An exciting day of two quarter-final matches in the 2020 King Power Gold Cup began with an overtime thriller that was ultimately won 11-10 by Les Lions/Great Oaks over Thai Polo NW. Securing the final spot in the semi-finals, Next Generation defeated Scone 13-10 at Cowdray Park Polo Club, setting the scene for Wednesday’s much anticipated semi-finals.
In a match determined by the narrowest of margins, Les Lions/Great Oaks narrowly claimed the victory behind the efforts of Camilo Castagnola, who excelled in his second game back to lead all players with eight goals. Inaccurate shooting from the field, along with 16 fouls kept Les Lions/Great Oaks from separating themselves in the game, but in a game decided by the smallest of margins, Thai Polo NW converted just one of their final four penalty attempts in the heart breaking overtime loss.
Foul trouble from the opening chukka for Les Lions/Great Oaks allowed Thai Polo NW to generate a consistent offense from the penalty line. Juan Martin Zubia began the game with perfect 3 for 3 penalty shooting to give Thai Polo NW the early lead. Les Lions/Great Oaks continued to apply pressure in open play, outshooting Thai Polo NW 8-3 over the first two chukkas, but struggled to convert their opportunities, scoring just two field goals, one each from Dillon Bacon and Camilo Castagnola. A foul ridden end to the first half saw a combined seven fouls in the third chukka, resulting in two penalty conversions for Camilo Castagnola to cut the deficit to one and leave Les Lions/Great Oaks trailing 5-4 at halftime.
Finding their stride from the field, Thai Polo NW started the second half strong, utilizing Ned Hine in the #1 position, who accounted for both his team’s goals to extend their lead to two. An efficient Les Lions/Great Oaks attack kept their team in the game, relying on the duo of Bacon and Camilo Castagnola in a three-goal fifth chukka. However, foul trouble continued to be a factor as Thai Polo NW was sent to the penalty line for three attempts, but converted just one, leaving Les Lions/Great Oaks trailing by just one goal entering the final chukka. In quick succession, Les Lions/Great Oaks received a goal each from Santiago Laborde and Camilo Castagnola to race into the lead for the first time since the opening chukka. On the following play, Zubia scored his seventh goal, sending the game into overtime. A tense overtime chukka saw end-to-end action as play carried on past three minutes. After a saved chance in front of goal, Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Bartolome Castagnola found Camilo Castagnola on a fresh horse in space, and in an impressive run to goal, he sent his team into the semi-finals with the thrilling 11-10 victory.
The last quarter-final saw Next Generation produce an exceptional first half and hold off a late push from Scone in the second half to capture the victory. Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso combined for 12 of their team’s 13 goals, executing a dynamic attack that shot 58% from the field. The slow start for Scone was too much to overcome despite the efforts of Nico Pieres and James Harper, who finished with five and four goals respectively in the three-goal defeat.
Conceding one goal on handicap, Next Generation erased the deficit before the end of the first chukka, receiving one goal each from Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso to tie the game at two. Domination possession, Next Generation built a significant lead by holding Scone to just two field goals throughout the entire first half. Keeping the ball in the attacking half, Next Generation continued to shoot at goal with the pressure paying off in the third chukka. Scoring four goals, three off the mallet of Poroto Cambiaso, Next Generation built a commanding 8-3 lead, leaving Scone in desperate need of offense in the second half.
Scone gained momentum in the fourth chukka, doubling their goal total, scoring three goals behind the efforts of Nico Pieres. Converting two penalty attempts while also assisting on a goal from Harper, Pieres quickly turned the five-goal deficit to just two as Next Generation was kept off the scoreboard. Two clutch penalty shots from Adolfo Cambiaso allowed Next Generation to maintain control of the game, but Scone played at a fast pace and scored three goals for the second consecutive chukka thanks to two goals from Harper, pulling within one goal for an exciting conclusion. Displaying his 10-goal status, Adolfo Cambiaso secured the victory for Next Generation, scoring back-to-back goals at the start of the sixth chukka, sending his team into the semi-finals with the 13-10 victory.