Kick-starting Thursday’s doubleheader in the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup hosted by Cowdray Park Polo Club, Park Place went head-to-head against Black Bears, with Park Place earning their second consecutive victory in League play 11-8.  

Matching each other in field shots, Park Place utilized their opportunities at the line, converting four goals on five attempts, each coming off the mallet of Facundo Pieres. Leading Park Place in scoring, Pieres’ 10-goal performance combined with 43.8% shooting ultimately delivered Park Place the narrow three-goal win. 

Back-to-back goals from Juan Martin Nero and Guy Schwarzenbach opened the scoring for Black Bears, with Park Place quickly mounting a firm response. Controlling the possession in the second, James Harper and Pieres combined for three in the chukka to establish a 4-3 lead. Posting two more on the scoreboard, Park Place looked to carry a lead into the half but a conversion from Juan Martin Nero knotted the contested match 5-all at the horn.

Facing a stalemate in the second half, the low scoring affair continued in the fourth and fifth. Answering each other stride-by-stride, Pieres found success at the line, while Black Bears earned their opportunities in open play to enter the final chukka tied 7-all. Striking for Black Bears, Nero hit his fourth of the contest to take the lead, but Park Place saved their most productive offensive explosion for last. Finding the goal line on four drives, two from Harper were followed by back-to-back efforts from Pieres, lifting Park Place to the 11-8 triumph. 

Wrapping up action at Brooks Field, UAE faced Monterosso, with UAE taking the 12-8 victory to remain undefeated in the tournament. 

Equaling each other’s efforts on shots from the field, UAE narrowly took the edge in shooting percentage, converting 44% in open play. Taking advantage of Monterosso’s foul troubles, UAE’s Bartolome Castagnola and Tomas Beresford combined to convert four goals on seven attempts. Striking early and often, UAE’s balanced offensive efforts combined with their ability to control the pace of play allowed them to take the four-goal victory. 

Trading goals to open scoring, UAE broke through in the second, as a drive from Lucas Monteverde Jr. ignited a six-goal run. Hitting four in the first half, including three unanswered, the firepower and accuracy of Castagnola gave UAE a commanding 7-3 lead at the break. 

Building off their first half momentum, Castagnola and Beresford each added two more on the scoreboard, while UAE’s defense managed to pin Monterosso in their own end to take a 9-3 advantage. Adding to their lead in the fifth, UAE’s powerful trio of Castagnola, Beresford and Monteverde each found success in open play. Held to just a single goal in the half, David Stirling ignited Monterosso’s sixth chukka comeback efforts. Outscoring UAE for the first time in the game, a run of four goals including two from Ignacio Toccalino brought Monterosso within striking distance, but UAE’s established lead was just enough from them to hang on for the 12-8 victory. 

Photo Credit: ©Mark Beaumont