By Alex Webbe
La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Luke Tomlinson) was the early aggressor in the opening minutes of the 2017 Cartier Queens Cup at the Guards Polo Club Sunday afternoon, but a missed shot on goal by La Indiana reversed the field and saw Brazilian 8-goaler Rodrigo Andrade score the first goal of the game for a 1-0 RH Polo (Ben Soleimani, Tommy Beresford, Adolfo Cambiaso and Rodrigo Andrade) lead. A second RH Polo goal came from Tommy Beresford as La Indiana struggled to keep up with their opponents. A late RH Polo foul resulted in a 30-yard penalty conversion from Agustin Merlos for the final goal of the chukker. After the first seven minutes of play it was RH Polo in the lead, 2-1.
Merlos scored the opening goal of the second chukker, blistering the ball through the RH Polo goalposts from some 60-ayrds out to tie the game at 2-2. Beresford took the lead back for RH Polo with his second goal of the day, 3-2. Cambiaso made it 4-2 with a 60-yard penalty shot to end the period.
RH Polo continued to control much of the flow of the game in the third. The two teams traded goals with RH Polo holding the advantage at 5-3. Cambiaso scored the final goal of the first half to put RH Polo on top, 6-3.
A re-focused La Indiana team returned to the field in the fourth chukker and took immediate control of the game. Merlos opened the scoring with a 60-yard penalty conversion and followed it up with a goal from the field from the ensuing throw-in, 6-5. Back-to-back goals from Nic Roldan gave La Indiana their first lead of the day at 7-6, and another 60-yard penalty conversion from Merlos had them on top by two goals, 8-6. Cambiaso made a brilliant run at the end of the chukker, scoring with seconds on the clock to cut the La Indiana lead back to a single goal, 8-7 to end the fourth period.
The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the fifth chukker. Andrade tied the game at 8-8, but a great individual effort by Merlos had him carrying the ball down the field over 200 yards for a goal to give La Indiana back the lead, 9-8.
A La Indiana foul gave RH Polo an opportunity midway through the chukker, and Beresford converted the 30-yard shot that leveled the score at 9-9. Both teams had scoring opportunities that either went wide or were turned away by aggressive defensive efforts. With time running down on the game clock and the possibility of a sudden-death overtime chukker looming, Cambiaso took control of the ball and raced down the field to score the winning goal, 10-9, as the bell sounded.
The Cartier Queens Cup win was RH Polo’s first while Cambiaso added his record tenth Queens Cup win to his already impressive resume.
Tommy Beresford earned MVP honors for solid play on both offense (scoring three goals) and defense. Adolfo Cambiaso’s 12-year-old Chestnut mare was named Best Playing Pony.
King Power 10, Sommelier 6
Earlier in the day, King Power Foxes (Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Jimbo Fewster, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) and Sommelier (George Hanbury, Juan Gris Zavaleta, Fred Mannix and Alec White) battled to 5-5 halftime tie before King Power 0ut-scored Sommelier 5-1 in the final three chukkers for a 10-6 win for the Cartier Cup in subsidiary play.
High-goal play continues in England with the opening round of play in the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open on Tuesday, June 27th at Cowdray Park Polo Club.
Photos: Tony Ramirez, Images of Polo.
To see all the teams and results click here