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There were only three games left in preliminary play in the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open, but much was still at stake.
Dubai (Tommy Beresford, Alastair Paterson, Adolfo Cambiaso and Diego Cavanagh), Black Bears (Guy Schwarzenbach, Tomas Garbarini, John Paul Clarkin and Patrick O’Dwyer), Zacara (Facundo Pieres, Lyndon Lea, Gonzalo Deltour and Matt Perry) and Lucchese (John Muse, Lucas James, Nico Pieres and Luke Tomlinson) had already qualified with at least there wins, but there were four more spots open, and Wednesday’s games would decide many of the additional playoff contenders.
Halcyon Gallery (George Hanbury, Mark Tomlinson, James Beim and James Harper) looked to improve on their 2-1 record and assured themselves of a quarterfinal berth as they took on a struggling UAE Polo Team (Alec White, Lucas Monteverde, Matias Benoit and Ollie Cudmore) that had competed with a number of different player combinations in the course of tournament play.
Halcyon Gallery jumped out to a 3-0 first chukker lead that they maintained most of the game. Halcyon Gallery was on top, 8-5 after the fourth chukker, but UAE Polo scored three times in the fifth while giving up a pair of goals on defense. UAE had cut the lead to just two goals with one chukker left to play.
English 7-goaler James Beim put an end to any speculation of a successful rally by scoring consecutive goals in the sixth chukker to put Halcyon Gallery ahead, 12-8. With just two minutes left in the game, Halcyon Gallery smothered the UAE Polo offense and rode out the game for the 12-8 win. The victory assured Halcyon Gallery of a position in the tournament finals while UAE Polo hoped to make it into a Thursday morning penalty shootout to decide the balance of the field in the playoffs.
ENIGMA 8, LUCCHESE 4
The second match of the day featured a Lucchese team (John Muse, Lucas James, Nico Pieres and Luke Tomlinson) that had run up an impressive 3-0 record while Enigma (Jerome Wirth, Chris Mackenzie, Sapo Caset and Guillermo Willington) was trying to level its record at 2-2 and avoid going into a penalty shootout qualifier for the quarterfinals.
Enigma rode onto the field with a less than impressive 1-2 record, and needed a win to assure a playoff position.
In an uncharacteristic low-scoring first half, Energia outscored Lucchese, 3-2. The question that comes to mind is whether Lucchese was really trying or just trying to save the horses the weekend’s quarterfinals, a strategy employed by a number of teams in competitive tournament play.
Five more second half goals from Enigma was more than enough to carry Enigma to the 8-4 victory and send them to the quarterfinals with a 2-2 record.
EL REMANSO 14, TALANDRACAS 9
Talandracas (Edouard Carmignac, Juan Martin Nero, Polito Pieres and Santiago Stirling) had little resemblance of the powerhouse that fought their way to the final of the Cartier Queens Cup last month as they struggled with their offense throughout the contest. After four chukkers El Remanso (Hugo Lewis, Charlie Hanbury, Pelon Stirling and Guillermo Terrera were in the lead, 9-6 before riding on to a third chukker that saw Charlie Hanbury score three goals to close out the game for an El Remanso British Open win that leveled their tournament record at 1-3, keeping the door ajar on their chances for a playoff position.
At the end of the day quarterfinalists were Dubai (4-0) King Power (4-0), Black Bears (4-4), Zacara (3-1), Halcyon Gallery (3-1), Lucchese (3-1) and Enigma (2-2).
The balance of the field will be determined by a penalty shootout at Ambersham Fields at 11am between Talandracas (1-3), HB Polo (1-3), UAE Polo (1-3) and EFG Bank Aravali (1-3) with the top two teams earning a shot at the title with a quarterfinal spot.
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