It was a fierce battle of four teams today in Gstaad, and while Hublot and Clinique La Prairie came out on top in the semi-finals, the war is not yet won. Tomorrow’s final will determine the ultimate champions, and with both teams boasting world class athletes of horses and players alike the outcome is not easily predicted. One thing that is for sure is it will be a thrilling game.
The two teams that were victorious in Thursday’s qualifying matches affirmed their winning status today in front of almost 2,000 spectators who were gathered at the edge of the Gstaad Airfield. With ideal footing today, players (and especially their horses) were able to make bolder efforts on the field.
In the 1st semi-final, the Argentinian handicap 7, Julio Novillo Astrada, was the standout player, scoring 4 of the team’s 6 goals to the satisfaction of his American captain, Marco Elser. However, Gstaad Palace didn’t make things easy for Hublot especially in the second period, where they scored three consecutive goals and took the lead with 3-2. But Novillo Astrid, true to his handicap rank, took the game back for Hublot in the following period with long passes down the field and securing two more goals. He kept control of the match until the final shot (6-3).
The 2nd semi-final saw Clinique La Prairie determined to eliminate the two-time title winner, Banque Eric Sturdza. With strong organization from handicap 6 Lucas Labat, Clinique La Prairie dominated the game from start to finish.
Clinique La Prairie – Hublot, this will be the poster of the 24th final, with Sunday promising a crowd worthy of the match.
Progression Hublot : 2-0 / 2-3 / 5-3 & 6/3
Hublot : Marco Elser (ITA, h0), Marcos Antinori (ITA, h3, 1 goal), Nicola Antinori (ITA, h4, 1 goal) and Julio Novillo Astrada (ARG, h7, 4 goals)
Gstaad Palace : Gerardo Cosentino (LIE, h0), Ismael Iraizoz (ARG, h3), Santiago Schweizer (ARG, h5, 1 goal) and Franco Gai (ARG, h6, 2 goals)
Progression Clinique la Prairie : 2-1 ½ / 4-1 ½ / 5-2 ½ & 8-4 ½
Clinique la Prairie : Piero Dillier (SUI, h0), Andreas Bihrer (SUI, h0) Bautista Beguerie (ARG, h4, 3 goals), Juan Manuel Gonzales (ARG, h4, 3 goals) and Lucas Labat (ARG, h6, 2 goals)
Banque Eric Sturdza : Cedric Schweri (SUI, h0), Bautista Riglos (ARG, h3, 1 goal), Marcelo Pascual (ARG, h5, 1 goal) and Joan Novaes (BRE, h5, 2 goals)