La Bamba de Areco Capture First Win in King Power Gold Cup
The fifth day in the 2019 King Power Gold Cup featured just one game at Cowdray Park Polo Club, with La Bamba de Areco defeating Emlor 9-6 to capture their first win of the tournament.
Led by an impressive five-goal performance from David Stirling, La Bamba de Areco overcame their 27% shooting from the field by producing consistent offense from the penalty line, scoring one penalty goal in each of the first five chukkas. Despite conceding five penalty goals, Emlor committed just four fouls, but it was two key safety conversions for Juan Martin Nero that kept the momentum with La Bamba de Areco. An organized defensive effort from La Bamba de Areco limited the chances for Emlor’s Agustin Merlos and Alfredo Bigatti, resulting in Spencer McCarthy leading the team with two field goals. In a closely matched game from the field, La Bamba de Areco’s four-goal advantage from the penalty line was the difference in the 9-6 victory.
The strong play of David Stirling gave La Bamba de Areco the early 2-1 lead after two field goals, while Emlor converted just one of their four shots to begin the game. McCarthy opened the scoring for Emlor, while a safety conversion in the second chukka for Merlos was the only offense Emlor could muster in the early stages of the game. The aggressive play of Kian Hall frustrated Emlor, while he scored his first goal of the game to extend the lead to two. Controlling possession in the final chukka of the first half, La Bamba de Areco looked to extend their lead, but were unable to convert any of their four shots, leaving the lead at two as they held a 5-3 lead at halftime.
Despite failing to find the goal from the field in the third chukka, La Bamba de Areco continued their possession advantage into the second half, producing four more shots at goal, with Stirling and Nero scoring a goal each. However, the strength of La Bamba de Areco was in their defense, holding Emlor to zero shots, extending their lead to four with just two chukkas remaining. Replacing the injured Michel del Carril, Fred Mannix scored his first goal of the game with Emlor making a push to get within reach as they managed to bring the deficit back to three, but the inability to consistently get in behind the La Bamba de Areco back line or receive penalty attempts left the advantage with La Bamba de Areco who finished a perfect 5 for 5 from the penalty line. A final field goal from Stirling in the sixth chukka secured the victory and first win of the tournament for La Bamba de Areco.