La Indiana Finally Wins The Cartier Queen’s Cup
Sunday, June 17th marked a very important day in the English, and international, polo calendar, it was the final of the most sought-after of polo tournaments, the Cartier Queen’s Cup, played at Guards Polo Club in Windsor, on the Queen’s ground and in front of the Queen. Doesn’t get more prestigious than that!
I flew in from Denmark early that morning to witness the grand final and I was shaking with excitement, or possibly shivering from the cold. Team La Indiana has been a favorite of mine for many years, since the patron is Michael Bickford, one of the very first people I met in polo, back in 2010. Not to mention that they are an awesome and tough team, who have made it to the final of both the Queen’s and the Gold cup the past two years, but always fell just a little short and lost by one or two goals. Especially last year I was devastated at how Cambiaso stole the ball and scored in the last seconds of regulation play.
La Indiana: Michael Bickford (1), Nic Roldan (7), Facundo Pieres (10), Alec White (4)
Playing against La Indiana was Park Place, a new team in the high goal, that came in with thundering hooves and stole the show. Their patron is Andrey Borodin, and he only just started playing polo a few years ago, but with lots of determination (and a fat wallet) he has come a long way with his bright blue team, all the way to the final.
Park Place Polo: Andrey Borodin (0), Juan Britos (7), Hilario Ulloa (10), Tommy Beresford (5)
The match was initiated by the traditional marching band and player announcements and the first chukker was slow and choppy, nerves were high and many mistakes were made. One mistake ended with Hilario Ulloa on the ground after being slammed into by Alec White. But he was back up within minutes and they were awarded a penalty which Juan Britos expertly converted into a goal. Juan Britos is the top scorer of the Queen’s cup, with a staggering 35 goals scored!
The second chukker wasn’t much fun either, especially in the tense moments after Nic Roldan crashed into Andrey Borodin and the man in the yellow helmet flew off his horse and had to be taken away by the ambulance (he is ok, nothing broke, just a fright and when anything in the neck or back hurts you get off and have it checked out). Borodin was replaced by a young Charlie Tighe, who plays for Park Place in other tournaments. Nic was sent out for 2 minutes, but his 3 team mates held up the fort and no Park Place goals were scored. The two 10-goalers on the field got a goal in each and evened it out at 2 goals a piece by the end of the second chukker.
Things started to heat up in the third chukker, Park Place saw goals from Tommy, Hilario and Juan and La Indiana answered with only two goals, one of which was scored by Michael.
Half time was all about checking out HM the Queen and trying to get a picture with her in the background. Usually She arrives only after half time, but because of the two falls at the beginning of the match, everything had been delayed and She arrived during the third chukker.
The scores evened out in the 5th and throughout the 6th chukker it was a nail-biter, it could go either way, with only minutes remaining on the clock the score was even at 7. Facu got another goal in and shortly after Park Place was awarded a penalty, which Juan Britos shot to try and even out the score and go into overtime, but Facundo Pieres defended it like a machine, literally just picked a flying ball (bullet) out of the air and then continued to the other end of the field and put in another goal for good measure. 9-7 was the final score and La Indiana could finally pick up that trophy they had been fighting for, for years.
The trophy ceremony was what everyone was waiting for, as Her Majesty The Queen of England herself, along with Laurent Feniou presented these talented polo players with Cartier gifts and the trophies.
First was the finalists of the Subsidiary cup, where Emlor had taken the win that morning.
La Indiana was all smiles as they shook HM’s hand and received their prizes (a Cartier watch). Facundo Pieres received the Most Valuable Player award, and his mare Cube was the Best Playing Pony of the match.
I had a quick little chat with Michael (aka screamed with excitement at him) and he was just beaming with joy.
Then it was time for the afterparty in the clubhouse and the Cartier tent, for those lucky enough to get an invite, I assume mine got lost in the mail 😉 But I did enjoy myself catching up with friends from all over in the clubhouse.