Following four weeks of intense and elite competition, the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup hosted by Cowdray Park Polo Club culminated in an unforgettable battle between UAE (Kayley Maria Smith, Lucas Monteverde Jr., Bartolome Castagnola Jr., Tomas Beresford) and Dubai (Camilo Castagnola, Rashid Albwardy, Beltran Laulhe, Rufino Bensadon). Closely contested from the outset, a narrow lead established from UAE in the first half was just enough separation to stave off Dubai’s comeback bid, as UAE secured the hard-fought victory by the slimmest of margins 12-11. 

Despite being outshot in the field 19 to 13, UAE made the most of their opportunities at goal, displaying 50% shooting accuracy, with Lucas Monteverde Jr. accounting for three goals in open play. Although Dubai successfully generated turnovers to launch their counterattacks and create scoring chances led by Camilo Castagnola, they ultimately couldn’t match the efficiency of UAE, as the formidable partnership of Tomas Beresford and Bartolome Castagnola Jr. tipped the scales to earn UAE their first British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup title. 

Making a statement in the opening chukka, UAE seized an early three-goal lead courtesy of a balanced attack from Bartolome Castagnola Jr., Beresford, and Monteverde Jr. Swapping scores from the field in the second, an impressive push from Bensadon and Camilo Castagnola kept Dubai in contention but the skillful play of Beresford to earn his second goal of the half, ensured UAE’s narrow 5-4 lead at the break.  

Maintaining pressure, UAE were back on the attack to open the second half, as goals from Beresford and Bartolome Castagnola Jr. rallied to outscore two from Dubai’s Camilo Castagnola at the line. Trading goals once more in the fifth, two off the mallet of Dubai’s Laulhe in open play were answered by two successful conversions from UAE’s Beresford. Entering the final chukka of play trailing by two, Camilo Castagnola provided a late surge accounting for three unanswered to vault Dubai into the lead, but back-to-back goals from Beresford and Montverde Jr. capitalized on UAE’s structured attack to stave off Dubai’s comeback bid to deliver UAE the 12-11 triumph. 

Most Valuable Player was awarded to Bartolome Castagnola Jr. 

Best Playing Argentine Pony was awarded to “Pacua Olivia,” played by Camilo Castagnola, “Solar,” played by Bartolome Castagnola Jr. took home Best Playing Pony honors and “Chalo Galaxy,” played by Rashid Albwardy earned Best Playing Pony Amateur. 

Photo Credit: ©Mark Beaumont