Semifinals at Santa Maria Polo Club

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Yesterday was a day of tumultuous excitement at the Santa Maria Polo Club in Sotogrande, where the teams had to give it their all to win in their respective games and thus make it on to the finals of the Cartier Polo Gold Cup this Sunday, August 28th.

The first match saw Ayala (Iñigo Zobel 0, Jack Hyde 3, Facundo Pieres 10, Nicolas Pieres 9) play against Brunei (Bahar Jeffri 1, Pablo McDonough 10, Josh Cork 1, David “Pelon” Stirling 10). The seemingly telepathic synergy between brothers Facundo and Nicolas Pieres made for some great plays, in true team spirit. The first half of the game was entirely theirs, as the third chukker ended Ayala 8 vs Brunei 4.

Ayala vs Brunei

Ayala vs Brunei

Facundo Pieres changing horses and a little fanclub ran down to get a closer look.

Facundo Pieres changing horses and a little fanclub ran down to get a closer look.

Brunei regathered their energy and fought back in the second half, evening out the score in the last minute of the sixth chukker. A smooth swoop of the ball followed by a runaway and goal by the stick of Nicolas Pieres secured team Ayala’s spot in the final on Sunday.

Nico Pieres making a run for it to score the final goal

Nico Pieres making a run for it to score the final goal

Facundo Pieres was happy and relieved to have won tough that match, as he told me in a mini interview.

Cecilie and I enjoyed watching from the tribunes whilst quenching our thirsts with G&T’s, how cute are those mini mallet swizzle sticks!

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The second match of the featured the greats of Dubai and Lechuza Caracas. I have mentioned these team names before, as they also played against each other in the US Open, this is a fun part of polo, that the teams travel with the season. They might have changed their composition of players according to the handicap level of each tournament, but some main parts stay the same and this is also why we see players be teammates in one tournament and the oppositions in the next.

The Dubai team always consists of team patron Rashid Albwardy (2 handicap) and his trusted team captain, the best polo player in the world, Adolfo Cambiaso (10 handicap). In Sotogrande they have added Alejo Taranco (6 handicap) and Santiago Stirling (4 handicap). To read more about handicaps click here.

Rashid Albwardy always recognizable with his bright blue helmet

Rashid Albwardy always recognizable with his bright blue helmet

 

Dubai were up against Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas 1, Julian de Lusaretta 6, Juan Martin Nero 10, Juan Jauretche 5) and the first half was very even, with both teams scoring few but steady goals.

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The second half Dubai brought out some horses, which had not played the last match and were therefore well rested, this gave them the extra horsepower to fully dominate the second half and win 12-5 over their opponents.

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Meanwhile on the sidelines I ran into my friend Malcolm Borwick, We keep bumping in to each other all over the world, from Prince Harry’s Charity Polo in Palm Beach to La Martina events in London and it is always fun to catch up.

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This time he introduced me to how whisky can actually taste really good. Ok, I might not have tasted really good whisky before, making it the fault in my whisky experience so far, but a small glass of 21 year old Royal Salute with just a bit of water made it a very pleasant experience, with a subtle after taste of honey.

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The  final on Sunday should be very exciting, when Ayala and Dubai will meet each other to battle it out on the field and determine the winners of the 2016 Copa de Oro Cartier in the INDI 45 Torneo Internacional at Santa Maria Polo Club! The match will be live streamed on the club website! Who will you guys be rooting for? Let me know in the comments field below.

Have you red about my experience learning to play polo at Polo Valley in Sotogrande? It was an absolute dream! I just uploaded the vlog for you guys to see how amazing it was.

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