The 2018 USPA Constitution Cup debuted with two games Friday afternoon at the Empire Polo Club that showcased four of the five teams entered in the 8-goal tournament.
In a high-scoring noon contest, REMAX (Dayelle Fargey, Jared Sheldon, Gordon Ross and Matthew Fonseca) edged Granite Bay (Eric Hammon, Alvaro Tadeo, Marcos Llambias and Catlin Dix), 14-12 behind nine goals from Jared Sheldon.
Granite By received one goal by handicap from the 8-goal REMAX side but were unable to add to it in the first chukker. REMAX’s Matthew Fonseca scored the first goal of the game followed by a pair of goals from Jared Sheldon for the early 3-1 lead.
Granite Bay took advantage of an overly aggressive REMAX offense n the second period, making good on three penalty shots, two from Alvaro Tadeo and one from Marcos Llambias to take the lead, briefly, 4-3. Dayelle Fargey and Sheldon added goals that put REMAX back into the lead, however, 5-4.
Sheldon added a goal from the field and a penalty goal in the third, but Granite Bay was on a roll. Tadeo scored three times, once from the 30-yard penalty line, to level the ore at 7-7 at the end of the first half.
A refocused REMAX team charged onto the field in the second half with Sheldon adding two more goals. Fonseca scored for the second time as REMAX moved in front, 10-8. Catlin Dix accounted for Granite Bay’s only score of the chukker.
Llambias led a Granite Bay rally in the fifth, scoring one from the field and adding two penalty goals. Sheldon’s 40-yard penalty conversion was all that REMAX could come up with in the chukker. The two teams left the field with one period remaining in regulation play and deadlocked at 11-11.
REMAX scored the first two goals of the sixth with Sheldon and Gordon Ross splitting the goalposts for a 13-11 advantage. Llambias scored on a penalty shot from the 40-yard line, but the momentum was with REMAX. Fonseca scored for the third time on the day, carrying REMAX to a hard-fought 14-12 win.
Sheldon led all scoring with nine goals (three on penalty shots). Fonseca scored three times with Fargey and Ross adding single goals in the REMAX win. Llambias and Tadeo scored five goals apiece for Granite Bay. Dix scored once in the loss.
Spindrift 11, Lockton 7
In the second Constitution Cup match of the day, Spindrift (John Bickford, Luis Saracco, Tan Khan and Iggy Deltour) rode out to a 7-2 halftime lead before coasting to an 11-7 win over Lockton (Athena Malin, Bryan Middleton, Andres Gonzalez and Francisco Guinazu) in the afternoon match.
Iggy Deltour scored twice for Spindrift in the opening seven minutes with Bryan Middleton accounting for the only goal of the chukker for Lockton. The early led went to Spindrift, 2-1.
Second period goals from John Bickford and Luis Saracco went unanswered with a solid defensive effort shutting down the Lockton attack. After two chukkers of play, he Spindrift led grew to three goals, 4-1.
Francisco Guinazu’s first goal of the day cut the Spindrift lead to two goals, 4-2. Deltour countered with a pair of goals and Bickford added his second of the day, giving Spindrift a commanding 7-2 halftime advantage.
Saracco made it 8-2 by converting a 40-yard penalty shot to open the scoring in the second half, followed by a goal from the field from Bickford, 9-2. Guinazu got Lockton on the scoreboard with his third goal of the day but after four chukkers it was Spindrift with the six-goal, 9-3 lead.
Middleton scored once from the field and once on a penalty shot, bringing Lockton to within four goals of the lead, 9-5. Saracco closed out the scoring in the period putting Spindrift on top of a 10-5 core with one period remaining in the game.
Guinazu added two goals in the sixth, with Tan Khan supplying the only goal of the chukker for Spindrift in the 11-7 Spindrift win.
Deltour’s four goals set the pace for Spindrift. Saracco and Bickford scored three goals apiece and Khan added a gal for the victory. Guinazu scored a team high four goals for Lockton. Middleton added three goals in a losing effort.
Constitution Cup play resumes on Sunday, March 11 with two games slated to be played. Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Carlitos Galindo, Juan Jo Gonzalez and Shane Rice) will be making their constitution Cup debut against Spindrift (1-0) while Lockton (0-1) will square off against Granite Bay (0-1).
The 2017-2018 Empire Polo season attracts players from across the country and around the world and offers fourteen weekends of fast-paced polo in the beautiful and relaxed setting of California’s winter playground.
The Empire Polo Club is located at 81-800 Avenue 51 in Indio, CA. For further information go to the club website at http://empirepolo.com or call 760-342-7755.