2017 Cartier Queens Cup final set: La Indiana vs. RH Polo
By Alex Webbe
An aggressive Murus Sanctus polo team (Corinne Ricard, Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Sola and Martin Podesta) was invigorated after scoring a 10-7 win over Talandracas (Edouard Carmignac, Guillermo Caset, Pelon Stirling and Jack Hyde) to earn a semifinal berth against a powerful La Indiana lineup (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Luke Tomlinson) in the 2017 Cartier Queens Cup at the Guards Polo Club Wednesday afternoon, but a five-goal fourth chukker gave La Indiana a lead they would never give up in their 14-11 win.
The opening minute were all Hilario Ulloa and Murus Sanctus as the Argentine 10-goaler scored back-to-back goals for the early 2-0 lead. Agustin Merlos got La Indiana on the scoreboard with a powerful shot from over 70-yards out, 2-1. A Murus Sanctus foul sent Merlos to the penalty line where he converted a 40-yard shot for a goal and a 2-2 tie.
The Murus Sanctus attack continued to press La Indiana defenders, and a pair off penalty goals from Ulloa had Murus Sanctus back in the lead by two goals, 4-2. Facundo Sola’s first goal of the game extended the Murus Sanctus lead to three goals, 5-2, as La Indiana struggled to get into an effective rhythm. Single goals from Merlos and Roldan in the final two minutes of the chukker had La Indiana within a goal of the lead, 5-4.
La Indiana looked to be getting back in stride in the third, with Merlos tying the game at 5-5 on a 30-yard penalty goal. A goal from Roldan gave La Indiana their first lead of the game, 6-5, with under three minutes left in the chukker. Ulloa took advantage of a La Indiana foul, converting a 30-yard penalty shot to end the first half deadlocked at 6-6.
La Indiana’s offense came alive in the fourth period with Merlos scoring four times (twice on penalty shots) and Roldan adding a goal for an 11-7 lead. Murus Sanctus was held to a single 40-yard penalty conversion from Ulloa.
Ullo scored the first two goals of the fifth chukker on penalty shots, cutting the La Indiana lead back to two goals, 11-9. Merlos responded with a goal from the field and a 60-yard penalty conversion. After five chukkers the lead belonged to La Indiana, 13-9.
Ulloa and Merlos exchanged goals in the sixth, with Ulloa nailing the final goal of the game in a 14-11 Murus Sanctus victory.
Merlos led the La Indiana attack with 11 goals. Teammate Roldan added three goals for the win that will return Michael Bickford’s La Indiana team to the final of the Queens Cup for the second consecutive year. Ulloa led the Murus Sanctus attack with ten goals. Sola scored the only other goal in the loss.
RH Polo 14, El Remanso 12
Later in the day, Argentine 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso scored thirteen times to carry RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Tommy Beresford, Adolfo Cambiaso and Rodrigo Andrade) to a 14-12 win over El Remanso (Charlie Hanbury, Oliver Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) in the second Queens Cup semifinal match of the day.
Charlie Hanbury’s All-England, El Remanso lineup received one goal by handicap and quickly added to it on a well-executed run and goal from Ollie Cudmore, 2-0. RH Polo was trying to get something going in the early minutes of play against an aggressive defense, with Cambiaso scoring on a pass from teammate Rodrigo Andrade for the final goal of the first chukker, 2-1.
El Remanso’s James Beim made it 3-1 with his first goal of the day when RH Polo fired back. Cambiaso converted a 40-yard penalty shot and added another goal from the field to tie the game at 3-3. James Harper gave the lead back to El Remanso on a 60-yard penalty conversion, 4-3. Cambiaso closed out the period by executing a scoring goal on an extreme angle shot as time expired, leveling the score at 4-4.
RH Polo took the game to El Remanso in the third, forcing defensive fouls which Cambiaso capitalized upon. Cambiaso scored twice from the 60-yard line and twice from 30-yards out. El Remanso were on their heels for most of the chukker and failed to score. At the end of the first half it was RH Polo on top of an 8-4 score.
El Remanso charged back into the game in the fourth period., scoring the first three goals of the period and cutting the lead to a single goal, 8-7. Cambiaso scored his eighth goal of the game to make it 9-7, but El Remanso wasn’t through. Goals from the field from Cudmore and Charlie Hanbury had the score deadlocked at 9-9. Cambiaso took advantage of an El Remanso foul in the waning seconds of the period to give the lead back to RH Polo10-9.
It was a give-and-take effort by both sides in the fifth with Cambiaso scoring the opening goal of the chukker to make it 11-9. Beim answered back with a 90-yard neck-shot for a goal for El Remanso, 11-10. During a melee in the El Remanso end of the field, Beim became dismounted, with his horse racing off the field. Not being in danger, the umpires let the play continue as El Remanso reversed direction and raced down the field towards the RH Polo goal. II an ultimate show of sportsmanship, Cambiaso stayed with Beim, negating the 4-3 miss-match, and allowed Harper to tie the game at 11-11. Proving that karma works in our everyday lives, Cambiaso took the lead back, 12-11, on a penalty shot that was caused by a foul in the goal mouth by Beim. The chukker ended with RH Polo defending a fragile one goal lead, 12-11.
Cambiaso extended the RH Polo lead to two goals, 13-11 with a goal from the field. Beim immediately countered with a goal of his own, 13-12 when the El Remanso rally stalled. An El Remanso foul ended the scoring with Tommy Beresford converting a 30-yard penalty shot for the final goal of the game, giving RH Polo a 14-12 victory and a berth in the final of the 2017 Cartier Queens Cup against La Indiana at the Guards Polo Club at 3pm on Sunday, June 18th.
Cambiaso scored thirteen times in the match, setting the stage for an attempt to add to his record nine Queens Cup titles. It will also have him facing a La Indiana team that he faced as a member of the Dubai polo team in the 2016 final.