Sunday’s matches in the 2017 Cartier Queen’s Cup played out in polar opposite fashion. In a rather subdued match at Coworth Park, RH Polo defeated Sifani 10-8. The game at Guards Polo Club was a showdown of the highest order. La Bamba de Areco and Murus Sanctus clawed all the way for the win, which went to La Bamba 12-10.
La Bamba shifted their usual lineup, with Rodrigo Rueda playing in the back, Cavanagh coming more forward and Laprida in the middle. Fourteen-year-old Ned Hine, who got the call a couple days ago to play in place of patron Jean-Francois Decaux, contributed some great runs. But for his size, you’d have thought you were watching an adult pro in action. Hine had plenty to contend with in the rugged match, in which each team drew a yellow card (La Bamba in the third chukka, Murus Sanctus in the sixth).
“It was a tough game. That’s a very good team. We stayed with our strategy and just kept fighting,” said Magoo Laprida, game high-scorer with 8 goals. Cavanagh contributed La Bamba de Areco’s other 4 goals.
Murus Sanctus’ Facundo Sola brought the first half to an exciting conclusion, breaking a 5-5 tie with a 143-yard drive directly to patrona Corinne Ricard, who ran it into goal. Then Sola sent a pass to Martin Podesta for the score, giving Murus Sanctus a 7-5 advantage. Sola did it again—and then some—in the final chukka, with the play of the day (perhaps of the tournament): He plucked the ball out of the air like a cat bagging a bird and made a 70-yard full swing to tie the game at 10. Cavanagh came back with 2 goals, sealing the win for La Bamba de Areco.
RH Polo Takes a Sunday Stroll Past Sifani
After Sifani’s whipping last week at the hands of Murus Sanctus (13-7), the odds were on undefeated RH Polo to win Sunday’s match in the 2017 Cartier Queen’s Cup. That bet paid off, but not by the margin one might have expected. Sifani lost by a respectable 10-8, a surprisingly tight score given that Adolfo Cambiaso was on the opposing team.
Cambiaso, who made six goals, didn’t tear up the field in his usual dizzying fashion until he saw a need to in the final chukka. RH Polo’s narrow but consistent lead (save for a few ties) throughout gave him the opportunity to turn the game into what looked more like a team practice than a high-goal match. He engaged in a passing game with his teammates, giving them chances to receive and make approach shots, with patron Ben Soleimani and Tommy Beresford each scoring twice.
Sifani wasn’t all that fired up at first, either, but they kept pace, staying tied or within one goal of their opponent through the first half. RH Polo’s dialed-down style shifted, however, when Sifani started upping the ante in the fourth chukka. Almost simultaneously both teams shook off the cobwebs and turned it into a contest. Sifani popped in two consecutive goals, the second of them courtesy of Julian de Lusarreta, tying the game at 5. Then de Lusarreta foiled a Cambiaso goal right on the doorstep, sending an enojado Cambiaso careening down the field to score on his next play.
The Cambiaso/de Lusarreta feud made for an entertaining last act in the game. De Lusarreta whacked a 100-yard-plus angled shot straight into goal. Cambiaso came back with a classic AC shot from the field, sewing up the win 10-8 for RH Polo.
The 2017 Cartier Queen’s Cup continues Tuesday with two games: La Indiana vs. Sommelier at 11 a.m. at Manor Farm, and El Remanso vs. Monterosso Polo Team at 3 p.m. (ground TBC). All times are British Summer Time (BST).
Complete game schedule is available here.
Livestream coverage of all Queen’s Cup games and Gold Cup games, provided by PoloCam through PoloLine, is available here.
Photography by Snoopy Productions