Les Lions/ Great Oaks has victory in opening polo Gold Cup

THE much-anticipated start to the 2020 King Power Gold Cup at Cowdray Park Polo Club began with an impressive 14-10 victory for Les Lions/ Great Oaks over the highly touted Next Generation team featuring Adolfo Cambiaso and David Stirling to win the Carlos Gracida Memorial Trophy.

The second match of the day featured an exciting finish with Park Place scoring four goals in the final chukka to claim the 10-9 victory over Park Place Vaar, concluding an exciting opening day.

All eyes turned to the opening game of the tournament and it did not disappoint with Les Lions/ Great Oaks’ Bartolome Castagnola scoring an astounding nine goals, four of which came from the penalty line. A strong team defensive effort from Les Lions/ Great Oaks held Next Generation to just 40 per cent shooting from the field making the Cambiaso-led team work hard for every opportunity. Although they finished six from seven from the penalty line, Next Generation could not keep pace with the potent Les Lions/ Great Oaks offense in the 14-10 defeat.

Exciting Cowdray polo action behind closed doors observing Government rules. Photo: Mark Beaumont

The opening half showcased an evenly matched contest, with neither team able to build a large lead. Castagnola opened the scoring with a goal from the field and the penalty line, while Next Generation’sAdolfo Cambiaso and Stirling responded with a goal each, leaving the score tied at 1-1.

Filling in for the injured Camilo Castagnola, Alejandro Muzzio made his impact in the second chukka, scoring his first goal, while also collecting two assists as part of a three-goal chukka, giving Les Lions/Great Oaks the slim 5-4 lead. Scoring his third penalty goal of the half, Adolfo Cambiaso restored the tie, leaving the outcome to be decided in the second half.

Reorganised after a scoreless third chukka, Les Lions/Great Oaks came out strong in the second hald behind the efforts of Castagnola. Executing a combination of runs to goal and passes, Castagnola was responsinble for three of the six Les Lions/Great Oaks goals, while also adding two assists in the fourth and fifths chukka, leaving the Next Generations defence struggling to slow the quick attack.

Keeping their opponents pinned in their own half, Les Lions/Great Oaks build a commanding 12-7 lead, with just one chukka remaining, leaving the Next Generation defence struggling to slow the quick attack. Keeping their opponents pinned in their own half, Les Lions/Great Oaks build a commanding 12-7 lead with just one chukka remaining. A late push fromfrom Stirling was not enough to pull Next Generation within reach as Les Lions/Great Oaks completed the dominant 14-10 victory to begin the King Power Gold Cup.

The Carlos Gracida Best Playing Pony was awarded to seven-year-old chestnut mare, Calito Cielto, played by Ale Muzzion and owned by the Castagnolas.

A match-up between the two Park Place teams concluded the opening day of play in a thrilling finish, where a dominant finish from Park Place saw them beat Park Place Vaara 10-8.

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