By Alex Webbe
Zacara (Facundo Pieres, Lyndon Lea, Gonzalo Deltour and Matt Perry) gave up the first goal of the game to Enigma’s (Jerome Wirth, Chris Mackenzie, Sapo Caset and Guillermo Willington) Guillermo Willington but looked like the powerhouse they are with three consecutive goals from Facundo Pieres (one on a penalty conversion) to take the 3-1 lead. Willington scored the final goal of the chukker, 3-2, with Zacara on top.
With flashbacks of their earlier meeting (a 15-6 Zacara win) running through their minds the Enigma players dug in to open the second, but goals from Pieres and Gonzalo Del Tour stretched the lead to two goals, 5-3. Willington converted a penalty shot for Enigma.
Pieres continued to impress in the third, but Enigma wasn’t going to let them run off with the game. Defenses took center stage with Pieres adding his fifth goal of the day and Sapo Caset picking up a goal for Enigma. At the end of the first half it was Zacara in front, 6-4.
Enigma staged a mini-rally in the fourth with goals from Caset and Willington. Pieres scored again for Zacara but Enigma had cut the lead to a single goal, 7-6.
Zacara struck quickly in the fifth with Gonzalo Del Tour finding himself on the scoring end of a well-placed pass from Pieres, 8-6. Pieres continued to heat up for Zacara, scoring on a 75-yard neck-shot for a 9-6 advantage. An Enigma foul sent Pieres to the penalty line where he converted a 60-yard shot to give Zacara a comfortable 10-7 lead that would end the period.
Enigma tried to churn it up in the sixth, with Caset scoring the first goal of the chukker, and continued to press the Zacara defense. A foul sent Pieres to the penalty line where a 40-yard shot at goal was blocked by Chris Mackenzie as Enigma tried to stay in the hunt. Matt Perry ended things with a goal with less than a minute on the clock and Zacara celebrated the 11-8 win and a return to the final of the Cartier Queens Cup.
Pieres led all scoring with eight goals. Caset and Willington were credited with four goals apiece in the loss.
Talandracas 10, UAE Polo 9
Talandracas (Edouard Carmignac, Juan Martin Nero, Polito Pieres and Santiago Stirling) and UAE Polo Team (Kian Hall, Lucas Monteverde, Pablo MacDonough and Ollie Cudmore) had tangled once before in Queen’s Cup play in a one goal contest that Talandracas took, 13-12, with no clear favorite taking the field.
UAE Polo struck first on goals from Ollie Cudmore and 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough, 2-0. Polito Pieres got Talandracas on the scoreboard to close the chukker trailing 2-1.
Goals were hard to come by in the second chukker and bad luck came UAE Polo’s way with an injury to 8-goaler Lucas Monteverde sending him to the sidelines to be replaced by Magoo Laprida. A goal from Pablo MacDonough was followed by a goal from Pieres with neither team missing a beat in spite of the injury to Monteverde. After two chukkers of play UAE Polo continued to lead by the narrow 3-2 margin.
Pieres tied it up at 3-3 in the third and a goal from 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero finally had Talandracas in front, 4-3, but the lead was short-lived. Consecutive goals from MacDonough ended the period with UAE Polo nursing a 5-4 halftime edge.
Pieres opened the second half with a tying goal, 5-5. Cudmore took the lead back for UAE Polo with his second goal of the game, 6-5. Pieres ended the scoring in the period with his fifth goal of the afternoon for a 6-6 deadlock.
Pieres continued to impress the crowd with his second half heroics. Two fifth chukker goals put Talandracas on top, once again, 8-6, giving them their biggest lead of the day. MacDonough kept UAE Polo hopes alive with a single goal to end the period. Talandracas rode off the field with an 8-7 lead with one chukker left in regulation time.
MacDonough was all over the ball as the final chukker began. A great effort allowed him to tie the game at 8-8, giving Talandracas notice that UAE Polo was very much alive. Pieres responded in kind, however, for a 9-8 Talandracas advantage, and an ensuing goal from Nero extended the lead to two goals, 10-8. There was no quit in MacDonough as he fought valiantly through the Talandracas defenses to cut the margin down to a single goal, but time was running out. MacDonough engineered the final run at the Talandracas goal where a shot to tie the game went wide, ending the game in a 10-9 Talandracas victory.
Like his cousin in the previous game, Polito Pieres scored a game high eight goals. Nero added two for the win. MacDonough scored seven times for UAE Polo with Cudmore accounting for two goals in a losing effort.
The win boosts Talandracas into the final of Sunday’s 2014 Cartier Queens Cup against the defending champion, Zacara. It will be cousin against cousin with Facundo averaging over eight goals per game while cousin Polito enters the final with a respectable 6 goals per game average.
The 3pm final between Zacara and Talandracas will be preceded by an 11am sub-final for the Cartier Trophy, pitting Lucchese (John Muse, Lucas James, Nico Pieres and Luke Tomlinson) against El Remanso (Hugo Lewis, Charlie Hanbury, Pelon Stirling and Guillermo Terrera) for the Cartier Trophy.
Play is scheduled to begin in the Gold Cup for the British Open on Tuesday, June 24th with UAE Polo facing EFG Aravali in the tournament’s opening game at 1pm followed by a 3pm match between Zacara and Thai Polo.