BARRIÈRE WINS IN THE FINAL MINUTES
Sunday August 27, 2023
Despite the rainy weather conditions, the Coupe d’Or Marta & Lucien Barrière final – and the Coupe de Bronze Engel & Völkers final – were able to take place. And what a final! The very Normandy weather did not dampen the spirits of the spectators, especially as the sun came out for the final: several hundreds of them packed the stands of the Deauville International Polo Club to applaud the victory of the Barrière Polo Team in the prestigious Coupe d’Or after a hard-fought battle.
This is the first victory in a 16-goal tournament* for French captain Isabelle Lerenaudie who has been playing at this level for only the second season. To get to this level, she put together a team made up of the Zavaleta family, which has remained the same since last year. Two brothers, Simon and Ramiro, who know each other by heart, led by a cousin, Juan Martin, a regular at the world’s top level, taking part in the Argentine Open, the highest level tournament in the world. It was a complicated game for Barrière, who was led until the fourth chukker, sometimes by as much as 4 goals, “but I’ve always reminded my players that a game is long and everything can happen very quickly in this sport, and that’s what happened”, explained Juan Martin Zavaleta. Simon Zavaleta finally gave his team a first lead at the very beginning of the fifth (and last) chukker, before Barrière again fell behind, and it was on two penalties from Juan Martin that Barrière sealed its first victory in this major event. It was also the first victory for his cousin Simon (Ramiro had already won it) and captain Isabelle Larenaudie: “It’s phenomenal”, jubilated the first woman to win the Coupe d’Or. Winning with this family, with two Zavaleta who have never won it before, is huge. I still can’t believe it. It was a very tough match, but tonight it’s a big party.” The joy of Juan Martin Zavaleta, named most valuable player of the final (he scored 10 goals on Sunday), who has many other victories to his name, was no less happy: “It’s incredible. Already, winning the Coupe d’Or is something you think about all the time. It’s one of the most beautiful tournaments to be played in France, and to win it as a family… there are no words to express the emotion it creates. It’s an important victory in one’s career, and now it’s done. Deauville is a tournament that will go down in the history of our sport.”
SWISS VICTORY IN THE COUPE DE BRONZE ENGEL & VÖLKERS
The final of the Engels & Völkers Coupe de Bronze was just as exhilarating, requiring an extra chukker and a golden goal from Jaime Roberts to separate the two teams and see the Swiss team Standing Rock triumph over Mungo’s four French players. A consolation for the team’s captain and junior, Ulysse Eisenchteter, was being named best amateur player of the final, while his pillar, Pierre Henri N’Goumou, was the tournament’s top scorer with 25 goals.
The Barrière Deauville Polo Cup will be back next year of course, but France’s international polo season is not quite over yet as the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly awaits the six teams from Deauville’s Coupe d’Or as well as a further twelve for a 23rd French Open that promises to be particularly competitive. The first games will be played on Friday, with the Coupe d’Or winner opening the competition. Only five days to recover from these strong emotions!
* The total of the handicaps of the players on a team constitutes the team’s global handicap (i.e. 16 goals for the Coupe d’Or). For the record, the handicap is the player’s value as established by his country’s handicap commission. A beginner is valued at -2, while the world’s top pros are rated at 10. There are currently only 7 10-goalers in the world.
TEAMS AND PROGRESS
COUPE D’OR MARTA AND LUCIEN BARRIÈRE
Barrière Polo Team : Isabelle Larenaudie (FRA, h0), Simon Zavaleta (ARG, h5, 2 goals), Juan Martin Zavaleta (ARG, h7, 10 goals) et Ramiro Zavaleta (ARG, h4, 1 goal)
Los Dragones Rouges : Sam Sztarkman (FRA, h2), Jules Legoubin (FRA, h3), Baratolomé Bayugar (ARG, h4, 5 goals) et Bautista Bayugar (ARG, h8, 7 goals)
Progression Barrière Polo Team: 2/4 – 4/6 – 7/8 – 10/10 and 14/12
BPP (best horse of the final): Calidad played by Juan Martin Zavaleta
BPP AACCP Mejor polo argentino: Siempre Magica played by Bauti Bayugar
MVP (best player of the final) : Juan Gris Zavaleta
Best amateur player of the final: Isabelle Larenaudie
Top scorer of the tournament: Juan Gris Zavaleta, 35 goals
COUPE DE BRONZE ENGEL & VÖLKERS
Standing Rock : Philipp Muller (h0), Nick Van Open (h1), Jaime Roberts (h3, 3 goals), Ignacio Gonzalez (h4, 5 goals)
Mungo : Ulysse Eisenchteter (h 0), Daphné/Noemie Eisenchteter (h -1), Jules Legoubin (h3, 2 goals), Pierre Henri Ngoumou (h6, 5 goals)
Standing Rock progression: 3/1 – 4/4 – 5/6 – 7/7 – 8/7
MVP (best player of the final) : Jaime Roberts
Best amateur player of the final: Ulysse Eisenchteter
BPP (best horse of the final): Cassandra played by Jaime Roberts