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The Lucchese Polo Team is currently stationed at Guards Polo Club in England, where it is competing in the Cartier Queen's Cup for the first time ever. Follow this post to keep up with the players' success; we will be updating the team's progress after each match with highlights, videos, photos and the exciting personal accounts of patron and player John Muse.
Saturday, May 31st: Lucchese v. Cortium Sport (11-10)
Lucchese fans are delighted as the team moves on to the quarterfinals after a close match against Cortium. “This was a real battle, with the lead swapping between the teams throughout the match,” reports Polo Line. “Lucchese were looking for their third win — they have played brilliantly in their debut year — and were probably pre match favorites to win this game. Meanwhile, Cortium were eager to keep their chances alive and are no strangers to close games.”
Muse’s firsthand account: "Our last match was against Cortium, a very balanced team with three 7-goal players and a very experienced sponsor, Adrian Kirby (a 1-goal sponsor whose team won the Gold Cup in 2012). Coming into the match, both teams were very motivated to win. Cortium had 1 loss and 1 win, and Lucchese had 2 wins and 1 loss. A win for us assured us a spot in the quarterfinals, while a win for them was needed to stay in the hunt.
The match was very close from beginning to end. The lead changed hands several times, and there was never more than a 2 goal difference. The game was very fast and called very tight by umpires, creating a lot of penalty shots. Nico Pieres was not as accurate on the penalties as the last game against Black Bears, and we finished a low scoring first half down 4-3.
The second half was very close in the fourth and fifth chukkers, but with more goals scored by each team from the field. By the middle of the sixth, we captured the lead and held on until time expired for a 1 goal win."
Score Lucchese: 2-2, 5-4, 7-5, 9-7, 10-8, 11-10
Tuesday, May 27th: Lucchese v. Black Bears (10-9)
Lucchese is proving itself a strong contender and edging its way toward the quarterfinals with a win against Black Bears. Despite the "mental lapses" Muse says the team experienced, PoloZone reported that by the end of the match, "Lucchese continued to press and the Black Bears continued to give up ill-timed penalties. Pieres scored consecutive penalty shots to put Lucchese in the lead by two goals, 10-8. Black Bears fought to get back into the game, but time was running out. Black Bears were awarded a penalty shot that Clarkin walked through the goal posts, 10-9, but that would be the final score of the game as Lucchese celebrated the 10-9 win."
Muse's firsthand account: "We played on their field, so they had an advantage; Black Bears have one of the biggest and most experienced organizations in polo, backed by Swiss banker Schwartzenbach, with his son Guy on 2-goals — one of the highest rated amateurs in the tournament. I flew back in the morning of the match from a wedding in the States, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Our first half in this match was a disaster. We had a number of mental lapses on the throw-ins which led to three breakaway goals, were unlucky on some penalties called and were losing by 6-2 at half time. We regrouped at halftime, and I told my teammates we needed to mark our man better and just play the rest of the match minute-by-minute and chukker-by-chukker. We responded with 3 unanswered goals in the fourth chukker and pulled even in the fifth. The lead changed hands several times at the end of the fifth and throughout the sixth to win by 1. Nico's penalty shooting in the second half was perfect, but everyone did their part, and I held the 2-goal sponsor to no goals.
Great win, and we proved that we could over come adversity. After our match, we went to Coworth and watched Talandracas, the team we beat in our first match, beat UAE (who we lost to in our second match) by one goal. That will give you a flavor of the level of the competition and how close the outcomes are of each match in our bracket."
Score Lucchese: 1-2, 1-3, 2-6, 5-6, 8-8, 10-9. Watch the full match above.
Saturday, May 24th: UAE Polo Team v. Lucchese (14-13)
Lucchese played a neck-and-neck game against UAE, with each team exchanging goals from the second chukker on.
UAE had a 9-8 halftime lead, but PoloZine reports, “A refocused Lucchese team took the field in the fourth chukker, outscoring UAE three goals to two and tying the game up at 11-11.” Even so, “UAE regrouped for the fifth chukker and shut down Nico Pieres and the Lucchese attack. UAE scored two goals of their own, however, and moved in front by two goals, 13-11. Lucchese staged a mini-rally in the sixth and final chukker, but came up on the short end of the 14-13 score.”
16-year-old Kian Hall played in place of UAE patron Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum. Like Lucchese, this is UAE’s debut outing at the Queen’s Cup.
Muse's firsthand account: "Once again we were up against two highly rated player in Pablo McDonough on 10-goals and Lucas Monteverde on 8-goals, with Ollie Cudmore an underrated 4-goal English player. The sheik of the United Arab Emirates is the most prolific breeder of thoroughbreds in the world is sponsoring the team, so you can imagine how well funded and mounted they are.
The sheik did not play in the first match, so I was against an underrated young English amateur. This is a match that could have gone either way, with each team never having more than a 2 goal lead. Their 4-goal player, Ollie Cudmore, had an unbelievable game against us, and we had some defensive lapses in the fifth chukker when they built a two goal lead. We fought back in the sixth chukker but ran out of time and lost by one goal."
Score UAE: 4-3, 7-6, 9-8, 11-11, 13-11, 14-13. Watch the full match above.
Wednesday, May 21st: Lucchese v. Talandracas (11-10)
Lucchese, patroned by Texan John Muse, met 2011 Queen's Cup champions, Talandracas. Lucchese took the lead in the second chukka and kept it the entirety of the game. The team's win was an impressive one, as explained by Hurlingham Polo Magazine:
"They caused something of an upset to the form guide as they defeated one of the three seeded teams in the competition — Edouard Carmignac’s Talandracas team — 11-10 in a close game at Coworth Park. Featuring Nico Pieres, Luke Tomlinson and Lucas James, Lucchese took the lead in the second chukka and retained this position for the remainder of the game."
Muse's firsthand account: "We were matched against one of the top seeded teams in the tournament, led by Juan Martin Nero on 10-goals and Polito Pieres (cousin of Nico) on 9-goals and Santiago Stirling on 4-goals, although he is rated 5-goals in Spain. They won the Queen's Cup in 2012. Our balanced team led this match the entire way by 1 to 2 goals, finishing with a win by 1. Nico and Lucas led the way with great passing and goal scoring, with Luke and I defending their attacks."
Score Lucchese: 2-2, 5-4, 7-5, 9-7, 10-8, 11-10. Watch the full match above.
Tuesday, May 13th: The draw
The draw for this 22-goal competition took place at Guards Polo Club, and the first matches began a week later on May 20th. The final will be played at Guards Polo Club on Sunday June 15th, historically played in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.
|League One||League Two||League Three|
|El Remanso||Black Bears||Enigma|
|Twelve Oaks||Cortium Sport||HB Polo|
|Fox & Hounds||UAE Polo||Sifani|
Lucchese team roster
John Muse, born and bred Texan and current Chairman of Lucchese Bootmaker, became interested in polo when he moved to England for business in 1998. As a lifelong athlete and equine enthusiast, Muse’s polo appreciation soon elevated from spectator to player while learning and playing club chukkers at the Ascot Park Polo Club in Berkshire, England. Three years later as a patron, he began playing at the medium goal level. ...