Cortium edge El Remanso to win British Open
By Herbert Spencer
Adrian Kirbyâ€™s Cortium slipped past the Hanburysâ€™ El Remanso 10-9 Sunday to win the British Open Championship for the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
It was a nail-biting final on a sodden Lawns ground that made open play difficult for both teams. The game was tied up seven times, the majority of goals were scored on penalties and the decider for Cortium came only in the dying minutes of the sixth chukka.
Cortium took the lead when their Jaime Huidobro won possession in the opening throw-in and raced to goal. El Remansoâ€™s Guillermo Terrera converted two 30-yard penalties to equalise and put the Hanburysâ€™ side ahead.
El Remanso failed to score in the second chukka as Cortiumâ€™s Polito Pieres converted two 40-yarders to equalise and retake the lead 3-2. Neither team scored in the third period until El Remansoâ€™s Terrera rolled in a 30-yard penalty shot in the last minute to tie the match again.
In the fourth chukka Pieres gave Cortium the lead with a 40-yard conversion. El Remansoâ€™s George Hanbury equalised with a sharply-angled field goal. Pieres made a safety 60 to take the lead for Cortium. El Remansoâ€™s David Sterling found the posts to tie it up and converted a 60-yarder to take the lead 6-5.
A 40-yard conversion by Sterling increased El Remansoâ€™s advantage to 7-5 in the fifth period. Cortiumâ€™s Francisco Elizalde pulled one back and Pieres dribbled in a spot hit to even the score 7-7 before El Remansoâ€™s Charlie Hanbury backed the ball between the posts to retake the lead.
El Remanso increased their advantage to 9-7 with a Pelon field goal in the sixth period. Cortiumâ€™s Pieres converted a 30-yarder, then scored a field goal to equalise and a second to give Kirbyâ€™s side the game.
Pieres scored eight of Cortiumâ€™s goals and was named most valuable player of the final.