El Remanso Claim Victory in Exciting Final of 2018 King Power Gold Cup
The highly anticipated final of the 2018 King Power Gold Cup came down to the final seconds with El Remanso defeating La Bamba de Areco 13-12 in a thrilling conclusion at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The evenly fought match featured exciting polo with El Remanso overcoming a second half surge from La Bamba de Areco to complete the comeback in the final chukka. An organized El Remanso defence kept the strong La Bamba de Areco offense quiet in the opening half, allowing just four goals, but the duo of Polito Pieres, playing in place of David Stirling, and Juan Martin Nero carried La Bamba de Areco throughout the second half using superb individual runs. Dominant fourth and fifth chukkas saw a 7-2 scoring run in favour of La Bamba de Areco, as they used accurate shooting to overcome an organized El Remanso defence. El Remanso fought back behind stellar performances from Charlie Hanbury and James Harper, managing the possession in a tense final chukka. With time expiring, a strong team play set up Oliver Cudmore for the winning goal as time expired to secure the King Power Gold Cup title for the all-English side.
Just seconds into the game, Hanbury took the opening throw-in directly to the goal to give the eager El Remanso squad the early lead. La Bamba de Areco’s Nero quickly responded with two goals of his own in quick succession, but their offense slowed throughout the remainder of the half. Effective transition for El Remanso through strong passing plays, set up numerous breakaways and El Remanso was able to grab hold of the game, scoring five unanswered goals, with three coming off the mallet of Hanbury. His ability to stretch the field and finish in behind the La Bamba de Areco defense provided difficulties throughout the first half. Finding themselves trailing by four goals, La Bamba de Areco needed to close the deficit and were able to do so by the end of the first half, with a penalty 4 conversion for Nero and field goal for Pieres resulting in a 6-4 score at halftime. With just one penalty goal for each team, the outcome of the game was being decided in open play with the balanced El Remanso side producing a more effective attack to hold the two-goal advantage.
La Bamba de Areco showed a more organized attack to begin the second half, scoring four goals in the fourth chukka, but the fast-paced chukka saw El Remanso score three goals of their own to keep the lead. The back and forth game saw few fouls among the two teams, but El Remanso found themselves in foul trouble in the fifth chukka, committing three fouls, leading to three penalty attempts for La Bamba de Areco. Despite missing two of their three attempts, La Bamba de Areco dominated the fifth chukka thanks to their performance in open play, outscoring El Remanso 4-1 to race into a two-goal lead. The quiet La Bamba de Areco offense from the first half converted 7 of their first 8 shot attempts from the field to open the second half, leaving El Remanso on their heels and needing a strong final chukka to keep their chances alive. After a penalty 2 conversion for Cudmore brought El Remanso within one goal, it was their passing attack that became a factor once again, with Harper on the receiving end of an attack to tie the game. With the score still tied inside the final minute, a strong backhand from James Beim found Hanbury, who quickly hit downfield to an open Cudmore. With space between him and the goal, Cudmore ran the ball through the goal as the clock quickly fell inside the final 30 seconds signalling the end of the game, as the El Remanso team celebrated in victory, claiming the 2018 King Power Gold Cup in an exciting game that will remembered for years to come.