The quest for the Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship began on Tuesday at Cowdray Park Polo Club as Emlor and Vikings met in the opening match of the tournament. Behind a strong start, Vikings captured the 13-11 victory on the Brooks field.
Vikings’ accuracy around goal in the early stages of the match resulted in them never trailing throughout the game, but Emlor continued to pull even behind the penalty shooting of Agustin Merlos. Finishing 6 for 8 from the penalty line, Emlor battled to stay even, but the eight-goal performance from Juan Martin Zubia continued to push Vikings ahead. Winning the open play battle, Vikings nearly doubled Emlor in goals from the field, shooting an efficient 50% in what was ultimately the difference in the 13-11 triumph.
Scoring the first three goals of the game, Vikings raced out of the gate with two goals from Sebastian Merlos and one from Chris Mackenzie. Finishing the opening chukka with four goals on six shots, Vikings showcased a dynamic attack that left Emlor with difficulties in slowing the momentum through the first seven minutes. However, six fouls committed by Vikings in the second chukka allowed Emlor to quickly erase the three-goal deficit on three penalty conversions from Merlos and Max Charlton. Improving their discipline in the third chukka, Vikings were able to regain their lead on two field goals from Zubia and Merlos but exited the first half with a narrow 7-6 advantage.
Applying pressure at the start of the fourth chukka, Emlor’s third shot attempt found the mark to tie the game at 7-all, but they continued to be unable to break through and pull into the lead. Back-to-back goals from Zubia and Mackenzie ended the chukka with a 9-7 lead in favour of Vikings as they looked to finally create separation on the scoreboard. However, Merlos converted a Penalty 4 while adding a goal from the field to bring Emlor even for a fourth time. That proved to be the final run from Emlor as Vikings relied on the penalty shooting of Zubia in the final chukka, converting both penalty attempts while also adding a field goal to claim the hard-fought 13-11 victory.