Polo Fans got their fill of great polo this Sunday as the SBPRC had a total of 21 chukkers on Sunday with all 3 tournament games going into overtime. The handicapping system can’t be faulted this year and all of our teams are very evenly matched.
The first game of the day was Bob Jornayvas’ Valiente Team vs Gonzalo Avendano’s Patagones. Both Patrons played exceptionally and were making some great plays. Valiente has had some injuries early in the season and subbed Negro Novillo Astrada for his brother Nacho who has an injured knee. The game was extremely fast and great to watch, neither team had many errors and there was a lot of strategy involved. Patagones let their guard down a bit at the end of the 5th chukker and Valiente got ahead by 2 goals. Patagones dug deep and Brandon Phillips made a tough goal from about 100 yards out. Carlos Gracida followed that with a tricky goal in the final second of the 6th chukker which bumped the game into OT. Both teams fought hard but couldnt get the ball through the goal mouth until Carlos Gracida converted a penalty 2 to win the game 9-8.
The grandstands were looking pretty full by the time the 1 o’clock game started. Fans were treated to a champagne tasting by Veuve Clicquot and there were chairs and umbrellas set up on field 3 in the signature Veuve Clicqot gold. The horses and players seemed to be a little put off by them as many balls found their way over the sideboards. Lucchese faced off against Mansour who wore their bright green jerseys. The game started off slow with a lot of fouls. The teams were having a hard time finding the goal mouth as many balls rolled over the end line. Mansour scored 4 goals in a row as Lucchese had trouble keeping control of the ball. Andres Weisz finally picked the ball out of the lineup to score neatly and Julio Gracida hit a neck shot at full speed that carried him and his horse all the way up to the condo pool. The game went back and forth and was tied 9-9 after the 5th chukker. Despite 8 penalties in the 6th chukker, neither team was able to score a goal to break the tie and the game went into overtime. John Muse had a great 7th chukker and picked the ball out of the goalmouth after a penalty 4 attempt. The ball made its way up to Julio Gracida who took his little grey horse all the way down to the condo end on a break away goal. Final score was 10-9.
Grants Farm and ERG both won their first round games and both teams wanted to remain undefeated. The first half was close and hard fought. ERG’s Gonzalo DelTour played well in Santa Barbara last year and is proving to be well worth his 4 goal rating. ERG,s Patron, Scott Wood, made some good offensive plays and seemed to be enjoying playing in front of the packed grandstands. Jeff Blake tied the score in the 4th chukker with a huge goal. At the end of the 4th Grants Farm had only scored 2 of their goals from the field, while ERG had only made 1 of their 8 goals from the penalty line. The crowd sensed that this game, too, might go into a 7th chukker as neither team ever had much of a lead. Sugar Erskine fouled in the mouth of the goal which led to a penalty 1 in the 6th chukker. ERG jumped ahead by 2 goals but Grants Farm rallied and tied things up at the end of the 6th. In overtime Jeff Blake tried to tap in a penalty 3 and had it cleared by Jeff Hall. Hall hit a huge pass up to 2-goaler Cachi Garcia-Velez who took the ball nearly the length of the field at full speed to score the winning goal. The final score was 13-12. Jeff Hall popped the cork on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and sprayed the crowd to celebrate his win. Players stuck around to autograph pictures and polo balls for fans.
Friday’s first round games saw Grant’s Farm defeat Mansour. Grants Farm was down by 7 goals 11-4 and it looked like the game was going to be a blowout. A simple defensive change put Grants Farm back on the map in the second half by shutting down the elusive Santi Trotz who had been stealing knockins and penalty shots left and right. Grants Farm promptly made 5 goals in the 5th chukker to tie the score at 12-12. 4 goals were from the penalty line. Adam Snow scored a goal from the field to give Mansour the lead again before the end of the 5th. In the 6th chukker Grants Farm made a tricky play as Jeff Hall faked a shot and took out a Mansour player. Sugar Erskine was backing him up and scored the goal to make the score 13-14. Grants Farm soon earned a penalty shot to tie the game 14-14. Santi Trotz stole the ball off of his own backline and took it to goal putting Mansour ahead. Unfortunately, Mansour fouled again and Jeff Hall put the ball through the goal posts to tie the score again. A second penalty with only 48 seconds left gave Grants Farm the winning goal 16-15.
The second game Friday was ERG and Lucchese. Lucchese was dominating in the throw ins and shutting down ERG’s Paco DeNarvaez in the first half. The teams were trying to get a read on eachother and switching around their lineups to see what was most effective. In the end ERG played hard to come out ahead 14-10.
Friday’s final game was Audi versus Valiente. Kris Kampsen scored 8 of Audi’s 12 goals and Juan Bollini played hard. Playing in the warm up tournaments seemed to give Audi an advantage as they showed great teamwork. Valiente was getting their bearings and still played well but in the end only scored 9 goals, 6 by Carlucho Arellano.