RH Polo, Talandracas and Monterosso Victorious on Final Day of Group Play
The final day of group play in the 2018 King Power Gold Cup began with RH Polo defeating Emlor 12-10, followed by a convincing 11-7 victory for Monterosso over Thai Polo, while the day ended with a thrilling contest that saw Talandracas claim a 14-13 victory over La Indiana at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The first game of the day saw RH Polo fall behind early in the game, only to go on a 9-1 run throughout the second, third and fourth chukkas to run away with the game. With just two goals coming from the penalty line, the duo of Sapo Caset and Rodrigo Andrade were effective from the field, combining for 11 goals, while Martin Podesta was strong defensively in the victory.
After an even first chukka, Emlor put together a strong second chukka, outscoring RH Polo 4-1 in a balanced attack that saw two goals from Diego Cavanagh, along with a goal each from Agustin Merlos and Spencer McCarthy. Holding the 5-3 lead, Emlor’s momentum quickly disappeared as RH Polo tied the game at 6-6 by halftime, thanks to a three-goal third chukka for Caset. RH Polo continued to manage possession in open play behind the seamless work of Caset and Andrade and scored six unanswered goals in the fourth and fifth chukkas, while Emlor missed all five of their shot attempts from the field. The scoring run from RH Polo saw them hold a commanding six-goal lead entering the final chukka as they sat back over the final seven minutes, allowing Emlor to try and fight their way back. Despite a 4-0 final chukka for Emlor, it wasn’t enough to close the deficit as RH Polo claimed the 12-10 victory.
The second game of the day saw another strong performance from Monterosso, as all four players scored at least two goals from the field. Despite committing just two fouls throughout the entire game, Thai Polo fell behind early and were unable to slow a Monterosso attack that shot an effective 11 for 15 from the field. Foul trouble for Monterosso kept Thai Polo in the game, but inaccurate 2 for 6 shooting from the penalty line kept Thai Polo from closing the deficit.
The opening chukka set the tone for the game with Monterosso shooting a perfect 4 for 4 from the field, three of which coming from Ignacio Toccalino, while Thai Polo missed their three shot attempts to quickly fall behind 4-1. The remainder of the first half saw an even affair with the teams trading field goals, scoring two each in the second chukka and one in the third chukka with three missed penalty opportunities for Thai Polo keeping them down three goals. A quick fourth chukka saw just one shot combined between the two teams, with Joaquin Pittaluga scoring the lone goal in the chukka to close the deficit to just two goals. Monterosso were able to maintain their lead late in the game as Thai Polo failed to win a single throw-in throughout the second half, providing Monterosso with the extra possessions needed to hold the field advantage. Two goals for Juan Martin Zubia in the final chukka sealed the 11-7 victory for Monterosso, overcoming the seven-goal performance from Pittaluga.
The final game of the day produced the most exciting match with Talandracas narrowly defeating La Indiana in the final minutes. The offensively minded game saw few fouls and numerous shot attempts for both teams with Talandracas more accurate from the field, converting 72% of their shots compared to just 53% for La Indiana. The closely matched contest saw neither team hold more than a two-goal lead at the end of the chukka, but it was the ability of Talandracas to convert their chances late, making 7 of their final 8 shot attempts that proved to be the difference in the one-goal victory.
The back and forth game saw the teams combine for 21 shot attempts in the first half alone, with Talandracas utilizing a balanced team offense, with all four players scoring a goal in the opening chukka to claim the early 4-2 lead. La Indiana displayed a relentless attack throughout the second and third chukkas, with the duo of Alec White and Facundo Pieres providing the goals to help La Indiana take the 8-7 lead by halftime. After the teams traded goals in a lightning quick forth chukka that saw four goals and zero fouls, it was Talandracas that restored the tie in the fifth chukka, winning 4 of 6 throw-ins that resulted in perfect 3 for 3 shooting from the field by Francisco Elizalde and Alejandro Muzzio. Elizalde quickly added his fifth and sixth goals of the game to begin the final chukka and extend Talandracas’ lead to two. A late goal from Nic Roldan wasn’t enough as La Indiana was unable to tie the game late with Talandracas holding on for the one-goal victory.