Along the Sideboards

Along the Sideboards

By Alex Webbe

July 27, 2009


Rains continued to delay activities at the Bridgehampton Polo Club with matches being postponed on a regular basis, but the weather didn’t seem to have affected a powerful White Birch team.


White Birch defeated Equulus by a commanding 15-7 score on the club’s opening Sunday and followed it up with victories over Black Watch, 16-7, and Cinque Terre/Heathcote, 11-9.


The perfect 3-0 record perches White Birch atop the 6-team division with teams scrambling to catch up.


Wet grounds limited the weekend activity to a single contest.  In Sunday’s match Great Oaks stopped Black Watch 11-9.


Mercedes Benz Cup action will continue this week with Certified meeting Equuleus on Monday (in a game postponed from Sunday).

On Wednesday, Certified is scheduled to play White Birch followed by a contest between Great Oaks and Equuleus.

On Thursday Black Watch will be looking after its first win in a game with Cinque Terre/Heathcote.





The Veuve Cliquot Skene Cup got underway at the Santa Barbara Polo Club on Friday with Audi staying undefeated through the current California high-goal season with a 12-9 win over Bob Jorvnayvaz’s Valiente team from Colorado. Earlier in the day, ERG knocked off Lucchese, 14-10 and Grants Farm scored a come-from-behind win over Mansrour,  16-15.


Sunday’s action, however, proved to be some of the most competitive polo of the young Santa Barbara high-goal season.


Early action had Patagones (1-0) scoring an overtime victory at the expense of Valiente (0-2).  It must be noted that a jockey muscle sidelined Nacho Astrada, and while brother Negro played admirably, Valiente suffered its second loss in as many games.


Lucchese (1-1) needed an overtime chukker to register its first win as it took the one-goal game from Mansour (0-2).


In the final match of the day, young Cachi Garcia-Velez took the ball from the throw-in in the waning seconds of the game to score the winning goal for Grants Farm (2-0) in its one-goal win over ERG (1-1).


Sunday’s play was some of the most competitive of the California  high-goal season with all three matches being decided in overtime.



With Valiente forced to play without 9-goaler Nacho Astrada (injured groin muscle), t they took to the field with Negro Astrada (7) and an 18-goal lineup.


Valiente got two goals by handicap with Negro Astrada adding two more in the second chukker while Patagones scored six times to hold a 6-4 halftime lead.


Valiente staged a fifth chukker rally with single goals from Astrada and Carlucho Arellano to tie it at 6-6 to end the period.


Astrada put Valiente ahead 7-6 on a penalty shot in the sixth and then padded the lead with a goal from the field, but Patagones wasn’t through.  Phillips and Gracida each scored from the field to knot it at 8-8 and force the overtime.


Patagones pressed the attack in the extra period resulting in a Valiente foul.  A sure-hitting Gracida stroked through the winning goal on a penalty shot in the 9-8 contest.



Mansour (0-2) dropped its second game in the last three days as a late game rally fell short with Lucchese (1-1) eking out a 10-9 win on a goal from Julio Gracida in overtime. 


Lucchese seemed to be in control of the match early on, holding a 5-4 lead after the third and moving ahead 8-6 after four periods of play.


Mansour’s Martin Zegers put three big goals on the scoreboard in the fifth chukker, countered by a single goal from Lucchese 9-goaler Mike Azzaro for a 9-9 tie.


A scoreless sixth chukker left the final decision to overtime, once again, with Julio Gracida scoring his fifth goal of the game for the win.



Cachi Garcia-Velez scored just a single goal in the contest, but it was an overtime goal that spelled the difference between victory and defeat for Grants Farm (2-0) in a 13-12 win over ERG that once again required an overtime period for the final score.


The game was neck and neck through the first four chukkers with Grants Farm’s Jeff Hall providing five of the team’s seven goals, as ERG cradled an 8-7 lead. 


Goals from Hall and Sugar Erskine put Grants Farm on top 9-8 in the fifth chukker until ERG answered with consecutive goals from Paco de Narvaez, Scott Wood and Gonzalo del Tour to retake the lead, 11-9.


Grants Farm evened the score again in the fifth, 11-11, on penalty goals from Hall and Erskine before del Tour’s fifth goal of the game had ERG on top, 12-11.  A final goal from the field by Hall kept Grants Farm in the match and forcing an overtime period with a 12-12 score.


ERG had a chance to wrap it up on a penalty shot in the opening minutes of overtime, but tapped the ball, allowing Hall the opportunity to clear it, and clear it he did.  An ensuing throw-in resulted in a long pass by Hall to a galloping young Garcia-Velez who scored  the winning Grants Farm goal in a hard-fought 13-12 game.