La Indiana and Scone Advance to Cartier Queen’s Cup Semi-Finals
The opening two quarter-finals in the Cartier Queen’s Cup featured two exciting match-ups with Scone defeating the previously unbeaten Talandracas 11-7, white La Indiana remained undefeated, capturing the narrow 9-8 victory over La Bamba de Areco on the Duke’s Ground at Guards Polo Club.
The first quarter-final resulted in Scone capturing their third consecutive victory to upset Talandracas, due to the large advantage from the penalty line in the opening two chukkas that gave Scone a commanding lead which they effectively managed throughout the game. Talandracas shot just 40% from the field against a Scone defence that forced them to shoot from distance and prevent a second half comeback. In the opening two chukkas, Scone received four penalty attempts, all Penalty 2’s, which were promptly converted by Nico Pieres and James Beim to push Scone into the lead. Talandracas responded with a lone field goal from Francisco Elizalde, but the dynamic of the game changed in the second chukka after Scone added three field goals to their penalty conversions in a 5-0 chukka. Three goals from Beim, along with one from Maximillian Kirchhoff, who played in place of David Paradice, led to a 7-1 lead. By the end of the half, Scone was in control, holding a 9-2 lead, leaving Talandracas desperate for offense to mount a comeback.
With a focus on protecting their lead, Scone’s offense slowed to begin the second half, held to just one penalty conversion for Pieres over the fourth and fifth chukkas. Talandracas pushed downfield, but took difficult shots, scoring just one field goal in each of the two chukkas to begin the second half, leaving the deficit at five with just one chukka remaining. Francisco Elizalde and Julian de Lusarreta combined for six goals in the game for Talandracas, but the discipline of Scone in committing just three fouls in the game, while converting five of their six penalty attempts proved to be the difference in the 11-7 victory.
The second quarter-final featured a hard fought affair between La Indiana and La Bamba de Areco, as the teams fought over the final chukkas to claim a spot in the semi-finals. Despite outshooting La Bamba de Areco 18-13, La Indiana was unable to pull away in the game due to uncharacteristic 40% penalty shooting from Facundo Pieres, in a game where both teams finished below 40% from the field. La Indiana found themselves in foul trouble early in the game, conceding three penalty goals to La Bamba de Areco, while responding with field goals from Pieres and Jimbo Fewster to trail 4-3 at the end of the second chukka. The game opened up in the third chukka as La Indiana generated six shot opportunities, with Fewster and Pieres combining to score all of the La Indiana goals once again in a 4-1 chukka, that gave La Indiana the 7-5 lead at halftime.
Quickly erasing the deficit, La Bamba de Areco utilized a strong defensive effort to keep La Indiana to zero goals, while field goals from David Stirling and Jean-Francois Decaux tied the score at 7-7. Receiving one penalty shot in each of the final three chukkas, Pieres was unable to convert any of the three chances, leaving La Bamba de Areco with the opening they needed to hand La Indiana their first loss of the season. A fast-paced fifth chukka saw few fouls and Pieres at his best, scoring consecutive field goals to give La Indiana the slim one-goal lead entering the final chukka. La Indiana kept La Bamba de Areco pinned in their own half, attempting shots from distance that missed the mark, conceding five knock-ins, but watching the clock tick down further as time was expiring. La Bamba de Areco was unable to score the tying goal as La Indiana held on for the exciting 9-8 victory to advance to the semi-finals.