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Zedan claim Julius Baer Gold Cup for third big success in as many years

16/03/2017
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THE JULIUS BAER GOLD CUP lived up to its billing as the most prestigious trophy of the Middle East polo season as Zedan and Julius Baer fought tooth and nail to deliver a sensational final match that ended 10-8 in favour of Zedan. The team, made up of patron Amr Zedan, Martin Gandara, Octavio Olmedo and ten goaler superstar Pablo Mac Donough had to dig deep after being given a run for their money in the five chukka final where daylight appeared between the two only at the end of the third chukka. Zedan had won the 2015 Julius Baer Gold Cup and knew the final would be anything but a walk in the park especially since they had been pitted against a strong Julius Baer side comprising Mohammed Al Habtoor, Tomas Beresford, Juan Zubiaurre and Nicolas Pieres.

Both teams had made it to the showpiece match after tough semifinal games at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. Julius Baer booked their spot following an exciting 9-8 success over Abu Dhabi, while Zedan claimed their berth having edged Bin Drai 7-6 in extra time. Zedan and Julius Baer shared the spoils at the end of the first two chukkas which ended 1-1 and 4-4 respectively, but the former changed gears midway through the game and scored two more goals in the third period to snatch the advantage at 7-5. For once, in the third chukka, Zedan failed to outscore Julius Baer and with each scoring an identical two goals, the fourth ended at 9-7.

The teams then failed to buck the even scoring trend in the fifth and final chukka and each scored once to finish the game at 10-8. This trophy marked the third big prize in as many seasons for Zedan, who had followed up their 2015 Julius Baer Gold Cup success with victory in the 2016 McLaren Silver Cup. Octavio Olmedo was adjudged MVP of the final and Gete Pintura, played by Pablo Mac Donough in the second and fourth chukkas, was declared the Best Playing Pony. Habtoor Al Habtoor, patron of the Wolves team, turned out to be the amateur top scorer, while the professional top scorer honour was scooped up by Mac Donough.

The subsidiary Bentley Cup final was won by Mahra, comprising patron Rashid Al Habtoor, Isidro Strada, Juan Ruiz Guinazu and Jeronimo del Carril, who beat Wolves 11-8 in another exciting final earlier in the day. Mahra were 3-1 up at the end of the first period, but Wolves fought back to make it 3-3. Four unanswered goals in the third chukka saw Mahra storming clear at 7-3, but despite Wolves trying to make a game of it and scoring twice as much as their rivals in the fourth period, Mahra stayed ahead at 9-7. Another big scoring run in the final chukka saw the winners close out the game at 11-8.

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