Cartier Queen’s Cup – Day 9
By Diana Butler
Zacara 14 – 13 El Remanso Guards Polo Club
Talandracas 13 – 12 King Power Highfield Farm
A golden penalty from the stick of Hilario Ulloa in extra time saw Zacara finish top of Group One and gain automatic qualification for next weekend’s Cartier Queen’s Cup quarter-finals. They defeated the Hanbury’s El Remanso in a thrilling match on The Queen’s Ground. It had looked unlikely that this game would go to extra time as Lyndon Lea’s team were 8-4 up at the end of the second chukka. Their change of line-up – Hilario Ulloa was standing in for the injured Juan Martin Nero – did not seem to affect them and they dominated the first half. However some great teamwork from David Stirling and Charlie Hanbury put El Remanso back into contention in the second half. Ollie Cudmore was also playing a great game, breaking away from the pack to score on several occasions.
So when Cudmore levelled the scores to 12-12 in the fifth this was now anyone’s game. However when Rodrigo Andrade picked up on a rare mistake by Stirling to score in the fifth, it looked like this match was finally over. Not according to Stirling though. He levelled the scores once again thanks to a superb shot from the half-way line much to the delight of the many spectators who had braved the cold weather to watch this brilliant display of 22-goal polo. With so much at stake, the tension was palpable on the field when the players returned for the seventh chukka, but a penalty in favour of Zacara confirmed Lea’s team as leaders of Group One.
Not only was this one of the best matches of the tournament, but it was also a wonderful advert for the depth of talent in British polo today. El Remanso’s George and Charlie Hanbury, Ollie Cudmore and Zacara’s Jack Hyde played strong, confident polo that was a pleasure to watch.
Edouard Carmignac’s Talandracas won their final game thanks to a golden goal too – this time off the stick of Sapo Caset. This was another game which had started out looking like extra time would be unnecessary when King Power failed to score at all in the first. However Ton Srivaddhanaprabha’s team came back into contention and team had levelled the scores – 6-6 – at half-time. Talandracas did pull away again in the second half – but with never more than a two-goal advantage and so this game could still go either way. King Power thought similarly and fired through four goals in the final seven minutes to push this match into extra time.
Talandracas though could not quite put their horse and sticks away for the day as this win forced them into a penalty shootout with El Remanso for second place in Group One and automatic qualification into next weekend’s Cartier Queen’s Cup quarter-finals. So Sapo Caset headed to Smith’s Lawn to square up to David Stirling to see which of these talented South American professionals could shoot through the best of five 60-yard penalties. Caset won this battle, winning the penalty shootout 5-3 and forcing El Remanso to play in the mid-week knockout stages.
Cartier Queen’s Cup standing after the league stages
1. King Power Foxes
3. UAE Polo
Team positions for the knock-out phase
1. El Remanso (will play RH Polo)
2. King Power (will play Sifani)
3. Dubai (will play Somerton)
4. Salkeld (will play HB Polo)
5. HB Polo
8. RH Polo
The timings for these games are still to be confirmed so please check the website at www.guardspoloclubcom