La Indiana and RH Polo have won through to Sunday’s Cartier Queen’s Cup Final after producing some fantastic, 22-goal polo. The packed grandstands at Guards Polo Club were treated to two superb matches which highlighted the very best of the high-goal.
La Indiana, who were finalists in 2016, did not have an easy path to victory today, thanks to a great partnership from Murus Sanctus’s Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Sola. And with Martin Podesta doing a good job of protecting his team-mates when they had the ball and patron Corinne Ricard making several runs to goal, Murus Sanctus looked strong. Ulloa was the first one to score and found a couple before La Indiana got started. Agustin Merlos made up for it before the end of the first chukka, putting through a field goal and penalty to level up the scores 2-2. This was pretty much a template for the early stages of the match, with the scores levelling 6-6 at the half-way stage. Then La Indiana turned on the pressure in the fourth, with some impressive aerial play from Merlos and Nic Roldan. At one point Roldan raced the length of the field to score. The tension became evident through Murus Sanctus giving away too many penalties.
Michael Bickford’s boys took these with interest, piling through the goals to make it 13-9 at the end of the fourth. At last some daylight in the scores and La Indiana took advantage. The downside was a much more stop/start affair with the umpires being kept busy. The sixth was very tense and Murus Sanctus struggled to find their earlier spark, while Merlos, who was later named Cartier Most Valuable Player, produced a fabulously angled safety 60 to take his team’s tally to 14. Ulloa closed the match as he had started it, with a goal, but it was too late to stop la Indiana winning this match 14-11 and the Hubert Perrodo Trophy. Carrie Perrodo and Laurent Feniou, Managing Director of Cartier UK, also presented Merlos with the Best Playing Pony prize for Delta, who is owned by Bickford but played by Merlos in the game-changing fourth chukka.
Adolfo Cambiaso, who is chasing a record 10th Cartier Queen’s Cup victory, remains on target after RH Polo defeated El Remanso (rec 1 goal) 14-12 in the second semi-final of the day. However, this match had looked as if it was going in a different direction as Charlie Hanbury’s El Remanso team fought for possession in every moment. This quartet of four English players came to this semi-final after knocking out King Power Foxes in a great display of four-man polo last Saturday and looked as if they would be giant killers again. Hanbury was impressive in the line ups, invariably winning them for his team. This was followed up by some great team-work between James Harper, James Beim and Ollie Cudmore, ensuring El Remanso were always very much in this game. In a similar format to the earlier match, tensions surfaced in the third, with Cambiaso successfully converting three penalties and firing through a field goal to give Ben Soleimani’s team an 8-4 lead at half-time.
El Remanso turned the tables in the fourth, with Harper sending up some perfect shots to his team-mates to level the score 9-9 just before the end of the fourth chukka. The fifth was equally tough, but will be remembered for Cambiaso’s sportsmanship. Beim had a fall but was back on his feet unhurt, but minus his pony and the play continuing further down the field. Cambiaso remained with Beim, so that the match, for a short period, was still balanced, three on three. Harper shot through a goal at this time to level the scores again, only for Cambiaso to fire through a penalty to give RH Polo the edge going into the sixth (12-11).With both Cambiaso and Beim scoring in the sixth, extra time seemed possible. Then RH Polo were awarded a 30-yard penalty which was successfully converted by Tommy Beresford and ensured RH Polo aare through to Sunday’s final.
Adolfo Cambiaso was named Cartier Most Valuable Player, while Ollie Cudmore’s Rosita, whom he had played in the 4th chukka, was named Cartier Best Playing Pony.