The qualifying stages of the Gold Cup have taken place at Polo Challenge locations in the Dominican Republic over the last two weeks. Finally, on Sunday, 13 March, after four days of polo at Lechuza Caracas RD, Los Establos, and Casa de Campo, the semifinalists were defined: Cinque Terre, Lechuza, Los Samanes and Los Establos. A great change can be noted compared to the two previous tournaments, the Bronze Cup and the Silver Cup.
As is known, many team formations have undergone changes. Venezuelan teams Lechuza and Agualinda, for example, reinvented themselves: Lechuza formed a super team with 10-goalers David “Pelon” Stirling and Juan Martin Nero and Alfredo and Victor Vargas, while Agualinda is now composed of Juan Jauretche, Gastón Lisioli, Ramiro Garros and Marcos Araya/Milo Fernández Araujo.
The last week of qualifying stages started on Thursday with games at Los Establos, in Cap Cana, and Casa de Campo, in La Romana. Los Samanes took on Cinque Terre, one of the favourites of the tournament, at Los Establos. It was a tight match, but Los Samanes pulled out in front and won the game 8-7. Santi Toccalino was named Most Valuable Player. At the same time Lechuza took on Los Establos at Casa de Campo. Despite all their efforts, Los Establos could not defeat the mighty Lechuza, who won the game by 9-4. Juan Martin Nero was named Most Valuable Player.
On Friday, Casa de Campo played against La Carbuccia at home. Jose Donoso and Tomas Pieres worked to defeat their opponents, but to no avail. Casa de Campo won the game by 10-8. Bete Donovan was named Most Valuable Player of the match. Victor Vargas’ club, Lechuza Caracas RD, hosted a game between Agualinda and Pitirre. The latter played well and succeed in defeating Agualinda by 12-8.
Saturday’s first game took place at Lechuza Caracas RD; Cinque Terre, the team lead by Ignacio Novillo Astrada, tested the powerful Venezuelan team. However, Vargas and co. dominated and won the game 5-3. Juan Martin Nero was named Most Valuable Player. Up next, Casa de Campo hosted the Listín Diario Cup. Pitirre were under pressure from the start as Casa de Campo dominated the scoreboard. The match ended 13-8 in favour of the local team; Tomas Pieres was named Most Valuable Player. Guests stayed after the game to enjoy an after-polo party.
Sunday polo was held at Los Establos. The local team gave a great performance as they defeated Los Samanes 11-9. Ale Muzzio was named Most Valuable Player. Meanwhile, at Lechuza Caracas RD, La Carbuccia took on Agualinda. It was an evenly fought game which saw La Carbuccia win by a goal (6-5). Juan José Brane was chosen as Most Valuable Player.
The semifinals will be played this week: Los Samanes will face Lechuza while Los Establos will take on Cinque Terre at Casa de Campo.