By Alex Webbe
In the only match of the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open at Cowdray Park Polo Club, the All English, All-Pro Halcyon Gallery (George Hanbury, Mark Tomlinson, James Beim and James Harper) registered a decisive 10-6 win over EFG Bank Aravali (Jaime Garcia Huidobro, Alejandro Muzzio, Joaquin Pittaluga and Celine Charloux).
Halcyon Gallery got after EFG Bank Aravali from the opening throw-in, turning an early 5-1 lead into a 6-2 halftime advantage.
EFG Bank Aravali struggled to break through the veteran Halcyon Gallery defenders, with little luck. One would have thought that after their recent blowout of Thai Polo (10-5) they would have had more firepower at their disposal, but that was not the case. The two teams traded single goals in the fourth chukker (7-3) and the fifth chukker (8-4) before a break-even final chukker (each team managed to score twice) ended the misery for EFG Bank Aravali in a 10-6 loss.
The victory boosts the Halcyon Gallery record to 2-1, making them an attractive prospect for a quarterfinal position. Their final preliminary game, however, will be against a UAE Polo team (Max Hutchinson, Matias Benoit, Pablo MacDonough and Ollie Cudmore) that will be playing without either its patron, Maitha Al Maktoum or the injured Argentine 9-goaler, Lucas Monteverde.
Teams already qualifying for British Open quarterfinal play include King Power (“Top” Srivaddhanaprabha, Tomas Garbarini, Gonzalito Pieres and Marcos di Paola), Lucchese (John Muse, Lucas James, Nico Pieres and Luke Tomlinson), Black Bears (Guy Schwarzenbach, Facundo Sola, John Paul Clarkin and Patrick O’Dwyer), Dubai (Tommy Beresford, Alastair Paterson, Adolfo Cambiaso and Diego Cavanagh) and the defending championship Zacara polo team (Facundo Pieres, Lyndon Lea, Gonzalo Deltour and Matt Perry), all with perfect 3-0 records.
British Open play continues on Monday with a 2:30pm game between two unbeaten teams in Zacara and Dubai. Regardless of the outcome, both will move into the quarterfinals, making the contest little more than a warm-up for the playoffs.