The inaugural Talacrest Prince of Wales’s Championship Cup extends the elite 22-goal competition into August at Guards Polo Club, with five teams competing to hold the honour of being the first champion, writes Michael Foster. Through four games of play, Park Place stands alone at the top with a 2-0 record, while Vikings are the other undefeated team after winning their first and only game against Monterosso. With four games scheduled for the week of August 9-15, the teams will jockey for position in the semi-finals as only the top four will advance.
The tournament began on Wednesday, 4 August with an opening match between Monterosso and Vikings that came down to the final seconds. The game was ultimately decided on the penalty line where Monterosso finished 8 for 12, including the game-winning Penalty 3 conversion from Juan Martin Zubia in the dying seconds to capture the 11-10 victory. All six of Zubia’s goals came from the penalty line, while teammate Sebastian Merlos produced a strong performance from the field, accounting for all five of his team’s field goals. Tournament scoring leader Ignacio Toccalino tried to lead his team to victory, but the sixth chukka comeback from Vikings was the story of the opening game in the 11-10 victory.
Through two games, Park Place have demonstrated a determined attack, led by their duo of Facundo Pieres and Juan Britos in a 9-8 victory over Bardon, followed by an impressive 10-5 victory over UAE Polo Team on the Duke’s Ground. Ranking second and third respectively in scoring, Pieres and Britos have been a formidable force for Park Place, finishing individual runs with accuracy. In the second consecutive game to begin the tournament, the outcome came down to the final plays as Park Place found themselves trailing 8-7 in the final chukka, but a Penalty 2 conversion from Pieres was quickly followed by a field goal from Britos on the following play to give Park Place their first victory.
Park Place’s second game was against a UAE Polo Team making their debut in the tournament, but Park Place produced one of the best performances in the tournament thus far, applying constant pressure throughout the match. Finishing a perfect 4 for 4 from the penalty line, adding to their tournament best 83% penalty shooting, Park Place took advantage of each opportunity, but it was their defence that truly led them to the win. Holding UAE Polo Team to just one goal in the entire first half, Park Place never trailed to take the 10-5 victory.
Both Bardon and Monterosso were searching for their first wins in the feature game of the week on the Queen’s ground after suffering heart-breaking one goal losses in their first games, but it was Monterosso who used a strong second half to claim their first win. Toccalino took the scoring lead with his fifth goal, but it was a complete team performance that was a difference. A four-goal outburst in the fourth chukka allowed Monterosso to take the lead, with contributions from all four players in the second half to never look back and defeat Bardon 11-9.
Entering the second week of play, Vikings return for their second game against UAE Polo Team as they try to join Park Place with a 2-0 record with an efficient attack that scored 11 goals in their first match. Later in the week, Bardon will meet UAE Polo Team in a game that will hold implications for the final spots in the semi-final, making it an important game to win for both teams. All games are being streamed live at Guards TV