Vikings 11 – 10 Monterosso
The Vikings team started their Talacrest Prince of Wales’s Championship Cup campaign with a win, beating Monterosso in a tight game on the Castle Ground at Flemish Farm. Max Voelker was standing in for Vikings’ patron Siri Evjemo-Nysveen and was joined by Vikings’ regulars Chris Mackenzie, Sebastian Merlos and Juan Martin Zubia. Monterosso was fielding a different line-up to this Queen’s Cup, with Matt Perry and Facundo Sola coming into the team to play alongside Monterosso stalwart Ignacio “Cubi” Toccalino.
There was little air between these two teams for all six chukkas, with both squads eager to register a win on the opening day of this new 22-goal tournament. The Vikings had a narrow, 6-5 lead at half-time but this was still anyone’s game. Both Sebastian Merlos and Facundo Sola made the most of any opportunities when they were given space but their great efforts just cancelled each other out. It was also a fairly feisty game with several yellow cards and Cubi Toccalino being sent to the “sin bin” for two minutes in the closing minutes of the fourth chukka. Despite being a man down, Monterosso, who were trailing at this point 7-6, managed to level the scores with Sola successfully converting a penalty three.
Merlos started the fifth with lovely goal to put the Vikings ahead once more but the rest of this chukka belonged to Monterosso. They managed to put some air in the scoreline (10-8), with Cubi and Sola successfully converting penalties. Many might have thought this was the moment that Monterosso would pull away but the Vikings had written a different script. Juan Martin Zubia, who is always an impressive penalty taker, first converted a 30-yard penalty. Then some great team-work from Merlos, Zubia and Mackenzie enabled the Vikings to level the score again, 10-10. Then with 90 seconds left on the clock Zubia converted his second penalty of this chukka, a 60-yarder, to give the Vikings the edge. Despite some frantic play neither team could add to their tally and Vikings won the day.
This is the first time Guards Polo Club has hosted 22-goal tournament in August and the first game did not disappoint. Five, 22-goal teams have entered this new tournament in its inaugural year and it aims to deliver some top quality sport over the next 19 days. The tournament is sponsored by Talacrest, a classic Ferrari specialist owned by former high-goal player John Collins, and all matches are being filmed live at Guards TV.
Tomorrow: Bardon Polo Team v Park Place on The Queen’s Ground at 3.30pm.