Biddle Blasts Heathcote into Semifinals
By Alex Webbe
If you have ever underestimated the effect of a penalty-shooting player, think again. Saturday afternoon in the 2010 Mercedes Benz Challenge Cup at the Bridgehampton Polo Club, Heathcoteâ€™s Tommy Biddle scored ten of his game-high eleven goals on penalty shots enroute to leading his team to a 15-12 win over Black Watch and s position in Wednesdayâ€™s tournament semifinals.
Heathcote received two goals by handicap from the Black Watch team, and wasted little time in running up a 6-3 lead on the strength of four penalty conversions from Biddle.
Black Watch wasnâ€™t exactly idle, with Criado scoring twice and Tomas Obregon scoring a first chukker goal.
Goals from Obregon and Criado in the second period were offset by single goals from Heathcote team captain Steve Lefkowitz and Biddle (penalty shot), and Black Watch continued to trail by three goals, 8-5.
â€œIt was a really choppy game,â€ said Biddle, â€œand the umpires were calling it close, which I donâ€™t mind, but it wasnâ€™t our style of play,â€
It might not have been what the Heathcote team was looking for but Biddle proved that a big gun at the penalty line can overcome almost any difficulty on the field.
Two goals from Nacho Figueras brought Black Watch to within a goal at halftime, 8-7, and the Heathcote team seemed to slow down in the fourth as well. A penalty goal was converted by Criado and in spite of scoring his sixth straight penalty goal in the chukker; Biddle missed three 60-yard attempts. Heathcote took a narrow 9-8 lead into the fifth period.
â€œWe never got any kind of rhythm going,â€ said Biddle. â€œWeâ€™d charge out ahead and then seem to just sit back as they caught up with us.â€
Criado tied it at 9-9 with a penalty shot in the fifth chukker, but Heathcote was up for the challenge. Three more penalty conversions from Biddle and a goal from the field from Nick Manifold had Heathcote up 13-11 at the end of the period despite another penalty goal from Criado and a goal from the field from Larry Austin.
Biddle opened the final chukker with his first field goal of the game. Criado answered with a penalty goal and Biddle ended the scoring with his tenth penalty conversion of the game.
On the strength of eleven goals (ten on penalty shots), Biddle carried Heathcote (2-0) to a 15=12 win over Black Watch (0-2). Manifold and Obregon added single goals in the win, and Heathcote received two goals by handicap.
Criado scored seven goals for Black Watch. Figueras and Obregon added two goals apiece and Austin accounted for a goal in the loss.