Igniting semifinal action in the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup hosted by Cowdray Park Polo Club, Dubai went head-to-head against Marques de Riscal, with Dubai emerging victorious 15-12.
Matching each other in shots from the field, Marques de Riscal took an advantage in open play, shooting 47% from the field. Capitalizing from the penalty line, Dubai utilized Marques de Riscal’s foul troubles to convert eight goals on ten attempts. Demonstrating their accuracy and a strong counterattack, Dubai’s powerful offensive led by ten off the mallet of leading scorer Camilo Castagnola delivered Dubai’s triumphant three-goal win.
Taking charge from the field, efforts from Marques de Riscal’s Guillermo Caset and Alejandro Aznar overpowered two from Dubai’s Castagnola to take a narrow 3-2 lead. Answering from the penalty line in the second, back-to-back conversions from Rufino Bensadon and Castagnola tied the contested match 4-all. Breaking through in the third, the duo of Bensadon and Castagnola were back on the attack, combining for four in the chukka to outscore additions from Marques de Riscal’s Santiago Cernadas and Caset to give Dubai an 8-6 advantage at the break.
Emerging with a charge in the fourth, three from Marques de Riscal including a field goal from Chris Mackenzie brought Marques de Riscal back within one. Trading conversions in the fifth, Dubai entered the final chukka of play with a narrow one goal lead. Doubling their opponents in field shots, Dubai dialed up the pressure, as Bensadon and Castagnola once again combined for two in the chukka, providing Dubai enough breathing room to seal the 15-12 victory. Advancing to the final of the British Open Championship, Dubai were also the recipients of the Ellerston Cup.
Determining the last spot in coveted finals, UAE met Park Place in an exhilarating match, as a commanding display from UAE secured the dominant 18-9 victory.
With a relentless offense, UAE controlled possession of the ball throughout the entire game, barraging Park Place with twenty-six shots at goal. Shooting 59% from the field, UAE struck early and often in a game largely decided in open play. With just sixteen fouls combined, both teams utilized their opportunities at the line, each converting 100% of their attempts. Leading Park Place with 8-goals, UAE’s Bartolome Castagnola Jr. matched the 10-goaler with an eight-goal performance of his own, as a balanced and accurate offensive attack delivered UAE the nine-goal triumph.
Swapping scores to open the match, back-to-back efforts from Pieres were quickly answered with three from Tomas Beresford and Castagnola Jr. to give UAE a slim 5-4 lead. Exchanging attempts, UAE managed to outshoot Park Place 4 to 2 from the field, but the two talented teams traded goals once more, with UAE carrying a 7-6 edge into the break.
Maintaining pressure in the fourth, UAE’s Castagnola Jr. took control hitting three from the field, to create some much-needed separation. Temporarily hating UAE’s onslaught, James Harper became the second Park Place teammate to add his name to the scoreboard, but UAE couldn’t be contained, assembling a dominant six-goal run to grasp a firm control on the match 16-8. Despite a spectacular performance from Park Place’s Pieres, UAE’s superiority in the field and firepower of Castagnola Jr. sealed the 18-9 victory. Following their impressive win, UAE were also the recipients of the Tramontana Cup.
British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup Final:
Sunday, July 23
UAE vs Dubai at 3:00pm (BST)
Photo Credit: ©Mark Beaumont