It’s a given that no one can outplay Adolfo Cambiaso—except Cambiaso himself. Leading RH Polo’s 15-7 death brigade over Murus Sanctus in the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup, he pulled a doozy in the fifth chukka of Sunday’s game at Cowdray Park Polo Club. In a move that was remarkable even for the world’s top polo player, Cambiaso scored four times in rapid succession on nearly full-field runs at supersonic speed. Fellow 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa, himself mounted on ultra-fast horses, must have felt his teeth rattling as the Cambiaso bullet train roared by.
RH Polo missed only two shots the entire game, and it didn’t take long for them to establish their dominance. After a slow start with Murus Sanctus up 2-1 at the end of the first chukka, Cambiaso and company took over the controls. It was a merciless slaughter, as Facundo Sola soon found. Just as he’d take off on a run, he’d find himself ensnared by three black jerseys (although Sola did manage to thwart them twice and score).
An anxious Murus Sanctus repeatedly found themselves on the wrong side of the umpire’s whistle—and found that to be costly. Cambiaso had decided before the game that he would take the penalty 3s and 4s and leave the 2s to Tommy Beresford, who at 21 has proven himself a crack this season. Beresford had another strong game, finishing 4/4 from the penalty line, and RH Polo ended the day with a perfect shot record from the line, compared to Murus Sanctus’ 67%.
Having a slower game with more fouls (19 total) played vastly in favor of RH Polo in another key way: It helped slow down the onslaught that can normally be expected from Ulloa and Sola, who excel when allowed to play their fast-paced brand of polo. This time their opponent forced them to slap the gearshift down, preventing Murus Sanctus from generating enough scoring chances to keep up offensively.
RH Polo were 3 goals to the good at the start of the fifth chukka (8-5), shutting out Murus Sanctus the entire chukka and stretching the gap to 7 goals (12-5). Murus Sanctus only managed to make 2 more goals the rest of the match.
Cambiaso, game high-scorer with 7 goals, turned Cowdray lawn 2 into a stick-and-ball field for the duration of the game. He and Rodrigo Andrade took turns practicing an array of shots that were cool to watch but not necessarily required at the moment, with Andrade easily notching the last three goals for RH Polo.
Cambiaso would have you believe it was all in a day’s work, and for him maybe it was. After the game the master of nonchalance shrugged off his performance, saying he was “just trying to do my best for the team.” This time he knew that would be more critical than ever, as RH Polo desperately needed to recover from their stinging loss to Monterosso last week. When asked how his team had prepared to win Sunday, Cambiaso said with a wry smile, “It wasn’t really that. I think it was more that we were scared to lose.”
All 2017 Gold Cup games are being live streamed on pololine.tv by polocam.tv
Full game schedule can be found here.
Photography by Snoopy Productions