By International Polo Club Palm Beach
Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Alastair Paterson, Adolfo Cambiaso and Diego Cavanagh) - and King Power (“Top” Srivaddhanaprabha, Pablo Llorente, Gonzalito Pieres and Marcos di Paola), rode into the final of the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship as the only two undefeated teams in competition with perfect 6-0 records.
Dubai put the initial pressure on King Power, with Rashid Albwardy scoring the first goal of the game, 1-0. The pace continued to escalate, but solid defensive work by both sides kept the scoring at a minimum. Gonzalito Pieres tied it up on a 40-yard penalty shot to end the chukker in a 1-1 deadlock.
A stop and go second chukker left a number of uncompleted plays and a handful of whistles by the umpires. Five goals were scored, all coming on penalty shots (two from Pieres and three from Cavanagh) with Dubai taking a 4-3 lead.
Dubai stretched their lead to two goals in the third, scoring three more goals while limiting the King Power attack to single goals from Pablo Llorente and Marcos di Paola. Dubai’s Cavanagh scored once from the field and once on a 60-yard penalty shot. Adolfo Cambiaso scored his first goal of the game as Dubai took the halftime lead, 7-5.
Cambiaso and Cavanagh added goals in the fourth to give Dubai a three goal lead, 9-6. Pieres scored King Power’s only goal of the chukker on a shot from the field.
A 30-yard penalty conversion by Cavanagh had Dubai on top, 10-6 when 10-goaler Pieres exploded for four consecutive goals (the first on a penalty shot, the rest from the field) to level the score at 10-10. Cavanagh put Dubai back in the lead, 11-10, on a penalty shot that ended the fifth. Dubai continued to lead, but King Power was trailing by a single goal and breathing down their necks.
Cambiaso took the opening throw-in of the sixth chukker down the field for a goal, 12-10, and Cavanagh converted a 60-yard penalty shot moments later for a 13-10 lead, late in the game. King Power continued to battle, picking up a goal on a well-placed neck shot from Llorente, but Dubai controlled the balance of the game, riding off with the 13-11 victory.
Cavanagh led all scoring with nine goals, seven coming on penalty conversions. Cambiaso scored three times and team captain Albwardy added a goal for the win. Pieres set the pace for the King Power offense with eight goals, earning him the scoring title for this year’s British Open with a total of 48 goals. Adolfo Cambiaso Dolfina Primicia (played in the second and sixth chukkers) received Best Playing Pony honours.
Photo by Pablo Ramirez