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British Open coverage-Sunday-July 2, 2017

RH Polo 15, Murus Sanctus 7
La Bamba de Areco 12, King Power 11  OT

RH Polo bounces back in 15-7 win; La Bamba de Areco trips up King Power in OT, 12-11

By Alex Webbe

Murus Sanctus (Corinne Ricard, Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Sola and Martin Podesta) got off to a furious start in Sunday’s opening match of the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup at the Cowdray Park Polo Club Sunday afternoon. Opening goals from Hilario Ulloa and Martin Podesta had Murus Sanctus in front of the 2017 Queens Cup winner, RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Tommy Beresford, Adolfo Cambiaso and Rodrigo Andrade), 2-0. The RH Polo attack put the pressure on the Murus Sanctus defense in the final minutes with Tommy Beresford taking advantage of a foul to convert a 30-yard penalty shot for the final goal of the chukker. After the first seven minutes of play it was Murus Sanctus (1-0) with a 2-1 lead over RH Polo (0-1).

A more deliberate RH Polo team took the field on the second period. After several scoreless opening minutes, a disciplined defense was aided by goals from Beresford (30-yard penalty conversion) and Adolfo Cambiaso. At the end of the second chukker, RH Polo had taken the lead, 3-2.

Murus Sanctus fought to get back into the game in the third. A missed penalty shot by Ulloa was followed up by a game-tying goal from the field from Facundo Sola, 3-3. RH Polo connected on three consecutive penalty shots (two 30-yard goals from Beresford and a 60-yarder from Cambiaso. At the end of the first half the lead belonged to RH Polo, 6-3.

Cambiaso and Ulloa traded penalty goals in the opening minutes of the third with Cambiaso converting from 60-yards out and Ulloa tapping in a spot hit from a few yards away, 7-4. Brazilian 8-goaler Rodrigo Andrade blasted the ball down the field to a streaking Ben Soleimani who scored tor an 8-4 RH Polo advantage. A shot on goal by Murus Sanctus team captain Corinne Ricard hit the goal post, and a foul was committed when Cambiaso attempted to clear the ball. Ulloa tapped it in on a spot penalty for the final goal of the chukker, 8-5.

RH Polo, and Cambiaso in particular, owned the fifth chukker. The period opened with Ulloa missing on a 60-yard penalty attempt and Cambiaso finding himself on the scoring end of a pass from teammate Andrade, 9-5. Cambiaso showed the quality of his mount as he added two more goals from the ensuing throw-ins, 11-5. Cambiaso closed out the period with a near-300-yard run for a goal and a commanding 12-5 lead.

Consecutive goals from Cambiaso and Andrade opened the sixth as Murus Sanctus fell behind by nine goals, 14-5. Sola finally scored for Murus Sanctus, 14-6, but Andrade demonstrated great stick control as he lofted the ball toward the Murus Sanctus goal before sending it through the goalposts to make it 15-6. Ulloa scored the final goal on a 30-yard penalty shot, 15-7, as RH Polo put on an offensive show, evening their record at 1-1. The loss was the first for Murus Sanctus (1-1).

Cambiaso led all scoring with seven goals. Beresford scored four times (all on penalty shots). Andrade added two goals and Soleimani chipped in a goal for the win. Ulloa was held to just four goals on the day. Sola scored twice and Podesta was credited with a goal in the loss.

La Bamba de Areco 12, King Power 11 OT

La Bamba de Areco (Ned Hine, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida/Francisco Elizalde and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr.) tripped up defending British Open champion King Power (Hugo Taylor, Jimbo Fewster, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) in overtime, 12-11 with Diego Cavanagh scoring the winning goal three minutes into the extra chukker.

The two teams battled evenly through the first two chukkers, matching one another goal for goal. Gonzalito led off the scoring on a penalty conversion followed by a goal from the field later in the chukker. Jimbo Fewster scored the other King Power goal. Magoo Laprida scored twice for La Bamba de Areco om the opening chukker. A penalty goal from Diego Cavanagh had it all even at 3-3.

La Bamba de Areco and King Power traded goals in the second period with Facundo scoring the first two goals of the chukker for a 5-3 King Power lead. Cavanagh Goals from Cavanagh and Laprida ended the chukker with the score all tied at 5-5.

La Bamba de Areco went on a team in the third despite an injury to Laprida (who was replaced by Francisco Elizalde). Three consecutive goals from Cavanagh and a goal from the recently substituted Elizalde were complimented by shutout defense. At the end of the first half it was La Bamba de Areco in the lead by four goals, 9-5.

King Power fought back in the fourth with goals from Fewster and Gonzalito Pieres, 9-7. Elizalde added another goal to end the chukker with King Power trailing by three goals, 10-7.

Elizalde’s third goal of the day extended the La Bamba de Areco lead back to four goals, 11-7 before King Power righted the ship. Three straight goals from Facundo Pieres and a penalty goal from Gonzalito Pieres leveled the score at 11-11, forcing a sudden-death overtime chukker.

After a brief recess to allow the players to select fresh mounts, action continued. King Power was hoping to continue the sixth chukker rally while La Bamba de Areco was trying to upset the defending champions. Play went back and forth with each side getting a scoring opportunity. Midway through the overtime period, Cavanagh drove the ball through the King Power goalposts for the 12-11 victory.

Cavanagh led all scoring with six goals. Laprida and Elizalde added three goals apiece for the win. Facundo Pieres scored a team-high five goals for King Power. Gonzalito Pieres was credited with four goals and Fewster scored twice in the team’s first loss of the tournament. The win improved La Bamba de Areco’s record to 1-1. King Power fell to 1-1 with the loss.

Habtoor (Mohammed Al Habtoor, Nicolas Pieres, Francisco Elizalde and Isidro Strada) will make their 2017 English high-goal debut of the season when they face La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Luke Tomlinson) at noon on Monday, July 3rd as competition continues in the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup at Cowdray Park Polo Club.