Dillon Bacon’s team, which had produced some wonderful team polo over three weeks in late summer, once again brought their impressive style of polo to the Queen’s Ground at Guards Polo Club to win this coveted cup. They beat Andrey Borodin’s Park Place 9-8 in a sudden-death, seventh chukka.

Dillon, who was later named the Cartier Most Valuable Player, was thrilled with this win, describing it as a “dream come true”. Talking to Ebe Sievwright of Polocam TV after the game he said: ”I have dreamed of winning The Queen’s Cup ever since I came [to Guards Polo Club] with my father as a young kid. You see this level of polo – the players, the horses, the field – and  you dream of being on that field and winning – so it really is a dream come true.”

Park Place, who received a goal on handicap, were in their third successive Cartier Queen’s Cup Final but struggled to find their form in the first half of this match. Les Lions/Great Oaks had clearly done their homework and were successful in preventing Facundo Pieres in particular from making his trademark, fast runs to goal. The winners were 8-5 ahead going into the final chukka, not least thanks to Barto Castagnola making the most of any space and younger brother Jeta firing through penalties with ease.

All credit to Park Place though, who never gave up hope. They had the horsepower and the experience and so when Will Harper fired through an equalizer 8-8 in the final moments of the sixth chukka, extra time was inevitable, and Park Place were very much back in contention. Both sides then had chances in this extra, seventh chukka before Jeta blasted though the winner for Les Lions/Great Oaks.

It was a shame that such a wonderful final had to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic that was sweeping the world in 2020. Although the Club did ensure that every moment of every match – some 30 games –  was filmed by Polocam TV so that members and polo lovers around the world could still watch 22-goal polo at its absolute best.

The absence of spectators also meant the absence of Cartier’s always impressive hospitality.  Laurent Feniou, Managing Director of Cartier UK, title sponsor of this tournament since 2012, could not attend as he was self-isolating at home due to an overseas trip but did send a message to all the finalists. “It has been incredible to see such powerful games played by some of the very best polo players in the world, during this year’s Cartier Queen’s Cup Polo, despite the unprecedented turn of events this year. I am truly inspired by the resilience and talent of these wonderful players capturing the true essence and spirit of the sport.”

Although Cartier did make sure that all the players headed home with some impressive prizes, including Cartier Tank watches to the winners. One prize was the coveted Cartier Best Playing Pony prize, which this year went to the stallion Chalo Angelo. This magnificent horse was bred by Lolo Castagnola, who won the Queen’s Cup himself in 2003 when playing with the Dubai polo team and played by both of his sons in this final – Barto in the second and fifth chukkas and Jeta during that all-important extra time.

Despite the difficulties the pandemic has caused to the global polo community, 10 top teams had entered this year’s Cartier Queen’s Cup tournament and earlier in the day Brian Stein, Chairman of Guards Polo Club, presented Alessandro Bazzoni of the Monterosso Polo Team with the Cartier Trophy.

This was the first time in the history of the competition that a Cartier Queen’s Cup match has been played between a husband and a wife. Alessandro was competing in this tournament for the fourth time while his wife Siri was making her Cartier Queen’s Cup debut with her MT Vikings squad. This was another close game, played over six chukkas, with Monterosso just stealing a 6-5 win in the final chukka. Alessandro was rewarded with the Cartier Most Valuable Player prize as well as heading home with the Cartier Trophy.

Ranking:

1st place
Les Lions/Great Oaks (+23)
Camilo (Jeta) Castagnola (+7)
Dillon Bacon (+2)
Bartolome Castagnola Jnr (+8)
Santiago Laborde (+6)

2nd place
Park Place (+22)
Andrey Borodin (0)
Will Harper (+3)
Gonzalo Pieres (+9)
Facundo Pieres (+10)

3rd place
Monterosso Polo Team (+22)
Alessandro Bazzoni (+1)
Guillermo Terrera (+7)
Ignacio Toccalino (+8)
Jeronimo del Carril (+6)

4th place
MT Vikings (+22)
Siri Bazzoni (0)
James Beim (+7)
Sebastian Merlos (+8)
Juan Martin Zubia (+7)

 

Images: © Images of Polo

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