In one of the most exciting games seen so far in this competition, Adrian Kirby’s Cortium made it two out of two when defeating Joachim Gottschalk’s Les Lions on The Queen’s Ground at Guards Polo Club. It was appropriate that two Guards Polo Club-based teams played in this match as it was held on the same day as the Charles Stisted Memorial Shoot and Lunch, held in memory of the Club’s Chief Executive, who was killed in a helicopter crash in October 2010. In fact both patrons had known Charlie well for many years.
On paper, Les Lions would have been favourites to win – they are one of the most experienced teams in the competition this year and although they had to up their game to beat Belmont Farm in their first match of the 2012 Queen’s Cup, the mighty Merlos brothers should never be underestimated. However last week Cortium had caused an upset when they defeated Dubai on their home ground. So all bets were off in this game if Francisco Elizalde, Paulo Pieres and Jaime Huidobro were on form for Cortium.
The match started cautiously enough with the score reading 2-2 at the end of the first seven minutes. Three goals from the yellow shirts of Cortium, to only one in reply from Les Lions, tipped the balance in favour of Kirby’s team in the second, 5-3. But suddenly Les Lions got into their game and the British Open runners up in 2011 closed down Cortium, stopping them from scoring while they added five goals to their tally. This gave Gottschalk’s boys an 8-5 advantage at half-time and it looked like the form books were going to be proved right.
A further three goals in the fourth, to only two in reply from Cortium, kept Les Lions ahead. Then everything changed again. Cortium suddenly found a new lease of life and went on the attack. They scored four goals to only one in reply from Les Lions, closing the gap to just one goal difference (12-11 to Les Lions) in the fifth. There was now all to play for in the sixth and final chukka. Incredibly it was Les Lions’ turn not to score, while Cortium just got better and better, putting four more goals through the flags and giving them a winning score of 15-12. Cortium now head up League Four with two wins and all eyes will be on their final game against Belmont Farm – who are yet to register a win – this Sunday.
Cortium v Les Lions on The Queen's Ground (Images of Polo)