Along the Sideboards
By Alex Webbe
October 26, 2009
John Goodman flew into Wellington over the weekend long enough to lead his Isla Carroll team to victory in the 2009 USPA Kay Colee Memorial Cup, taking MVP honors along the way. The weekend was highlighted by a half-dozen Samba dancers who performed at a party hosted by Mr. Goodman at the International Polo Club after Friday’s opening round of play. In a more casual approach, Sunday’s finals on the Grand Champions Polo Club fields were catered by Cilantros, the unofficial eatery of the polo set.
The Villages Polo Club in Central Florida will be gearing up for its first women’s tournament and will be graced with the presence of one of the world’s highest-rated players in Sunny Hale. Four teams are slated to play in the WCT World Cup & Villages WCT Qualifier.
The fall polo season in Aiken, South Carolina is nearing an end with the finals of the USPA Knox Cup slated for the coming weekend. Alan Meeker’s Crestview team seems to have an inside track for the finals with a 2-1 record, but there are a couple more games to be played.
There was a great deal of excitement throughout the American polo community over the much anticipated Ellerstina-La Dolfina showdown in the Hurlingham Open, with a disappointing outcome. Reports have La Dolfina playing well below their 40-goal handicap with Adolfo Cambiaso providing much of the team’s punch.
“It was the changing of the guard,” said Diego Cervera. “The young boys (Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres) seemed to be everywhere,” he added, “and La Dolfina seemed to be late on too many plays. No reign is eternal.”
The demise of La Dolfina may be a bit premature. The big show is a couple of weeks away and there are a number of developments that can greatly affect its outcome. Juan Martin Nero will miss Sunday’s finals against the Astrada brothers and La Aguada, however, as two yellow cards that were awarded to him will have him watching from the sidelines. Imagine an Open championship with two 40-goal teams entered in the field and in the finals there won’t be a single 40-goal team on the pitch.
Efforts to promote a polo season at the Hobe Sound Polo club are being fueled by low greens in an effort to offset an hour-long haul (one way) from the Wellington area. Monthly fees offered by the Martin County Polo Club will be $1,000 for competition in the Outback League play compared to $2,100 a month for 8-goal and 14-goal league play at the International Polo Club.
“I hope they do well,” said IPC Polo Manager Jimmy Newman, “but I’m comfortable with the solid support we’ve received about the number of teams who will be competing in the medium goal polo here this season.”
Steve Orthwein’s Port Mayaca Polo Club will be in full swing in time for the club’s annual Holiday Tournament, according to Stevie Orthwein, who’s been playing at Grand Champions Polo Club this month. And Martin County’s third polo club, Sunlight Ranch, has been concentrating on arena competition as they work to attract players to the county’s youngest polo facility.
The South Beach Women’s Polo Cup, played on the tropical beaches of Miami, may be six months away but there is no shortage of interested players. Seven complete or partially complete teams have already reserved spots in the eight team field that will precede the 16-goal Miami Beach Polo World Cup. One of the most exciting polo eventsLive in the area, the Miami Beach eventsLive attract players and spectators from across the country and around the world.