The final round of group play in the 2020 King Power Gold Cup began with two crucial games, beginning with Park Place moving to the top of Zone A, defeating Scone 16-13, while Next Generation came through in a must-win scenario, defeating Polo Stud Schockemohle 17-15 at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
With all eight teams jockeying for position in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, Park Place claimed a crucial win over Scone, led by a ten-goal performance from Facundo Pieres. Executing a two-man game effectively alongside Gonzalito Pieres, Facundo Pieres and Park Place produced an efficient attack, shooting 13 for 18 from the field in a dynamic attack, including eight goals over the final two chukkas. Despite a strong effort from a Scone team that scored 13 goals, their highest total of the tournament, they could not slow the potent attack of Park Place in the 16-13 defeat.
Trading two goals each in the opening chukka, Gonzalito Pieres led Park Place scoring both goals from the field, while Nico Pieres contributed a penalty conversion and assist to James Harper, evening the score at 2-2. Nico Pieres, the tournament scoring leader, continued to make his mark in the early stages of the game, scoring his second and third goals to push Scone into a two-goal advantage. A swift response was provided by Park Place’s Facundo Pieres, who exploded for three goals on perfect 2 for 2 shooting from the field and a penalty 3 conversion to restore the tie at 6-6 entering halftime.
The high-scoring match turned to the penalty line at the beginning of the second half as Scone’s Nico Pieres converted a penalty 2 and penalty 4, pushing his team back into the narrow one-goal lead. In one of the more impressive two-chukka stretches of the tournament so far, Facundo Pieres took control of the final stages of the game, highlighting a dominant Park Place finish. Scoring three goals and adding an assist to Gonzalito in the fifth chukka, Facundo Pieres turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal leading into a tense sixth chukka. Continuing their momentum, Park Place’s relentless attack ultimately drove them to victory, scoring four goals, three more off the mallet of Facundo Pieres in back-to-back chukkas to complete the 16-13 victory.
In desperate need of a victory, Next Generation and Polo Stud Schockemohle battled in the highest scoring game of the tournament, combining for 32 goals in fast end-to-end play. Eight goals for Poroto Cambiaso, including perfect 6 for 6 shooting from the field, led Next Generation’s accurate attack that finished 68% from the field. Despite shooting an even better 77% from the field, Polo Stud Schockemohle attempted nine fewer shots at goal, with Next Generation’s extra possessions proving to be the difference in 17-15 victory.
Held off the scoreboard from the field in the first two chukkas, Polo Stud Schockemohle’s Patrick Maleitzke added three goals from the penalty line to pace his team’s offense. After David Stirling provided Next Generation’s lone goal in the first chukka, his team exploded for five goals on six shots, behind the duo of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, who contributed two goals each to push their team into 6-3 lead. A back and forth end to the first half saw the two teams trade three goals each as Polo Stud Schockemohle found their stride from the field with goals from Maleitzke and Jaime Garcia Huidobro. Maintaining their three-goal lead, Next Generation scored all nine goals from the field leading into the second half.
The fast paced attack from Next Generation continued to pressure Polo Stud Schockemohle, resulting in penalty goals from the first time in the game, with Poroto Cambiaso converting both attempts as part of a dominant five-goal chukka for Next Generation that also saw two goals from Stirling. Taking advantage of nearly every opportunity, Next Generation completed their impressive offensive performance receiving a goal each from Adolfo Cambiaso, Poroto Cambiaso and Stirling to extend their lead to seven. Three goals from Maleitzke in the final chukka pushed his total to ten goals, but it was not enough to challenge Next Generation, who captured the 17-15 victory.