Story by Diana Butler, Communications Director Guards Polo Club. Photos by www.imagesofpolo.com.
La Indiana 10 – 9 La Bamba de Areco at Flemish Farm
The spectacular backdrop of Windsor Castle was the perfect venue for a dramatic game to decide the top team in Group Two. A victory for La Bamba today, again playing with Zac Beim in place of their patron Jean Francois Decaux, would have seen them finish top in this group.
Of course, this is the 2018 Cartier Queen’s Cup and all forecasts went out the window a long time ago. Plus their opponents were Michael Bickford’s La Indiana – runners up in 2016 and 2017.
In a fairly scrappy game, La Indiana were up 4-3 at half-time. Then, when Facundo Pieres was shown two yellow flags in the fourth and sent to sin bin for two minutes, Pelon Stirling took advantage and fired through a couple of goals, to add to the two he had already scored in this chukka. La Bamba were narrowly back in the lead again (7-6).
Time off the field only seemed to inspire Pieres though and he fired through two goals, while his patron also found the flags. Meanwhile it was Stirling’s turn to be shown a yellow card. So there really was a lot still to play for as the teams rode out for the sixth and final chukka.
Alec White increased La Indiana’s lead to start with, only for Beim and Byron Watson, who has had a great tournament, closing the gap once more. Time though was not on La Bamba’s side and it was La Indiana that won this match.
This result though meant a three-way tie at the top with three teams – La Indiana, La Bamba de Areco and Talandracas – all on two wins each. Penalty shootout time beckoned.
La Bamba was knocked out first and now have to play a qualifying match next Tuesday. Talandracas and La Indiana may have now qualified for the quarters, they had to continue shooting penalties to see who came out top.
This honour went to La Indiana, who will now play the fourth placed team from League One on Sunday 10th June. Talandracas meanwhile will play the third placed team from League One on Saturday 9th June.
RH Polo 7 – 6 Valiente at Guards Polo Club
These two teams came into this game unbeaten and were playing for the number one position in League One. A large crowd had come to watch Valiente’s Adolfo Cambiaso in action for the first time this year at Smith’s Lawn, but were initially disappointed as a muscle injury saw him being subbed by Diego Cavanagh.
Any disappointment soon faded as these two teams delivered a thrilling match on The Duke’s Ground. The first couple of chukkas were a bit stop/start with the umpires having to earn their fee, but there was always an expectation that this could be a great game.
Guillermo Caset was the first to find the flags, which was soon followed up by team-mate Martin Podesta, who had a great game for RH Polo. He always seemed to be in the right place to pick up a long shot from either Caset or Facundo Solo, who joined the field in the second chukka, still in his blue jeans, after Rodrigo de Andrade retired due to a riding muscle injury.
In fact by the end of the second chukka the RH players had fired through four goals to only one in reply from Cavanagh for Valiente. The pace increased in the third with some lovely end-to-end play from both Cristian Laprida and Cavanagh, ensuring it was Valiente that was ahead for a moment (5-4) in the third.
Caset put a stop to that just before the bell, tapping in a penalty to show 5-5 on the scoreboard at half-time. The next three chukkas were fast and furious with some breath-taking races between Sola and Laprida – appropriate on Epsom Derby Day – but few goals.
The sixth started all square at 6-6 and everything to play for. Hugo Lewis and Rob Jornayvaz never stopped battling for Valiente, but it was RH’s Caset who found the winning goal with two minutes to spare. This means that RH Polo are unbeaten in their league games so far – the only team in the 2018 tournament to achieve this.
Both matches are available to view at www.guardspoloclub.com/guards-tv