King Power Foxes and El Remanso will battle for the Gold Cup
Habtoor vs King Power Foxes
The first semi-final of the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup featured three Pieres brothers as King Power Foxes defeated Habtoor 10-7 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The duo of 10-goalers for King Power Foxes in Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres were effective playing a two-man game that over six chukkas, Habtoor had difficulty containing. Able to slow the game down and use the mallet work of their 10-goalers to attack goal, the reigning champions converted five of their last seven shots on their way to victory.
The first half saw Habtoor win all nine throw-ins, as they gained a two-goal lead early in the game. But the lead could have been greater, with Habtoor converting one of four shot attempts in the first chukka, as they held on to a slim one goal lead after the first bell.
In the second chukka, Habtoor continued to take advantage of their dominance in throw-ins, with Nico Pieres adding his 3rd goal of the game. Despite this advantage in set plays, King Power Foxes created offensive opportunities but missed four of their six shots at goal in the opening two chukkas, as Habtoor maintained their one goal advantage.
The block and release tactics of the Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres began to take effect in the 3rd chukka as the individual approaches kept the possession with King Power Foxes, wearing down the Habtoor defence. Goals from Gonzalito Pieres and James Fewster to end the 3rd chukka, tied the game up at 4-4 heading into halftime.
Habtoor was held scoreless in the 4th and 5th chukkas as five Habtoor fouls resulted in three penalty goals for King Power Foxes. After, Gonzalito Pieres converted a penalty 2 attempt in the 5th chukka, it finished a run of seven consecutive goals for King Power Foxes as they turned a 4-2 deficit into a 9-4 lead with only one chukka remaining.
Three goals in the final chukka for Habtoor, two from Francisco Elizalde and one from Paco O’Dwyer was too little, too late as King Power Foxes cruised to the three goal victory, behind the six goal performance from Gonzalito Pieres, booking their spot in Sunday’s final.
El Remanso vs Sommelier
The second semi-final in the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup saw all-Brit El Remanso convincingly defeat Sommelier 12-5 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Using exceptional defense to offense transition, El Remanso’s balanced team pressured their opponents and used quick backhands and an efficient passing attack to consistently break away from Sommelier. El Remanso were able to find Oliver Cudmore and Charlie Hanbury downfield, time and time again as Sommelier were caught attacking forward, only to find themselves quickly trailing the El Remanso counter-attack that was led by Cudmore’s six goals.
El Remanso was able to race out to a 4-0 lead through two chukkas behind two goals from Cudmore and one goal each from James Harper and Charlie Hanbury. Sommelier was unable to produce any offense themselves, missing both shot attempts in the opening two chukkas, as Fred Mannix was pressured the entire game and forced into passing the ball.
After Alec White scored Sommelier’s first goal of the game in the 3rd chukka to reduce the deficit to three, it was El Remanso that continued their fast-paced attack, quickly adding two more goals to push their lead to five. Trailing 6-1, Sommelier missed a penalty 3 attempt, which was then taken all the way down the field for a goal on the following knock-in, providing El Remanso with a commanding 7-1 lead at halftime, thanks to efficient 6 for 8 shooting from the field.
El Remanso wasn’t done their as eight more shots at goal in the 4th and 5th chukkas resulted in five more goals, including Cudmore finishing off a run for his 6th goal of the game as El Remanso continued to limit the opportunities for Sommelier and keep the ball off the mallet of Sommelier’s leading goal scorer, Mannix. Charlie Hanbury scored his 2nd goal of the game at the end of the 5th chukker to extend El Remanso’s lead to 12-3 as El Remanso cruised to the 12-5 victory to book their spot in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup final on Sunday.