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Saturday's British Open coverage


Black Bears and King Power win, in quarterfinals

By Alex Webbe

The Black Bears (Guy Schwarzenbach, Facundo Sola, John Paul Clarkin and Patrick O’Dwyer) looked in the opening chukker as they ran up a 4-0 lead on a beleaguered HB Polo foursome (Ludovic Pailloncy, Ignacio Toccalino, Pite Merlos and Sebastien Pailloncy). A pair of penalty goals from Facundo Sola and single goals from the field from John Paul Clarkin and Patrick O’Dwyer went unanswered with the Black Bears looking to make it three wins in a row and assure themselves of a quarterfinal berth in the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open.

HB Polo was up to the challenge and returned to the field focused and ready to play. This time it was HB Polo who held the upper hand. Ignacio Toccalino scored the first goal of the chukker, and it opened the floodgates. Three more HB Polo goals were combined with shutout defense and at the end of the second period it was all even at 4-4.

Seven more goals were scored in the third as the offense took over. Three goals from HB Polo were countered by four goals from the Black Bears. At the end of the first half, the Black Bears held on to a tenuous one goal lead, 8-7.

An injured riding muscle sidelined Black Bears 8-goaler Facundo Sola, with Polito Pieres being recruited from the sidelines allowing the Black Bears to press on. HB Polo proved that they weren’t through, and they provided proof of it in the second half. Three fourth chukker goals from HB Polo put them back in the lead, 10-9. The Black Bears were held to a single goal.

The momentum shifted once again in the fifth period. A penalty goal from Pieres was followed by a goal from the field from team captain Guy Schwarzenbach. A diligent Black Bears defense kept HB Polo off of the scoreboard and gave a narrow 11-10 advantage with one chukker left in regulation play.

The Black Bears got themselves into foul trouble as the sixth chukker got underway; with Toccalino converting two attempts for goals and giving HB Polo back the lead, 12-11. Pite Merlos took the ball from the throw-in and scored another goal for HB Polo, 13-11, in what looked like an insurance goal as time was running out on the Black Bears. Pieres then took the ensuing throw-in and replicated the Merlos effort to bring the Black Bears to within a goal, 13-12. With a minute on the clock, the Black Bears turned aside an HB Polo attack that had Pieres racing in the opposite direction where he scored the tying goal, 13-13. The Black Bears continued to press, forcing an HB Polo foul and a 60-yard penalty shot to Black Bears. With less than a minute left in the chukker Pieres converted the shot and gave the Black Bears their third win against no losses and assured them of a quarterfinal playoff position. The loss dropped HB Polo to 1-2 and made their chances of making the quarterfinals difficult.


Facundo Pieres wasn’t the only 10-goaler in the family that was making noises in the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open. His older brother, Gonzalito Pieres, was making some noise of his own as he piloted King Power (“Top” Srivaddhanaprabha, Pablo Llorente, Gonzalito Pieres and Marcos di Paola) to their third consecutive win and a quarterfinal berth.

King Power team captain “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha entered the contest as the highest-scoring amateur in the tournament with an impressive seven goals in the last two games, and he did little to tarnish his reputation as he scored the opening goal against El Rosario (Alejandro Penafiel, Salvador Ulloa, Francisco Elizalde and Rob Archibald) and added two more for the win.

Srivaddhanaprabha scored the first goal of the game as King Power rode out to an early 3-1 lead. Francisco Elizalde converted a penalty shot for El Rosario’s only goal.

Four more second chukker goals saw Pieres score twice from the field and once on a 60-yard penalty shot. Tomas Garbarini (substituting for the injured Pablo Llorente) added a goal as King Power extended their lead to five goals, 7-2. Salvador Ulloa scored on a penalty shot for El Rosario’s only goal of the period.

Elizalde and Pieres exchanged penalty conversions in the third, with Garbarini and Archibald (in the closing seconds of the chukker) adding goals from the field for their respective teams. King Power retained their five goal lead at the end of the first half of play, 9-4.

Led by an offensive punch from Elizalde, El Rosario came alive in the fourth chukker. Four goals went unanswered. King Power’s five goal lead had suddenly been reduced to one, with two chukkers left in the game.

King Power righted the ship in the fifth. Putting together a shutout chukker and three goals from the field (two from Srivaddhanaprabha and a goal from Pieres), King Power was back in the lead, 12-8.

The two teams traded goals in the final chukker, each scoring twice for the 14-10 King Power victory.

British Open play continues at 3PM on Sunday with Halcyon Gallery (George Hanbury, Mark Tomlinson, James Beim and James Harper) meeting EFG Bank Aravali (Jaime Garcia Huidobro, Alejandro Muzzio, Joaquin Pittaluga and Celine Charloux).