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Tue 22nd May 2018

Win For HB La Forge

The La Martina Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Centenary Trophy

The wonderful English sunshine which had bathed the Royal Wedding in Windsor the day before was once again out in its full glory on Sunday 20 May. With a great feel good factor still very much in the air, it was a wonderful atmosphere at Guards Polo Club on The Queen’s Ground as HB La Forge took on King Power in the Final of the La Martina Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Centenary Trophy, which is the first 15 goal tournament of the season and has been sponsored by La Martina since 2008.

Medium goal in the UK is booming this season and a healthy entry of 16 teams (up from 14 in 2017) is a good barometer of polo’s health in the UK. The tournament which began on 4 May has seen just over two weeks of tough competition resulting in Sifani and Park Place being pipped to the post at the Semi Finals.
With Sebastien Pailloncy playing very well off 3 goals and no patron on the King Power team taking part, there were two evenly balanced teams facing each other which made for a free-flowing and enjoyable match. However, it was a game of thrills and spills with Pallioncy having a fall at the end of the first chukka which saw him replaced at half time by Ralph Richardson and the young Marcus Cork also having a fall in the fourth.
Having missed out in the Semi Finals last year playing as HB Polo, this time around HB La Forge came out of the traps with determination to win, with Mark Tomlinson deftly finding the posts within the first minute of play. The HB boys were in control of the first chukka which ended with a 3-1 lead, but this head start was eroded with great play from King Power and as the half-time bell sounded it was all to play for with both teams at three goals apiece. During the third and fourth chukkas it was hard to call the eventual winners as each goal was matched and as the clock ticked down to the dying seconds of the fourth chukka it was indeed too close to call with the score at 6 goals each. An extra, overtime chukka was on the cards.
As the deciding fifth chukka started, the spectators did not have long to wait for the deciding goal, as Richard Tyrone provided the perfect set-up for Tomlinson to seal the deal for HB La Forge with a final score of 6-7.
Fresh from his Prince of Wales Trophy and Most Valuable Player award from the previous day, Juan Martín Zubía was once again recognised for his superb play for King Power, winning the Most Valuable Player Award, whilst King Power’s X9, played by Marcos Di Paola won the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug.
La Martina’s Royal Box guests, enjoyed a delicious lunch and tea skilfully crafted by Mosimann's, the official caterers at Guards, who had also catered for the Royal Wedding evening reception the night before.
The La Martina Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Centenary Trophy Teams:
HB La Forge (15): Luke Wiles (1), Sebastien Pailloncy (3) – substituted by Ralph Richardson, Richard Tyrone (5) & Mark Tomlinson (6)
King Power (15): Marcus Cork (1), Ned Hine (1), Juan Martín Zubía (6) & Marcos Di Paola (7)
Photograph: HB La Forge won the match in an extra time fifth chukka. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com

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