A good crowd turned out to watch the fiercely-fought final between Saad Audeh’s Marchfield team and Andrey Borodin’s Park Place which brought the historic Duke of Sutherland Cup to a close.
Twelve teams had entered the 18-goal tournament, played as one of the series of six HPA tournaments open annually to all-comers at Cowdray Park.
For Marchfield, Gregorio Gelosi (four goals) took the No1 position, Manuel Plaza de Ayala (six goals) played at two, Guillermo Terrera (eight goals) at No3 and the patron at back.
Andrey Borodin’s Park Place side featured himself at No1, with an evenly-matched line-up of three six-goal players, Alfredo Bigatti at two, Juan Britos at three and South African Chris Mackenzie at back.
Marchfield were swift to open the scoring with a nifty goal from eight-goaler Terrera, soon to be answered with a goal from Park Place’s Bigatti.
A spot penalty awarded to Marchfield enabled Plaza de Ayala to make it 2-1, but strong defence by Mackenzie prevented any further goals from Marchfield before the chukka ended.
Despite plenty of effort by Park Place in chukka two, good marking prevented them scoring. Meanwhile Terrera worked doggedly to find every advantage for his side, scoring from a safety 60 and then a massive lofted 60-yard penalty shot to take Marchfield on to 4-1 to close chukka two.
Park Place won the throw-in which started the third chukka but when the whistle blew to award Borodin’s side a penalty, the 60-yard shot went wide.
Terrera brought the ball in and during a tough ride off from Park Place was awarded a 30-yard penalty. He shot a fast ball forward but it went wide. In came Mackenzie from the back line, and Bigatti and Britos moved the ball towards Marchfield’s goal.
During a messy situation which developed in front of the goal, a penalty one was given enabling a goal for Park Place. Terrera tapped the ball forward, accelerated past Mackenzie and left the ball for Plaza de Ayala who carried on going until he was through the posts for 5-2 to Marchfield.
Another missed 30-yard penalty was a surprise, but at chukka’s end Plaza de Ayala converted a 30-yard penalty for Marchfield who led 6-2.
There was no let-up in the action in the second half, with Terrera dominating much of the play and Mackenzie working hard to rein him in.
A foul by Britos for Park Place gave away a 30-yard penalty which Plaza de Ayala put straight between the posts for 7-2. Both Bigatti and Britos had the goal posts in their sights but were unlucky with their shots.
Terrera brought the ball in again and Marchfield grouped around him heading for Park Place’s goal, but Gelosi’s shot was saved by Bigatti. Biagatti sent the long pass to Britos who didn’t disappoint, finally rolling the ball between the posts to bring Park Place up to 7-3.
Early in the final chukka, the whistle blew for a penalty against Park Place and Plaza de Ayala scored again from an undefended 30 yards to increase Marchfield’s lead to 8-3.
Britos won the ball from the throw-in and some hassle from Terrera saw Park Place awarded a safety 60. A massive high ball from Mackenzie gave Park Place another goal.
Two more great attempts at goal by Terrera and a lovely under-the neck from Plaza de Ayala all just went wide, while Park Place were kept busy in defence until the end of Marchfield’s 8-4 win.
Lila Pearson, vice president of Cowdray Park Polo Club, presented the Duke of Sutherland Cup to a delighted Audeh and prizes to all the players.
The MVP award, sponsored by The Polo Magazine, was won by Guillermo Terrera and the Polo Times Best Playing Pony Award went to Notable owned by Guillermo Terrera.
In the subsidiary final, Rhys Cole’s Gales team beat Adriano Agosti’s Altamira/Madams Farm team 9½-8.
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