Both teams came out swinging in the second game of the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup quarterfinals Saturday. Monterosso had a short-lived upper hand, scoring the first goal of the game. After rapid-fire back and forth play, a spot penalty by Charlie Hanbury set in motion the unyielding El Remanso machine. James Harper upped the ante with two more goals, putting El Remanso in the lead 3-1 at the end of the first chukker.
Monterosso came out strong in the second chukker. Santi Toccalino nailed a 60-yard defended penalty, narrowing the margin to 3-2. Ollie Cudmore answered with a 60-yard lofted shot out of the throw-in, and after a pitched battle Cudmore continued his hot streak with a goal on the run. Harper took off on a run of his own to increase El Remanso's lead to 6-2. Toccalino ended the chukker with a beautifully placed near side goal to bring Monterosso within three goals of their opponent.
The third chukker began with open, fast polo. A 30-yard undefended penalty by Harper put El Remanso firmly in the lead 7-3. Cudmore shot a huge pass downfield to Hanbury, who caught it on the run and slammed it in to take El Remanso into halftime 8-4.
The first few minutes of the fourth chukker had both teams snakebit around goal, but Harper opened the floodgates with a goal while being strongly defended by Matt Perry. Cubi Toccalino won the next throw-in, held up play and then hit a huge pass downfield to patron Alessandro Bazzoni for the goal. Cudmore retaliated with a run along the boards and tapped in a goal, taking El Remanso into the double digits 10-5.
Harper hit Cudmore with a pass on the run to start the fifth chukker with a bang and followed it up with a 60-yard lofted penalty shot that sent their lead into overdrive (12-5). El Remanso dominated in their defense, marking their men and forcing Monterosso to take long shots or fight through the crowd. Santi Toccalino took advantage of a weak moment to slap a solid pass to his brother Cubi, bringing their team within six goals of the leader. After another extended skirmish, Harper sought to increase the El Remanso lead but was foiled by Bazzoni, who stopped the ball just before it reached the back line.
Monterosso took charge in the sixth chukker, scoring out of the first throw-in, but El Remanso proved to be an unstoppable force, playing as though their lives depended on it until the very end. Santi Toccalino walloped in a penalty shot and a last-second goal, but it was too little, too late, and El Remanso secured their place in the semifinals 12-9.
Patriarch Christopher Hanbury and coach Eduardo Heguy were on hand at a communal celebration in the El Remanso tent after the second game. When asked how they can nurture two teams without favouring one, they said in commingled voices: “It’s not about that. It’s about family. It’s about fun." Added Heguy: We’re going to keep enjoying working together between now and the end, and whatever happens is great.”
El Remanso put in one of their more impressive and efficient performances to date. James Harper (game high-scorer with 6 goals) was exceptional, directing and initiating the offense for El Remanso. Monterosso struggled getting past the back line of Harper and James Beim. Charlie Hanbury was very active in the play, making things extremely difficult for Cubi Toccalino as he stayed all over him the whole game. The combo of the Toccalino brothers was effective at times, but they struggled more than usual connecting on the pass, which tightened up the game in the middle of the field to El Remanso’s benefit.
El Remanso shot an efficient 9/12 (75%); Monterosso 6/13 (46%).
13 total fouls, resulting in 8 penalty attempts. El Remanso 3/5 on penalties; Monterosso 3/3.
Monterosso dominated throw-ins 23-10 but couldn’t turn them into scoring chances.
All Photos by Snoopy Productions
All 2017 Gold Cup games are being live streamed on pololine.tv.
Complete tournament schedule and daily game locations can be found here.