Park Place Vaara 20 – 11 Thai Polo NP Princes’ Ground Guards Polo Club
Dubai Polo Team 12 – 11 La Magdeleine Dukes Ground Guards Polo Club
The prestigious Cartier Queens Cup tournament began today with the first 22-goal match on Guards Polo Club’s new Princes’ Ground. The result was a successful Park Place Vaara debut in an impressive match against Thai Polo NP. Coming off a successful season in the USA for Park Place, Hilario Ulloa, Juan Britos, Josh Hyde and new addition to the team, Santos Merlos, drew upon established chemistry to give Park Place Vaara a first half lead (8-6). Combining for all eight of their team’s goals, Ulloa and Britos were relentless towards goal with Ulloa adding two penalty conversions. Trying to recapture the magic from last year, Thai Polo NP responded with the Hine brothers, Ned and Louis, answering with six goals to trail by just two at the end of the high-scoring first half. Always ahead in this game, Park Place Vaara surged out of the half-time break with an 11-1 run that was led by perfect 7 for 7 shooting in the game from Ulloa. Despite eight penalty conversions from Ned Hine, Thai Polo NP were unable to slow the electric Park Place Vaara attack as Ulloa finished with a game-high 11 goals to claim an impressive 20-11 victory.
Moving to The Duke’s Ground for the second match of the opening day, the return of Rashid Albwardy’s Dubai Polo Team to the high-goal stage provided a nail-biting game that came down to the final moments. A competitive opening half featured a back and forth start to the match with the two teams exchanging goals to remain tied through the first two chukkas. Five goals from La Magdeleine’s Pablo MacDonough paced his team’s attack, including three successful penalty conversions, while Dubai Polo Team were unable to convert any of their first four penalty attempts. Regrouping in the third chukka, Camilo Castagnola drove forward to score his second and third goals of the first half to give Dubai a narrow 7-5 lead at half-time. Creating separation in the second half, Castagnola continued his success from the field, adding an additional four goals on just five shots, while an organised defence held La Magdeleine to just two goals from MacDonough over the fourth and fifth chukkas. Holding a three-goal lead and just one chukka away from victory, Dubai faced unrelenting pressure from La Magdeleine, who brought the game back within one thanks to an incredible shot from distance by MacDonough with just one minute of the match remaining. Time was now La Madeleine’s enemy and on the bell Dubai Polo Team were ensured a successful return to Guards Polo Club, winning this match 12-11.
Tomorrow’s fixtures – Wednesday 18 May
11.30am: Twelve Oaks v Monterosso at Castle Ground, Flemish Farm
3pm: King Power v Marques de Riscal at King Power
All games are being streamed by Guards TV in association with Polocam TV. Go to https://guards.polocam.tv/package
Action in the Queen’s Cup continues May 18, with Twelve Oaks facing Monterosso followed by King Power against Marques de Riscal.
Photos by IMAGES OF POLO