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UAE and Zacara scored opening wins in the first day of action of Europe’s most important tournament, the Gold Cup for the British Open, hosted by Cowdray Park Polo Club.
The day’s first match featured UAE and EFG Bank Aravali, and a win for the first by a 10-9 score. Led by Pablo MacDonough, who scored five goals, UAE (with Zac Hagedoorn as a replacement for Sheikha Maitha and Jack Richardson filling in for Lucas Monteverde, who is recovering from a torn riding muscle) took control of the first part, that saw them leading by a comfortable 7-3 at half time.
EFG Bank Aravali, with Celine Charloux filling in for the injured Karan Thapar, made an impressive comeback in the fourth chukka, when outscored UAE 5-1. This meant that the scoreboard read a 8-all. However, UAE re-took the lead in the fifth period, after a couple of goals that took them to a 10-8 lead.
Far from giving up, EFG Bank Aravali put enough pressure inthe last chukka; they scored once to cut the margin to 9-10. UAE then tightened their defense during the last seven minutes of play, and EFG Bank Aravali could do nothing to avoid’s UAE’s debut win.
Score UAE: 3-1,5-3,7-3,8-8,10-8,10-9
UAE: Pablo MacDonough 5, Jack Richardson 2, OIlie Cudmore 2, Zac Hagerdoon 1
EFG Bank Aravali: Alejandro Muzzio 7, Joaquin Pittaluga 1, Jaime García Huidobro 1.
Following this, title holders and recent winners of the Queen’s Cup, Zacara, faced Thai Polo, a foursome that features the same base as Sifani, the team who took part at Guards Polo Club’s competition.
This game had a moving touch. The winner would be presented with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Trophy, established by Cowdray Park Polo Club, commissioned by the Hon Charles and Lila Pearson, as a permanent tribute to the extraordinary Mexican-born player, who had a brilliant career in England. Moreover, prior to the match, a minute of silence was held in memory of a true legend of polo
To everybody’s surprise, things started a bit difficult for Zacara; a very even first part, which was identical to the game against Sifani at Guards Polo Club’s tournament, led the match to a 5-all by half time.
Things started to change for Lyndon Lea’s and Co. in the fourth chukka, when hurricane Facundo Pieres made his mise en scene. They took a commanding 9-6 lead, and from then on, Zacara completeley overwhelmed Thai Polo and widened their advantage in the next two chukkas. By the time of the final whistle, Facu had already scored ten goals and Zacara took a 14-9 win home.
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