The qualifying stages of the Silver Cup ‘Banco del Progreso American Express’, second of four tournaments of the Polo Challenge 2016 series, taking place in Casa de Campo, La Romana and Los Establos, Ciudad Ecuestre in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, have come to an end. The semi-finalists have been defined: Undefeated Lechuza, Agualinda, Test Drive and La Carbuccia will fight for a place in the tournament final on Wednesday, 24 February. The qualifying stages brought many surprises the biggest one being the qualification of team La Carbuccia among the best four.
The tournament kicked off with a game between Lechuza and Los Establos, where the latter faced disappointment as they lost 5-14. Day Two saw Los Establos host the game between Los Samanes and Agualinda. It was a tough game, but Los Samanes managed to stay ahead and win the game by 9-8. The third day of polo took place at Casa de Campo; Pitirri Potranca got off to a bad start against La Carbuccia, the latter losing the confidence gained in the last tournament. A newly structured Carbuccia won the game 15-9, and showed that they mean business. The second game of the day was on Casa de Campo’s number two field. Alessandro Bazzoni debuted as the main player of Test Drive; the remainder of the team was made up of former Power Infrastructure players. Test Drive faced Casa de Campo and won 10-8, thanks to Nacho Novillo Astrada’s exceptional performance.
The Nespresso Cup took place on Day Five; the first game of the day was between titans Lechuza and Agualinda, a game which saw the battle of the 10-goalers yet again. The game finished 10-7 in favour of Lechuza, and Juan Martin Nero was named Most Valuable Player. Next up, Los Establos took on Los Samanes in Cap Cana, a game which saw the Toccalino brothers go head to head in an even game. Muzzio scored for Los Establos in the last chukka to seal the 7-4 win and the Nespresso Cup. Marcelo Frayssinet was named Most Valuable Player of the match.
The Hola! Cup was held on 14 February, when two spectacular, even games took place at Casa de Campo. La Carbuccia played against Test Drive first; La Carbuccia, distracted after their victory against Pitirri on Friday, were caught with their guard down, and the final result was 11-8. Pitirri/Potranca had more luck against Casa de Campo; Benjamin Araya delighted all as he appeared in Casa de Campo’s line-up and contributed to the final 9-8 score.
18 and 19 February saw the United Capital Cup hosted at Casa de Campo; Cubi Toccalino gave an amazing performance, scoring 10 goals and achieving the first victory for Los Establos as they won the game 13-9. Meanwhile, at Lechuza Caracas RD, the new headquarters of the Venezuelan team in the Dominican Republic, Agualinda took on La Carbuccia in a game that ended 11-9. The next day, Lechuza defeated Pitirri/Potranca 12-5 – Juan Jauretche was named Most Valuable Player – and Test Drive beat Los Samanes 11-9 in an excellent match.
The Maserati Cup was held at Casa de Campo on 20 February. La Carbuccia dissolved all hopes Los Establos might have had at a Silver Cup comeback, as they won the game 12-9. Casa de Campo put up a great fight against Agualinda, but in the end the latter won 11-7.
Lastly, 21 February gave rise to the first three semi-finalists of the Silver Cup. In the first game of the day, a small change in Los Samanes made a difference in the game against Pitirri/Potranca, as they won 11-6. Juan Ambroggio was named Most Valuable Player. Lechuza and Test Drive battled it out for The Gentleman RD Cup in what was a great game. Test Drive couldn’t quite dominate Lechuza, and the latter won 11-7. Monday saw a penalty shootout between La Carbuccia and Los Samanes to define the final semi-finalist of the tournament. La Carbuccia’s Bete Donovan came through and won the shootout for his team.
The semi-finals will begin at Casa de Campo on Thursday, 25 February at 2.30 pm, with a game between Agualinda and Test Drive. Lechuza and La Carbuccia will play at 4.30 pm. The final of the Silver Cup ‘Banco del Progreso American Express’ will take place on Saturday, 27 February 2016 at Casa de Campo.