Piaget Gold Cup Semifinals Set
By Alex Webbe
A well-orchestrated and balanced Hawkâ€™s attack scored an 11-5 win over a punchless Pony Express offense Monday afternoon at the International Polo Club in Wellington. The victory secured the Hawks a berth in Thursdayâ€™s USPA Piaget Gold Cup semifinals with a perfect 3-0 record. In earlier action, Piaget scored a 10-9 win over Las Monjitas, but on the strength of a 2-1 record, Las Monjitas advanced to Thursdayâ€™s semifinals as well.
The Hawks took the field aggressively in the opening chukker, scoring three straight goals before Matias Magrini answered for Pony Express, and the Hawks left the field after the opening chukker of play with a 3-1 advantage.
Pony Express returned in the second period to score consecutive goals from Bautista Heguy and Carlos Gracida. An active defense held the Hawks scoreless as Pony Express tied it up at 3-3.
Heguy scored the opening goal of the third chukker to give Pony Express its first lead of the game, but goals from 10-goaler Mariano Aguerre and Pancho Bensadon ended the first half with the Hawks clinging to a narrow 5-4 lead.
The fourth chukker belonged to the Hawks with Julian Mannix scoring twice and Pancho Bensadon and Fred Mannix scoring single goals. Heguy supplied the only Pony Express offense with a single goal and the period ended with the Hawks ahead 9-5.
Goals from Bensadon and Aguerre accounted for the only scoring in the fifth chukker to take a commanding 11-5 lead into the final period of play.
Despite desperate strikes at the Hawkâ€™s goal, Pony Express was unable to get on the scoreboard again, and the match ended in an 11-5 Hawks win.
Julian Mannix scored two goals for the Hawks while Bensadon, Aguerre and brother Fred Mannix scored three goals apiece. Heguy led the Pony Express attack with three goals.
The win launched the Hawks into Thursdayâ€™s 3 pm semifinal game against Lechuza Caracas.
PIAGET 10, LAS MONJITAS 9
Earlier in the day Piaget rode onto the field with 4-goaler Lucas Lalor taking the place of injured 6-goaler Juan Bollini. The 23-goal Piaget team received three goals by handicap from the 26-goal Las Monjitas team and held on to score a 10-9 win.
Nick Aliano was playing in the place of 14-year-old Geronimo Obregon (who was taking school exams) and Javiar Astrada left the game in the last chukker in an effort to protect bruised ribs suffered in an earlier match. Paul Pieres took Javierâ€™s place in the Las Monjitas lineup.
Piaget built up a 6-4 halftime lead and managed to stave off a sixth chukker rally by Las Monjitas who tied it up at 8-8 on a goal from Eduardo Astrada.
Ten-goaler Lolo Castagnola put Piaget back on top, 9-8 before Negro Astradaâ€™s fifth goal of the game to tie it again at 9-9. A final goal from American 9-goaler Nic Roldan was the difference as Piaget held on for the 10-9 victory.
In spite of its only loss of the Piaget Gold Cup tournament, Las Monjitas (2-1) would advance to Thursdayâ€™s 1 pm semifinals against Crab Orchard.
AUDI 11, VALIENTE 9
In the final Piaget Gold Cup contest of the day, a regenerated Audi team outscored Valiente 6-2 in the final three chukkers of the game to take home an 11-9 win.
Valiente took the field without their standout 8-goaler Magoo Laprida, with Santiago Bottero taking his place in the lineup. Receiving three goals by handicap from the 26-goal Audi team to start the match Valienteâ€™s Miguel Astrada scored the opening goal of the game for a 4-0 lead before Gonzalito Pieres and Marc Ganzi responded with single goals.
Ganzi scored another goal in the second chukker along with Facundo Pieres to tie the game while holding Valiente scoreless. The score was all even at 4-4.
Valiente exploded for three straight goals to open the third chukker while holding Audi to a single goal from Facundo Pieres, for a 7-5 halftime lead.
Facundo Pieres scored the only goal of the fourth chukker, but added three more in the fifth as Audi took a 9-8 lead.
Miguel Astrada scored a goal for Valiente in the final chukker but goals from Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres ended it with Audi on top of the 11-9 final score.
Eliminated from Gold Cup play, Audi earned a semifinal position in the Butler Handicap against Orchard Hill at noon on Thursday. Piaget will face Bendabout/Wanderers in the dayâ€™s other Butler Handicap semifinal at 10 am.