King Power Gold Cup comes to conclusion at Cowdray Park

The Hungarian ambassador's Cup is presented / Picture by Clive Bennett
The Hungarian ambassador's Cup is presented / Picture by Clive Bennett

The penultimate weekend of the 2018 King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship saw large crowds view the thrilling quarter-final matches.

Following a tense five way shoot-out for a place in the quarters, the following teams made it to the last eight – Alfi Investments, El Remanso, La Bamba de Areco, La Indiana, Park Place, RH Polo, Talandracas and Valiente.

In the first quarter-final, Andrey Borodin’s Park Place faced Ben Soleimani’s RH Polo in a hard-fought match with little between the teams.

However, a strong final chukka from RH Polo won them the game 15-11 and a coveted place in the semi-finals.

A fast-paced game between ALFI Investments and El Remanso, played for the inaugural Hungarian Ambassador’s Cup, in the presence of HR Kristof Szalay-Bobrovnickzy, completed the second last-eight clash. The first half was close but El Remanso pulled away in the second half with relentless attacking, virtually sealing the victory in the fourth chukka with six goals on the scoreboard.

After a 16-11 win, the four-man English squad of El Remanso remained undefeated as they headed into a semi-final yesterday.

They were finalists in 2017, losing out to King Power.

Jean Francois Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco beat Talandracas. After trading goals in the first two chukkas, La Bamba de Areco controlled the remainder of the game, pushing their lead to five by the final chukka, although Talandracas crept back and lost only 10-8 to Decaux’s side.

Sunday’s Centenary Cup saw La Indiana and Valiente in a hard-fought but somewhat scrappy match, with the world’s finest ten-goal players, Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres, on opposing sides and fighting for every ball.

An even first half saw the teams deadlocked at 5-5, but a dominant second half from La Indiana, led by six goals from Pieres, saw La Indiana run away in the final three chukkas for an 13-8 victory.

The Gold Cup final takes place this Sunday - see a full report and pictures in the Observer next week.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the final of the July four-goal tournament reached its conclusion on Sunday in a fast–paced skilful show of polo between James Rogerson’s Connect44 team and Wilf Fine’s Sea Breeze.

Fine was out of action and his place was taken by Will Drewitt with a half-goal advantage on the scoreboard to start the match because of the unequal handicaps.

Sea Breeze led 2½-0 by the end of the first chukka. James Rogerson opened the scoring for Connect44 in the second chukka and was answered by Angus Rowan Hamilton for Sea Breeze.

By half-time the scores stood at 4½-3 in Sea Breeze’s favour. Just a half goal separated the teams as they went into the final chukka at 5-5½, but a remarkable turn-around by two-goal player John Kent for Connect44 saw a reversal of fortune for Rogerson’s side.

Kent’s three goals in succession, answered by only one from the Sea Breeze four-goaler Nick Pepper, saw James Rogerson enjoy his first victory at Cowdray Park on a final score of 8-6½.

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