An epic contest between Valiente and La Indiana in a league game for the 2018 King Power Gold Cup, played for the Midhurst Town Cup, delivered one of the highest scoring and best matches seen by Cowdray Park spectators in recent times.
Each playing their second match in the Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, Bob Jornayvaz’s Valiente met Michael Bickford’s La Indiana with the world’s two leading 10-goal players on opposing sides – Adolfo Cambiaso for Valiente and Facundo Pieres for La Indiana.
USA patron Jornayvaz took the number 1 position for his side with Englishman Hugo Lewis at 2 and Argentine players Cristian Laprida at 3 and Cambiaso at Back. Also from the USA, Michael Bickford was at number 1 for La Indiana, with Australian Alec White at 2, American Nic Roldan at 3, and Argentine Facundo Pieres at Back.
La Indiana marked the scoreboard within seconds of the match starting, Bickford scoring from Roldan’s pass. Valiente won the throw in with Laprida looking for Cambiaso, but an infringement enabled Laprida to level the scores from a 30 yard penalty. Weaving his way around Pieres, Laprida made a neat field goal and 2-1 on the scoreboard for Valiente. A collision on the field gave another penalty to Valiente which Cambiaso lost little time in converting from 40 yards. The teams came back to the centre, La Indiana stole the ball from Cambiaso and suddenly Pieres worked his magic sending a massive lofted shot from 70 yards through the posts to take back a goal for his side.
Then came a trio of goals from Cambiaso The score moved on to 6-2 in Valiente’s favour. Pieres stole the ball from Laprida and went on the attack to achieve La Indiana’s only goal of the chukka. Lewis replied, giving Valiente 7-3 on the scoreboard. Three goals in succession from penalties were scored by Pieres taking La Indiana up to 6-7 bjut a flurry of goals from each side saw scores levelled at 10-10 by half-time.
That went to 13-13 by the end of Chukka 5.
The breathtaking action continued into the sixth chukka when Pieres sent through goal number 28 giving his side a 15-13 lead. In the heated action, a 60 yard penalty was awarded to Valiente which Cambiaso sent soaring to secure just a one goal difference. Another penalty was given away and Laprida was given the job of sending the 30 yard shot home and it was 15-15.
Cambiaso went racing away again hitting the ball in the air as he headed for the goal, but the whistle blew. A safety shot was awarded to Valiente. Huge Lewis swiftly took it and Valiente secured the lead which saw them the victors in the 2018 Midhurst Town Cup.
The historic Cup and generous prizes of leather document cases were presented by Mrs Mariya Burton of Aspinal of London. She also presented the award for Most Valuable Player to Christian Laprida. The Best Playing Pony prize, awarded to Facundo Pieres’ Galactica was presented by Mrs Lila Pearson.