Adolfo Cambiaso – the world’s number one player – notched up a record seventh win in The Harcourt Developments Queen’s Cup Final at Guards Polo Club last Sunday (13 June). No other player in the 50-year history of this competitive high-goal competition has been awarded more winners’ medals. Once more playing for Ali Albwardy’s Dubai team, Cambiaso helped Dubai to a 12-10 victory over Max Gottschalk’s Les Lions ll squad. Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by Pat Doherty of Harcourt Developments, presented the small silver trophy to Rashid Albwardy. Cambiaso was characteristically modest in the post match press conference, saying: “It is great to have a record such as this – I am obviously doing something right! He added: “I am really happy with this team. We played well today up until the third chukka and then came back even stronger.”
However Dubai did not have everything their own way and Les Lions put up a strong fight throughout the six-chukka match. Although Dubai was leading 5-3 at the end of the second, Les Lions, thanks to some great play from Sebastian and Augustin Merlos, put the Lions ahead, 6-5, at half-time. Dubai edged ahead again in the fourth (8-7), thanks to goals from Cambiaso and Pablo MacDonough. However they were no match for the young Chris Mackenzie in the fifth, who produced some fantastic polo and was justly named Most Valuable Player. No mean feat for a 17-year-old three-goaler, when the competition for this title included Cambiaso and the World Polo Tour’s Player of the Month for May, Sebastian Merlos.
This Dubai win – the fourth Queen’s Cup victory for Ali Albwardy’s team – was the first with Rashid Albwardy in the saddle. Both his father and his older brother Tariq have seen success and the 18-year-old acknowledged those victories by saying: “At last I am no longer the black sheep of the family.” He went on to say that he “was hoping to win the Gold Cup and play for many more years to come”. At this point his father interjected from the audience, asking: “What about school?”
Her Majesty The Queen, who had first presented The Queen’s Cup to The Centaurs in 1960, this year presented two best playing pony awards. The first one was presented to Menina, a seven-year-old mare who had been played by Augustin Merlos in the first and fifth chukkas. The Queen also presented the Best Playing Pony Award to a 12-year-old gelding which was played by Adolfo Cambiaso in the third and sixth chukkas.
HM The Queen was then presented with a DeWitt “Queen’s Cup 1960-2010” lady’s watch, one of two timepieces especially commissioned by the Swiss watchmaker and their UK distributor, Linder Luxury, to celebrate The Queen’s Cup 50th anniversary. The No. 1 model was given to HM The Queen by Linda Balzanella, Erik Meijer and Jérôme de Witt after the main presentations on The Queen’s Ground. The other commemorative model is a gentleman’s watch and both timepieces are produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
Some 14 teams had entered into this year’s Queen’s Cup competition and two of these squads battled for the subsidiary, Harcourt Developments Trophy on finals’ morning. The Hanburys' El Remanso dominated that match, defeating Enigma 11-6. Jerome Wirth’s team battled hard in the latter stages of the game, despite being down 6-0 at the end of the second chukka, but could not find that extra gear to close the gap in time.
Dubai: Rashid Albwardy (1); Francisco Vizmara (2); Pablo MacDonough (9); Adolfo Cambiaso (10). Les Lions ll: Chris Mackenzie (1); Agustin Merlos (9); Sebastian Merlos (9); Max Gottschalk (1).
El Remanso: George Hanbury (1); Charlie Hanbury (4); David Stirling (9); Jaime Huidobro (7). Enigma: Jerome Wirth (1); James Beim (7); Matias MacDonough (8); Malcolm Borwick (6).