SIXTEEN teams have entered the 2012 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship at Cowdray Park.

The draw to decide matchplay in the opening rounds involved a representative from every team.

Winners of the 2011 cup, Zacara, return to defend the title. Dubai, with an impressive Gold Cup history, having won it in 2001, 2005 and 2010, again feature the world’s finest player Adolfo Cambiaso in their line-up.

The 2009 winners, La Bamba de Areco, with Patron Jean-Francois Decaux, returns with ten-goal player Facundo Pieres.

His brother Gonzalito, also among the world’s elite ten-goal players, joins the noted Ellerston White side which returns to a new base at Cowdray Park after a four-year absence from the UK.

The American side, Coca Cola, return after a six-year absence from UK polo and there is one brand-new side for 2012 – EFG/Aravali, whose Indian patron Karan Thapar has put together a team which includes the experienced nine-goal player Eduardo Novillo Astrada.

Luke Tomlinson and James Beim, both seven-goal players, Mark Tomlinson, Malcolm Borwick, Max Routledge and Ollie Cudmore are among the British professionals involved in the teams, while George and Charlie Hanbury play in their own El Remanso side.

Matchplay began on Tuesday and the full schedule can be seen at www.cowdraypolo.co.uk

The opening league phase of the tournament leads to quarter-finals over the weekend of July 7-8, semi-finals on July 12 and the final on Sunday, July 15.

For further information or to book tickets online visit www.cowdraypolo.co.uk