La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Juan Martin Zavaleta, Tincho Merlos and Byron Watson) had battled through a series of injuries that left team captain Michael Bickford as the only original player on the team in an earlier game, but after an embarrassing 16-8 loss to Ayala (Iñigo Zobel, Peque Gonzalez, Facundo Pieres and Santiago Laborde) in Gold Cup play at Spain’s Santa Maria Polo Club the previous Saturday, handed Lechuza (Victor Vargas, Pelon Stirling, Juan Martín Nero and Will Harper) their first loss of the tournament, 11-10.
Lechuza seemed to take control of the opening chukker, leaving the field with a 3-2 advantage, but La Indiana appeared to be ready for them, and kept within striking distance.
La Indiana added two goals in the second period while holding Lechuza to a single score. After two chukkers of play, the score was all even at 4-4.
The third period belonged to La Indiana and Tincho Merlos. Three straight goals from La Indiana were coupled with shutout defense that had Lechuza trailing by three goals at the end of the first half, 7-4.
The two teams traded goals in the fourth, with neither gaining the upper hand. After four periods of play, La Indiana continued to lead, 9-6.
Lechuza pressed the attack in the fifth. Two Lechuza goals were answered by a single goal from La Indiana. The lead had been pared back to two goals, 10-8.
The double-pronged Lechuza attack of 10-goalers Peon Stirling and Juan Martin Nero continued to put pressure on the La Indiana defenders in the sixth chukker, but a defiant La Indiana team held on for the 11-10 victory.
The win leveled the La Indiana record at 2-2 with Lechuza suffering their first loss in Gold Cup play, 2-1.
Gold Cup action continues on Wednesday with the final two preliminary matches. Lechuza will return to face Ayala. Both teams are currently 2-1. A second contest will feature Dos Lunas (James Fewster, Paul S. de Vicuña, Facundo Sola and Martin Podesta) and Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Martin Valent, Pablo MacDonough and Josh Cork). Both teams carry 1-2 records to the field with them, with the outcome having a critical baring on Friday’s semifinal brackets.