The highly anticipated conclusion of the 2020 King Power Gold Cup between Les Lions/Great Oaks and Next Generation produced a match to remember, with a flurry of goals in the sixth chukka leaving the outcome to be decided in the final minutes. Holding off a late charge from Les Lions/Great Oaks, Next Generation captured the 14-12 victory and the prestigious King Power Gold Cup title, capping off an extraordinary tournament at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Back and forth action in open play demonstrated the evenly matched line-ups with Next Generation using perfect 8 for 8 penalty shooting to overcome the strong Les Lions/Great Oaks team. Filling in for the injured David Stirling, Diego Cavanagh was crucial to Next Generation’s success, playing effectively alongside Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso while also providing the stability from the penalty line that led Next Generation to victory. Nine goals and consistent passing to goal from rising stars Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola gave Les Lions/Great Oaks a chance in the late stages, but their inability to keep Next Generation off the penalty line sealed their fate in the 14-12 defeat.
In the opening minutes, Next Generation took control of the game, beginning with a goal from Adolfo Cambiaso that was quickly followed by a goal from his son Poroto, giving Next Generation the 2-0 lead. Cavanagh excelled for the second consecutive game, leading all players with seven goals, including his first goal to end the first chukka. Holding the early advantage over his cousins Bartolome and Camilo Castagnola, Poroto Cambiaso was crucial in Next Generation’s strong start, keeping Next Generation’s lead at three goals in the second chukka as Les Lions/Great Oaks struggled with foul trouble. Unable to contain the strong possession-based attack of Next Generation, Les Lions/Great Oaks conceded two penalty goals to Cavanagh in the third chukka but stayed within reach before the end of the half thanks to the efforts of Santiago Laborde. Coming forward from the #4 position, Laborde scored two goals, leaving Les Lions/Great Oaks trailing 7-5 at halftime.
The dynamic of the final changed at the start of the fourth chukka after Les Lions/Great Oaks scored consecutive goals to tie the score at 7-7, receiving a penalty 2 conversion by Bartolome Castagnola and field goal from Dillon Bacon. Failing to hold the lead since their first goal, Next Generation responded with a potent offense led by the father-son duo of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso. Scoring two field goals in quick succession, Next Generation restored their lead and used their momentum to keep the pressure on the Les Lions/Great Oaks defence. Two penalty conversions, one each from Adolfo Cambiaso and Cavanagh completed a run of four unanswered goals giving Next Generation a stronghold on the game. Trailing by two entering the sixth chukka, Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Camilo Castagnola cut the deficit in half on an impressive run through the defence, hitting the ball out of the air to find the goal. Focusing on maintaining their possession, Adolfo Cambiaso led Next Generation’s determined attack that forced Les Lions/Great Oaks into committing four fouls over the last seven minutes, sending Cavanagh to the penalty line to win the tournament. Converting all three penalty opportunities, Next Generation watched time run out and their celebration began as they lifted the King Power Gold Cup with the 14-12 victory.
The Best Playing Patron Pony:- Small Axe ridden and owned by Dillon Bacon
Best Playing Pony:- Pintita ridden Poroto Cambiaso
Most Valuable Player:- Adolfo Cambiaso