Oxford Polo braved the blistering heat in Dubai on Good Friday, emerging victorious over Cambridge to secure the esteemed Gaucho Cup title in a match that was closely-fought to the last. The Cup constitutes a highlight of the British Polo Day; a celebration of the friendship between Britain and the Emirates which features teams from our most iconic institutions. In addition to Oxford and Cambridge, the prestigious Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club played host to Eton, Harrow, Calvary, Guards, and British Army teams.
Our formidable Dark Blue line-up comprised OUPC Captain George Allen (St Benet’s) and James Lindsay (Brasenose), alongside Argentinians Marco Focaccia and Pissa. But Cambridge also put forward an impressive side, and in the first chukka Oxford struggled to contain their 4-goal professional Maxi Macalza. Despite excellent through-balls from Focaccia and Lindsay, Allen was intercepted on goal and fired another wide and as Cambridge took a 2-0 lead, things were looking bleak for Oxford.
It was in the second and third chukkas that Oxford really excelled, shutting down the Light Blue attack and notching up 3 goals, with Allen running in an impressive pass by Focaccia. As the bell went for the third chukka, the score was tied 3 a piece and the crowd were on the edge of their seats.
In the final chukka, Lindsay made a superb run, only to have the ball wrestled from him inside the 30-yard line. Cambridge took the lead once more, but we responded with another. In a nail-biting final 30 seconds, the Tabs gave away a stonewall 30-yard penalty which Focaccia converted, and the bell ended the match just after the restart. Though an excruciatingly tight match, Oxford’s final 5-4 victory was testament to their balanced and cohesive team and smart tactical play.
Said James Lindsay, “It was a good result, since we certainly weren’t playing at our best”, and George Allen commented that it “set a good precedent going into the Varsity match next term”.
With this triumph under our belts, OUPC looks forward to an action-packed Trinity term, including the University Tournament in China, Summer Cuppers and of course the much-anticipated Jack Wills Varsity Day.