Park Place produced an impressive performance on The Duke’s Ground to secure their first Cartier Queen’s Cup Final ticket. Juan Britos, top scorer in the Queen’s Cup coming into this semi-final, did not disappoint, firing through four goals and delivering some breath-taking runs up the field. Not surprisingly he was later named Most Valuable Player.
Park Place’s hallmark in this competition has been teamwork – with no individuals wanting to steal the limelight. This reaped rewards for them today with both Hilario Ulloa and Tommy Beresford delivering strong performances; be it a perfect pass to a team-mate or being in the right place at the right time to receive the ball. Their patron, Andrey Borodin, who spent Sunday afternoon intently watching La Indiana’s quarter-final game, was equally strong, guaranteeing he was very much part of this competitive quartet.
Meanwhile Valiente struggled to find their form today and did not take the lead once in this match. Cristian Laprida tried his best to put Valiente ahead, with some impressive play, but just could not find a response to Park Place’s consistent play.
Tensions started to appear in the final two chukkas, with the umpires starting to earn their money. However Valiente still could not close the gap and Park Place ran out the winners, receiving the Hubert Perrodo Trophy from Cari Perrodo and Laurent Feniou of Cartier.
Hilario Ulloa received the Best Playing Pony Prize for Minchatos Mesquite, a seven-year-old stallion whom he had played in the third and sixth chukka.
The second match, on The Queen’s Ground, was a very different experience, a stop/start affair that was marred by too many umpires’ whistles. Michael Bickford’s La Indiana dominated the game, earning his team their third Cartier Queen’s Cup finals tickets in succession.
Ros Packer, the widow of the late Kerry Packer, who had watched this game from the Royal Box, presented the prizes, including the Best Playing Pony prize for the American-bred Ole, played by Facundo Pieres.
Unfortunately, Jean Francois Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco struggled to find the form that had seen them through to these semi-finals. Although Juan Martin Nero produced some wonderfully fast runs down the Queen’s Ground, he failed to convert these to goals. It was David Stirling who scored the lion’s share of his team’s tally, firing through five goals.
The problem for La Bamba was that they created too many penalty situations - which Facundo Pieres and Nic Roldan – later named Most Valuable Player – fired through. This sharp shooting paid dividends in the final two chukkas with Pieres and Roldan delivering six goals to only two in reply from La Bamba.
Such a performance has now earned Michael Bickford and his team a Cartier Queen’s Cup Final contest against Park Place this Sunday at 3pm. This will be shown live at www.guardspoloclub.com/guards-tv at 3pm