Facundo Pieres Shines,
Zacara wins Queen’s Cup
Story by Alex Webbe
Photographs - Hugo Burnand for Cartier
What was brewing up to be a showdown between Pelon Stirling and Facundo Pieres in Sunday’s finals of the 2013 Cartier Queen’s Cup finals at the Guards Polo Club in London turned into the Facundo Pieres show. Pieres scored eleven times leading Zacara to a convincing 15-9 win over an out-gunned El Remanso quartet.
El Remanso (Ali Patterson, George Hanbury, Guillermo Terrera and Pelon Stirling) got off to a quick start, scoring the first goal of the game on a 30-yard penalty conversion from Guillermo Terrera, 1-0. Pelon Stirling put el Remanso on top 2-0 with a goal from the field. Facundo Pieres got Zacara (Facundo Pieres, Lyndon Lea, Rodrigo Andrade and Matt Perry) on the scoreboard to close the chukker trailing El Remanso, 2-1.
Terrera took advantage of a dropped ball by Matt Perry in the second, scoring to extend the lead to 3-1, El Remanso, but that was when Pieres got fully into the game. A fifty-yard neck shot through the el Remanso goal posts was followed by a 60-yard penalty conversion by Pieres. At the end of the second chukker it was all even at 3-3.
Pieres gave Zacara their first lead of the game with a 60-yard penalty shot to open the scoring in the third period, 4-3. A streaking Rodrigo Andrade was on the scoring end of a Pieres pass to make it 5-3, and another neck shot from Pieres had Zacara in the lead 6-3. Stirling scored on a 30-yard penalty shot, 6-4, but Zacara fired right back. Pieres drove toward the El Remanso goal, leaving the ball for a trailing Andrade who converted for a score, 7-4. A 40-yard penalty goal from Stirling kept El Remanso in it, but they continued to trail, 7-5. With time running out in the chukker, Pieres made a 100-yard plus run down the field to score with 20 seconds left in regulation time for the 8-5 halftime lead.
Both defenses tightened up in the second half. Long drives and well-executed defensive shots kept the chukker scoreless until Pieres managed to score his seventh goal of the day for a 9-5 Zacara edge.
Fifth chukker action got underway with Pieres having a 60-yard penalty shot blocked followed by a rarely missed Safety. An impressive individual effort by Terrera cut the lead back to three goals, but the relief was only temporary. Matt Perry converted a pass from Pieres, followed by a pair of penalty goals from Facundo for a 12-6 led. With one minute on the clock, Stirling scored the final goal of the chukker. Zacara continued to dominate, 12-7.
Opening the final chukker on a short field, Andrade scored for the third time to stretch the Zacara lead to six goals, 13-7. A Zacara foul put Stirling on the penalty line where he scored from 30-yards away, 13-8, but Pieres responded with another goal from the field, 14-8. A 60-yard penalty conversion did little to rally the El Remanso team as Pieres closed out the game by stealing a clearing effort by Stirling in front of the El Remanso goal, and scored for the 15-9 final score.
Photograph - Tim Griffiths
Pieres led all scoring with eleven goals (seven from the field). Andrade contributed excellent defense and support for Pieres as well as three goals from the field. Stirling led the El Remanso attack with six goals (three on penalty shots). Terrera accounted for the remaining three goals in the loss.
Pieres was named MVP for his efforts and his horse, Galactica, was honored as Best Playing Pony. The Cartier Queen’s Cup win is the first for Zacara, and comes on the heels of the team’s Maserati US Open win in April at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida.