It’s semi-finals time worldwide
By Victoria Elsbury-Legg
Whether your chosen destination is Palm Beach or the slightly chillier climes of the Royal County of Berkshire, it seems at the moment it’s all about semi-finals in the polo world. On Wednesday at the International Polo Club, Palm Beach the semi-finals of the first tournament in the American Triple Crown, the 26-goal CV Whitney Cup took place. There was plenty of highly charged on pitch action during both matches, as first the two Mannix brothers met, heading for opposing goal posts and ends as Alegria – Julian Mannix (4), Hilario Ulloa (9), Mariano Aguerre (9) and Sterling Giannico (4) faced Audi/Millarville Polo Team – Grant/Marc Ganzi (1), Magoo Laprida (8), Rodrigo Andrande (9) and Freddie Mannix (6) at 12noon on pitch 3. Still in the lead at the half time whistle, Alegria finally rode of the pitch as the winners securing the first spot in Sunday’s CV Whitney Final at 3pm with a score of 15-11.
Following one exciting semi next up two Pieres – Facundo and Polito did battle against Adolfo Cambiaso and Guillermo Terrera on ground 5 at 3pm when Orchard Hill – Steve Van Andel (0), Facundo Pieres (10), Polito Pieres (9) and Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario (7) played Valiente – Bob Journayvaz (1), Alejo Tranco (6), Guillermo Terrera (8) and Adolfo Cambiaso (10). With both teams flying up and down the pitch under the blue Florida skies it was Orchard Hill who were eventually able to put both double figures on the board, and also follow Alegria into Sunday’s final, winning the game 11 goals to Valiente’s 8.
More semis followed in Florida on Thursday, in the Les Armour semis at 10am (US time) Las Monjitas beat FlexJet, and in the following semi Lechuza Caracas won against Coca Cola and secured their place playing against them in the Les Armour Final (CV Whitney Subsidiary) on Sunday.
Meanwhile, across the pond in the Arena at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, despite the slightly damp and chilly weather conditions, players were definitely on fire today in the semi-finals of The 2015 Arena Gold Cup (13-15 goal) which this year has been kindly supported by Snapper, in association with Land Rover, with shirts donated by StaaG and Tally Ho Farm as official tournament supplier. In the qualifying matches there was some fast and furious play taking place between the six teams : Black Hound (Simon Arber, Tarquin Southwell & Peter Webb), Sifani (Hilali Noordeen, Geoffredo Cutinelli & Max Charlton), Gaucho (Faisal Al-Rifai, Oscar Mancini & Adolfo Casabel), Black Eagles (Jonathan Munro Ford, Sergio Baselli & Chris Hyde), Chopendoz/Eclipse (Ed Banner-Eve, Alec Banner-Even & Jamie Morrison) and Silex (Richard Fagan, Michael Henderson & Sebastian Dawnay) which continued into the semis.
With teams in Saturday’s Silver Cup Final to be played at 12 noon already decided as Black Hound and Silex, in the first semi-final (played on Thursday 26th February 2015) at 1pm Gaucho (the only team to win both of their league games) played against Chopendoz/ Eclipse. Despite the intermittent rain the goals continued being put up on both sides of the scoreboard, but at the end of play it was an undefeated Gaucho who rode of the pitch winning their third game in a row with 24 goals to Chopendoz/Eclipse’s 20. In the second semi which followed at 2.30pm, Sifani came up against the defending champions Black Eagles. So, it just remained to be seen who would be joining Gaucho in The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club’s Arena on Saturday at 2pm for the Final of the Gold Cup. In the end despite some very determined play from both teams it was Black Eagles with a scoreboard reading 27-20 who left the pitch once again with their sights set on seeing, for another year running, their names engraved on the Arena Gold Cup.
Tickets for Saturday’s final can be purchased online at http://rcbpc.com/online-tickets/
Schedule for Saturday 28th February 2015
11.30 Gates open
12.00 Silver Cup Final – Black Hound v Silex
14.00 Gold Cup Final – Gaucho v Black Eagles
19.00 After Party