Les Lions/Great Oaks Improves to 2-0 in King Power Gold Cup
The beginning of the second round in the 2020 King Power Gold Cup produced the first team with two wins after Les Lions/Great Oaks defeated Scone 14-12, while Park Place Vaara overcame their opening round loss to defeat Polo Stud Schockemohle 8-6 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Arguably displaying the most potent offense of the tournament thus far, Les Lions/Great Oaks scored 14 goals for the second consecutive game, behind an efficient team attack that resulted in at least three goals from all four players. Unable to slow all facets of the Les Lions/Great Oaks attack, Scone performed admirably shooting over 50% from the field and converting four of five penalty attempts, but a dynamic passing attack led by Bartolome Castagnola and Alejandro Muzzio led Les Lions/Great Oaks to victory.
A lightning quick pace was set in the opening two chukkas with both teams avoiding the whistle in end-to-end action. Muzzio and Nico Pieres led their respective teams to a 2-2 tie after the first chukka and the tie remained unchanged after a second chukka where both Les Lions/Great Oaks and Scone had their chances to take the lead. A decisive third chukka proved to be instrumental in the outcome of the game as Les Lions/Great Oaks built a commanding three-goal lead behind accurate passes to goal, including two assists from Santiago Laborde. One goal from each player on Les Lions/Great Oaks produced a four-goal chukka and a 7-4 lead at halftime.
Fighting to close the gap, Nico Pieres converted a penalty 3 attempt, while James Harper found Oliver Cudmore for a goal as part of a two-goal fourth chukka, yet Les Lions/Great Oaks maintained their lead thanks to the efforts of Dillon Bacon in the #1 position, who finished accurately around goal. Committing just one foul up until the fifth chukka, three fouls committed by Scone resulted in three penalty goals for Castagnola, deflating the comeback efforts of Scone. Facing a four-goal deficit, a late push from Scone including three goals from Pieres in the final chukka, was not enough to claim victory in the 14-12 defeat.
The second game saw both teams searching for their first win of the tournament in an entertaining match that came down to the final chukka. A hard-fought defensive game produced difficult scoring chances for both teams, leading to less than 40% shooting from the field on both sides of the ball, but 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa was crucial in Park Place Vaara’s victory, scoring four goals while adding three assists to lead his team to the narrow 8-6 victory.
A low-scoring start to the game demonstrated the evenly matched teams fighting for field position, with Diego Cavanagh breaking through to open the scoring and give Polo Stud Schockemohle the 1-0 lead. Undeterred by the scoreless first chukka, Park Place Vaara responded with two goals from Ulloa, aided by the work of Zac Beim in the #1 position. Holding the possession advantage, Park Place Vaara looked to extend their lead, but the two-man game of Cavanagh and Patrick Maleitzke combined for two goals to end the half, leaving Polo Stud Schockemohle trailing by just one goal.
Building on their momentum from the end of the half, Maleitzke tied the score at 4-4 in the early stages of the second half. A clean, hard-fought game had yet to see a penalty goal, but a Penalty 2 conversion for Juan Britos restored Park Place Vaara’s lead and ignited a three-goal run that was finished by a goal from Ulloa that extended his team’s lead to three. In need of offense, Polo Stud Schockemohle pressured the Park Place Vaara defence, receiving four fouls that resulted in two penalty goals for Maleitzke to quickly pull Polo Stud Schokemohle back within one goal. In the final chukka, Park Place Vaara kept Polo Stud Schockemohle pinned in their own half, content to shoot at goal and run down the clock. Ulloa completed the victory with a final goal, securing the Midhurst Town Cup with an 8-6 victory for Park Place Vaara.
Most valuable player – Patrick Maleitzke
Best Playing Pony Dolfina Polemcia –played by Diego Cavanagh.