July 17th, 2012 Add comment
Polito Pieres: "We had the luck of the champions"
Exclusive interview with LivingPolo following his recent and historic performance at Cowdray
The Gold Cup is one of the most important successes for Pablo Pieres.
LivingPolo: You gave yourself a birthday present beforehand!
Pablo Pieres: "Yes, yes, and in a week I'm going to continue celebrating, ha ha".
This is how the conversation began with Pablo Pieres, who in a week's time will be 26 years old, and who last Sunday scored three consecutive goals in the dying minutes of the final of the British Open, allowing the Cortium team to win the final of one of the world's leading polo tournaments, after having been losing by two goals towards the end. His team ended up winning 10-9 against El Remanso in what was a real cliff-hanger.
Pablo, cousin of Facundo, Gonzalo and Nicolás Pieres, was chosen as MVP of the final at Cowdray Park Polo Club in this, his first participation in the Gold Cup, and despite already having made a name for himself in the world of polo, even himself was surprised by the outcome: "If at the beginning of the season we would have been told that we would win the Gold Cup, we wouldn't have believed it, no member of the team and no one in the world would have believed it, this was one of the most important successes of my career."
"The fact is that I'm very happy, we knew the final would be very tough going. I think they (El Remanso) were more the favourites for success, as this was the first year of our team (Cortium) and my first season in England, I don't even have my own horses here. Little by little we were winning matches. And at one moment, when we reached the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, we began to have more self-confidence and we thought we had a small chance of victory. Luckily things went our way, I don't know how, but we ended up winning it, and the fact is that nobody could believe it," Polito explained.
Nobody thought, at the start of the tournament, that Cortium could be a factor. Especially comparing its line-up with other teams, in a championship in which the world's leading players were present. In the final, it was very clear that the main pitch at Cowdray did not stand the strains of the action. However, that by no means affected the chances of the Cortium team. At least, that is what Pieres thinks.
"There was a lot of rain during June. But I believe that the pitches in this state played into our hands, because we obviously did not have the quality horses of the big teams, we were a small team, and it seems as if the rain and the mud came in well for us; the day before we were wishing it would rain, so that the pitch would be in a worse condition (laughing), and we had the luck of winning the final."
"The fact is that the definition was impressive, because we lost a goal which would have meant a draw after the bell rung at the end of the fifth (chukker). We were losing by one goal, later they were two ahead of us, and then I said to myself: 'It's complicated,' because the pitch was in a very bad condition, very broken up, and there had been few goals from the field. Being two goals down we thought it would be complicated, but still, I think we had the luck of the champions, and were able to score those goals and we won it."
Although it was not a great match between Cortium and El Remanso, it was a very emotive one, and Pablo Pieres believes that his foursome won "because it was a plucky and determined team, giving all its worth, the team's foursome gave its absolute all to win this final."
"By the way the four of us played the final, we are happy, because I scored the goals, but the fact is that we all played well, if one of us would have played badly, we wouldn't have won. So, credit is due to the whole team, and despite it being me who scored the goals, I believe that without them we wouldn't have won", Pieres said.
Another aspect which surprised the debuting Polito Pieres was the context of the final. "I had never played a final in England, and that's what impressed me: the show in the final, with the huge amount of people, all that 'circus' surrounding the match. The fact is that it's very similar to Palermo; although it's different, the sensation is a nice one, because there were a lot of people, all of them watching the match, it seems they pay a lot of attention, so the truth is it was a pleasure to have played this final."
The forward mentioned an interesting confidentiality corresponding to before the start of the match, saying that "we kept telling ourselves before the start: 'OK, we're already here, now let's enjoy this final, we are going to be playing in front of all these people on this pitch, if we lose it's only poor luck," which describes the humbleness of this team, that was in no one's plans and that ended up claiming the title.
LivingPolo: With this performance you already have claimed a place in England's 2013 season?
"I don't know, I hope so, I suppose I'll return with Cortium, it's good to continue progressing, and obviously next year will be very tough, but it'll also be fun."
Pablo is already in California, where he will be playing in less than a week at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club as part of the Grants Farm line-up, making his USPA Lucchese America Cup debut this Friday against Lucchese.
Prior to this new commitment, he said "It'll be nice, there aren't many teams, I think they're only four, but let's hope we do well here; I'm playing with a new patron, Andy Busch, so I'm very happy with that. All my family is here, so I'm enjoying the success (of Cowdray) with my family. It's awesome, I can't ask for more."
Polito once again confirmed that in the 2012 Argentinian Triple Crown "I will play in a new team, with Lolo (Castagnola), Rodrigo (Ribeiro de Andrade) and Nachi (Heguy). We are already classified, so the fact is that this will be my first time on pitch 1 as a starting player, so I've got that to think about, now, and I want that day to arrive and to be able to play on pitch 1."
"Now this is all about the horses: I've got to continue spending all the money on horses. If I don't, things will not go well for me, and if I do, there are chances that they will go well."
By David Cattaneo, LivingPolo.com