©Mark Beaumont

Kicking-off Sunday’s doubleheader on the Lawn Grounds in the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup, a 1-0 Talandracas faced a Murus Sanctus team looking for their first victory of the tournament, followed by Scone against Dubai Polo Team, each seeking to remain undefeated.

Looking to rebound from a first-round loss, Murus Sanctus established an early lead with back-to-back goals from Facundo Sola, including Sola’s first of two penalty conversions on the day. Responding for Talandracas, Pablo Pieres found the goal three times with two coming from the penalty line to get his team on the board as they began to apply pressure on Murus Sanctus’ defense. Moving forward from the back, a goal from Cappella provided an answer for Murus Sanctus. Trading three goals apiece in the third chukka, the two teams utilized different methods with Murus Sanctus driving from the field to score on perfect 3 for 3 shooting, while Talandracas’ Pieres continued to find success at the penalty line. Despite conceding four penalty goals, strong 83% shooting from Murus Sanctus from the field gave them a slim 8-6 advantage at the half. 

Igniting their second half comeback, Talandracas relied on strong defensive play to hold their opponents off the scoreboard for the first time in the match and received a key goal from Pieres to tie the match at 8-all. Trading goals once more, the two evenly matched teams saw Strada hit his second penalty conversion, while Murus Sanctus’ Sola struck once more from the field for his impressive seventh goal of the match. Going into the final chukka of regulation deadlocked at nine, each team had the opportunity to take the lead but a final stand-up defensive effort from Talandracas held Murus Sanctus scoreless while Talandracas’ leading scorer scored the winning goal on a strike from the field to complete the 10-9 comeback victory. 

Scoring 17 goals in their opening game, Dubai Polo Team’s leading scorer picked up where he left off as Camilo Castagnola scored his first of nine goals to set an early tone from the field. Scone’s Adolfo Cambiaso matched Castagnola’s early field goal, while teammate Rosendo Torreguitar found the posts on back-to-back drives to account for a three-goal Scone run. However, the momentum swung back in favour of Dubai Polo Team, initiating an unanswered three-goal response of their own that included two more conversions from Castagnola. After the early exchange of goals, offense continued to come via the penalty line as Dubai Polo Team edged ahead on two more penalty conversions to take a 6-4 lead into the break. 

Erasing their two-goal deficit quickly in the fourth, back-to-back goals from Adolfo Cambiaso tied the match at 6-all, showcasing an evenly matched contest with neither team able to hold off the response. Quickly answering the run, Castagnola and Jeronimo de Carril found the mark to put Dubai Polo Team up by one once more but with two chukkas remaining, it was uncertain which team held the upper hand. A second three-goal offensive blitz from Scone saw Rosendo Torreguitar find the posts for the second time in the match, as father-duo of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso each converted from the penalty line to bring the game even once more. Finishing with a game-high nine goals, Castagnola stepped into the spotlight in the final chukka, scoring consecutive field goals to hold off the late push from Scone and capture the crucial 12-10 win. 

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