleta at back. Lachie Gilmore (2 goals) took the two slot for BHC, with six-goaler Matt Perry at three and Jack Richardson (7 goals) at back.

Zavaleta made the opening goal for CPG Nightingale, his score swiftly answered by Matt Perry for BHC. Zavaleta was accurate with another attempt and made the pass that enabled young Harper to make goal three for CPG Nightingale.

Chukka two saw Jack Richardson go on the attack and a brilliant pick-up by Gilmore saw him send a mighty shot between the posts to pull a goal back for BHC. Meyrick finished a lovely hit towards goal by Zavaleta and CFG Nightingale had a two-goal lead - but not for long.

A super goal from Perry helped close the gap and Richardson made the goal that made it 4-4. Another massive shot from Lachie Gilmore enabled BHC to take the lead, but then Turner made a useful pass to Zavaleta and it was 5-5.

Harper’s talent came to the fore with two great goals in chukka three while BHC failed to mark the scoreboard and the first half ended at 7-5 to CPG Nightingale.

Within 15 seconds of chukka four opening, Zavaleta made it 8-5 and it wasn’t long before his next attempt at goal was finished off by Harper. Zavaleta’s huge shot down the field landed with Turner who hit the post,and the ball trickled through to put her side 10-5 up.

Zavaleta obliged with another huge hit and it was seven goals on the trot for CPG Nightingale before a super goal from Jack Richardson made it 11-6.

The final chukka saw a rally from BHC with goals from both Perry and Richardson, the latter from a 60 yard penalty. But Juan Gris Zavaleta finished off a blistering performance with two more goals to give CPG Nightingale a 13-8 win and he picked up the Le Chameau prize for Most Valuable Player.

Zavaleta’s pony Oli Vercera was awarded the Schweppes rug for Best Playing Pony.

* In the last high-goal match of Cowdray’s 2019 season, the final of the historic Challenge Cup, first presented in 1911, was played between Jonathan Rothermere’s Ferne Park and Alessandro Bazzoni’s Monterosso sides.

Playing for Jonathan Rothermere were Richard Le Poer (5 goals) at two, Joaquin Pittaluga (7 goals) at three and Rodrigo Rueda (6 goals) at back, making up the 18-goal team. Alessandro Bazzoni playing off one goal was joined by young guns Jose Ramon Araya (3 goals) at two, Bartolomé Castagnola (6 goals) at three and the experienced eight-goaler Ignacio Toccalino at back.

A super pass from Toccalino to Araya resulted in the first goal for Monterosso. In chukka two, Toccalino and Castagnolaset up Bassoni who scored number two.

Toccalino played a super ball to Bassoni but the patron’s shot went wide. Le Poer saved the next Monterosso attempt at goal and Le Poer’s attempt at goal was thwarted by Toccalino.

A free hit sent the ball to Bazzoni via Castagnola and another great goal from the patron put 3-0 on the scoreboard. Rueda left the ball for Le Poer, who backed through a neat shot to give Ferne Park their first goal, but from the throw-in Toccalino and Castagnola had full possession of the ball to makre it 4-1.

Araya stole the ball from Le Poer, Castagnola picked it up and it was 5-1 to Monterosso. Le Poer raced off and passed to Pittaluga but the ever-present Castagnola snatched it away and was soon running through the posts again to make it 6-1 in Monterosso’s favour.

As Rothermere looked to pick up a useful pass from Pittaluga he was fouled. A 30-yard penalty was awarded which Le Poer put through and the first half ended at 6-2 to Monterosso.

In the second half, Le Poer stole the ball from under Castagnola’s stick and raced away to score. Hard and fast play continued with Toccalino playing to all of his eight goals and Castagnola the expert back-up. They ran the ball again to Fern Park’s goalmouth with Araya waiting to flick it through for 7-3.

Ferne Park won the next throw, but two consecutive whistles gave the side a penalty which Pittaluga accurately sent through from 40 yards. Castagnola raced off from the next throw-in, lost the ball but Toccalino was on hand to see it between the posts and Monterosso ended the fourth chukka 8-4 ahead.

The final chukka saw Rueda fighting to the goalmouth to pull one back for Ferne Park. Bassoni was set to carry the ball forward but was fouled in the process. Toccalino scored from the 40-yard penalty and it was all over for Ferne Park, Monterosso victorious at 9-5.

Emma McRae presented the trophy to Alessando Bazzoni and prizes to all players. The MVP prize sponsored by Le Chameau went to Ignacio Toccalino and the Schweppes Best Playing Pony rug went to Merengada, played by Jose Araya.