Story by Diana Butler, Director of Communications Guards Polo Club. All photos by www.imagesofpolo.com.
El Remanso – 11 – 9 King Power Foxes
Murus Sanctus 10 – 7 Talandracas
Some surprising results from today’s knockout stages of the Cartier Queen’s Cup, but probably the best game of the tournament and a new patron winning through to the final four in the high-goal.
First up was El Remanso v King Power Foxes at the Gottschalks’ Les Lions ground. King Power, after their surprise defeat to Murus Sanctus last Wednesday, were fielding James Fewster in place of Charles Cooney and Hugo Taylor.
The change of line up did not improve things for the 2015 winners and they were 6-4 down to El Remanso (rec 1) at the end of the second. Charlie Hanbury’s team put on a strong performance, often out riding and out playing their higher-handicapped rivals.
Ollie Cudmore won several horse races against Gonzalito Pieres and James Harper was always in the right place to pick up loose balls. If anyone had been worried about the state of English polo before the start of the season, this game did a wonderful job in allaying any fears.
Unfortunately for King Power, their patron, Top Srivaddhanaprabha had a fall in the final 12 seconds of the third chukka and had to be substituted. Charles Cooney took his place and although he is familiar with the team, this change inevitably unsettled them. That said, El Remanso could not take advantage in the fourth and with no goals scored in this chukka, the score was 6-4 going into the fifth.
Many would have felt that this was the moment that King Power would take command, but El Remanso held their nerve and kept them at bay. In fact it was Cudmore and Hanbury that scored field goals in this chukka, leaving King Power to only add to their tally with a penalty. So the sixth started with the score at 8-5 to El Remanso and they scored from the first line up.
King Power fired back, with goals from the Pieres brothers and the pressure was back on. Again, El Remanso kept their cool and, with huge vocal encouragement from their team tent, powered through two big hits at goal. Uncharacteristically, a Facundo Pieres shot at goal hit the post and although it went through in the ensuing melee off the stick of Fewster, El Remanso were clearly in the driving seat.
With Harper firing through the 19th goal of the game the final result was clear and Facundo’s frustration was evident when he had a chance of shooting through a goal just yards out and hit it as if he was at the half-way line.
So this 11-9 win to El Remanso gives them a semi-final clash with RH Polo on Wednesday (14 June) at 4pm. If the boys can replicate this performance we are in for a treat.
Corinne Ricard may be playing in her first Cartier Queen’s Cup tournament, but her team kept the hugely experienced Talandracas at bay, winning this clash of French teams 10-7. Some impressive play from Facundo Sola and Hilario Ulloa put Murus Sanctus ahead 6-2 at half-time.
Pelon Stirling and Sapo Caset also had some great plays, including several fast runs down the field, but goals eluded them. It has to be said that, on occasion, this duo also played around with the ball too much, only for it to be pinched from under their noses by a Murus Sanctus player.
After the wonderfully, flowing polo showcased in the earlier game, this match was a much more stop-start affair, with the umpires being kept busy. It was also a hugely physical game with some massive ride-offs.
It had the potential to be an absolutely amazing match but the tension took over, destroying any possible flair. Although Corinne Ricard will not care as Murus Sanctus now have a date with La Indiana in Wednesday’s first semi-final, which will be played at Guards Polo Club at 12noon on Wednesday 14 June.
Next matches – Cartier Queen’s Cup Subsidiary Semi-Final Knockout Stages
12 noon Sifani v Monterosso Polo Team at Billingbear
3pm Sommelier v La Bamba de Areco at Coworth Park