Ellerston wins Spainâ€™s Gold Cup in
Facundo Pieres sweeps
the European high-goal season
By Alex Webbe
Ten-goaler Facundo Pieres registered an unprecedented sweep
of the European high-goal season with wins in the Queens Cup and British Open, and
Spainâ€™s Silver and Gold Cups at the Santa Maria Polo Club at Sotogrande, Spain
with a nail-biting 18-17 overtime win by Ellerston (Alie Patterson, Gonzalito
Pieres, Facundo Pieres and Johnny Williams) over UAE (Tommy Beresford, Santi
Stirling, Lucas Monteverde and Sebastian Merlos).
In a penalty-ridden contest that saw 21 of the 35 goals
scored come on penalty conversions, The UAE lineup was solidly more balanced,
but the skill and horsepower of the Pieres brothers, Facundo and Gonzalito, won
out in the end.
Facundo Pieres scored the first goal of the game just over a
minute into the match, but a well-played ball by UAEâ€™s Tommy Beresford tied it
up at 1-1 less than two minutes later.
Santi Stirling gave UAE the lead, 2-1, with his first goal of the game
at the three minute mark. A pressing
Ellerston attack resulted in a number of fouls which Facundo Pieres capitalized
as he closed out the chukker with three consecutive penalty conversions for a
Lucas Monteverde cut the Ellerston lead to a single goal on
a 40-yard penalty conversion of his own just two minutes into the second
period. Stirling tied it up at 4-4 at
the 3:40 mark, but a 60-yard penalty conversion by Facundo Pieres kept Ellerston
in the lead, 5-4 going into the third chukker.
Three minutes into the third period, Sebastian Merlos tied
it up for UAE, 5-5, with his first goal on the day. Facundo Pieres responded with another 60-yard
penalty conversion. Merlos tied it up
again with a goal from the field 90 seconds later, 6-6. A spot penalty allowed Facundo Pieres to put
Ellerston back in the lead, 7-6, on a short penalty conversion. UAEâ€™s Stirling took the ensuing throw-in and
raced down the field to score the tying goal, 7-7, as time expired in the first
half of play.
The UAE defense continued to swarm both Facundo and
Gonzalito Pieres, attempting to keep them from backing one another up, and
leaving the balance of the offense to Johnny Williams and Ali Patterson. Merlos gave UAE their first lead since the
opening chukker with a goal from the field in the opening minutes of the second
half, 8-7. Stirlingâ€™s fourth goal of the
game stretched the lead to two goals, 9-7.
Facundo Pieres and Monteverde exchanged penalty goals, with UAE holding
the two goal lead, 10-8. Another penalty
conversion by Facundo Pieres went up on the scoreboard with just over a minute
left in the chukker, 10-9, but Merlos scored his second goal of the chukker as
UAE left the field with an 11-9 advantage.
The Pieres brothers continued to draw a crowd as they
attempted to jump start their offense.
Efforts by teammates Williams and Patterson came too rarely and
accomplished little, but Ellerston continued to press their attack.
Less than a minute into the fifth chukker an Ellerston foul
sent Monteverde to the penalty line where he converted a 40-yard shot for a
goal, and UAE found themselves in front by three goals, 12-9. Merlos quickly followed Monteverdeâ€™s goal up
with his fifth of the day, and UAE found themselves sitting on top of a four
point spread, 13-9, but Ellerston wasnâ€™t ready to roll over. Fouling efforts by the UAE defenders returned
Facundo Pieres to the penalty line where he converted consecutive shots to cut
the lead back to two goals, 13-11.
Monteverde converted a 60-yard Safety, 14-11, but Facundo Pieres controlled
the balance of the scoring in the chukker with two more penalty conversions and
a gaol from the field for a 14-14 tie with one chukker left in regulation play.
The scoring onslaught continued into the sixth, with Monteverde
opening the chukker with a go-ahead goal from the field in the opening seconds
of play, 15-14. Gonzalito Pieres tied it
at 15-15 with his first goal on the afternoon.
Monteverde gave the lead back to UAE on a 30-yard penalty shot, 16-15, and
the battle continued. Facundo Pieres
converted a 60-yard penalty shot for another deadlock, 16-16. Monteverde scored from the field for a 17-16
UAE edge. Facundo Pieres tied it up with
time running out on a penalty goal for the 17-17 tie, forcing sudden-death
The pressure was on both teams in the extra chukker, and unfortunately
for UAE, t was a penalty that sent Facundo Pieres to the penalty line one last
time. He converted the shot at goal, his
seventeenth goal of the day, and the entire Ellerston team erupted in celebration.
The victory gave Facundo Pieres his fourth European
high-goal title, and allowed him an unprecedented sweep of the 2013 summer
season. His seventeen goals set a
scoring record for the Hublot Gold Cup, and extended a winning streak that
dates back to Aprilâ€™s United States Open Championship.
Facundo Pieres led the field with seventeen goals (fourteen
on penalty conversions) with brother Gonzalito Pieres adding a goal from the field. Monteverde scored six of his team high seven
goals on penalty shots. Merlos scored
five times from the field with Stirling accounting for four goals in a losing
Merlos was named MVP while Gonzalo Pieresâ€™ mare Indultada, played by Facundo Pieres,
received Best Playing Pony honors.