First dayâ€™s play in the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship
UAE v EFG Bank Aravali were the first teams to play in the opening Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup match of 2014. UAE made a good start in the British Open despite fielding a new team which had never played together before. With Sheika Maitha Al Maktoum not yet arrived in the UK and Lucas Monteverde sidelined through injury, the UAE team comprised 3 goal player Zac Hagedoorn taking over the number 1 position, 5 goal English player Jack Richardson at number 2, the teamâ€™s pivotal player Pablo MacDonough at number 3, and Ollie Cudmore at Back. Celine Charloux has taken over from Karan Thapar in the EFG Bank Aravali side, Thapar also being out of the tournament through injury.
UAE led through the first half but chukka 4 saw EFG Bank rally, notching up five goals on the scoreboard and levelling the scores. However, they failed to make a single goal in the fifth enabling UAE to draw ahead again. Alejandro Muzzio for EFG Bank Aravali contributed the final goal of the match in the last chukka but it was insufficient to catch up UAE who had their first victory in the 2014 British Open on a score of 10-9.
In the Carlos Gracida Memorial Trophy, 2013 Gold Cup winners Zacara took on Thai Polo. Juan Ambroggio for Thai Polo raced away to score the first goal and the side continued to play strongly through the early part of the match finishing the second chukka 3-2 ahead. It wasnâ€™t until the third chukka that the crowd began to enjoy the exceptional talent of Zacaraâ€™s 10 goal star Facundo Pieres as he began to make his mark on the match and contributing two goals in the chukka. A third goal for Zacara, scored by young English player Matt Perry in his second season with Zacara, saw the scores level on 5-5 by half time.
Chukka 4 saw Lyndon Leaâ€™s new team member, Gonzalo Deltour, contribute two lovely goals before Ambroggio answered with a terrific goal for Thai Polo â€“ but it was to be their only score of the chukka. Two more goals from the stick of Pieres saw Zacara pull ahead to 9-6. By now Zacara were totally in rhythm. Chukka 5 saw another three goals from Pieres and just one from Nic Roldan for Thai Polo. In the final chukka, Pieres notched up two more, Thai patron Harald Link added to his sideâ€™s scoreline with an undefended shot at goal and Nic Roldan scored from a penalty but it was too little too late. A super match saw Zacara cruise to a 14-7 victory.
A relaxed Lyndon Lea was delighted to accept the newly endowed Carlos Gracida Memorial trophy, presented to the club by Charles and Lila Pearson in memory of the Mexican polo star whose record of 10 wins in the Cowdray Park Gold Cup has never been equalled. His son, Carlitos, was proud to present the cup to Lyndon Lea and prizes of spurs to all the players. Lila Pearson presented the award for Best Playing Pony to Cube played by Facundo Pieres.