Black Watch bounces back to earn USPA Arena Open finalberth
By Alex Webbe
Nacho Figueras scored eight times as in leading his BlackWatch (Figueras, Kareem Rosser and Naco Taverna) team to a 12-9 win over CedarCroft Farm (Johnny Redlich, Horton Schwartz and Nick Manifold) Wednesday night inthe second round of play in the 2012 USPA Arena Open Championship at CountryFarms Polo Club in Medford, New York.
Bouncing back after suffering a humbling 18-7 defeat inthe tournamentâ€™s opening contest, Black Watch took control of the game from theonset, scoring five unanswered goals in the opening chukker of play.
â€œWe fell behind early in our last game,â€ said Figueras, â€œbutgot things going against Cedar Croft Farm from the opening throw-in.â€
â€œI had never played arena polo before,â€ offered Figueras,â€œand with the quickness of play and the talent of the opposing players(American 10-goaler Tommy Biddle captained the Weill Cornell team that treatedhis Black Watch team so inhospitably in the opener) we were outgunned.â€
Ten-goal polo legend Carlos Gracida related a similarexperience in his first arena game. â€œIfinally figured out the game, but by the time I did, it was over,â€ he said.
There is a premium on horsemanship and stick play, to besure, but teamwork, strategy and positioning are also at a premium in the arenagame.
Naco Taverna scored the opening goal of the game followedby two goals apiece from teammates Nacho Figueras and Kareem Rosser. Cedar Croft Farm failed to get on thescoreboard as Black Watch rode off to an early 5-0 advantage.
Figueras added two more goals to the Black Watch total inthe second period while Cedar Croft Farm finally got on the scoreboard. Two goals from Johnny Redlich and a singlegoal from Horton Schwartz ended the first half. Black Watch continued to lead, 7-3.
The third chukker featured Schwartz and Figueras, witheach player scoring four times for their respective teams. With one chukker left to be played BlackWatch held on to the four goal lead, 11-7. Goals from Redlich and Schwartz were offset by a single pony goal fromthe Black Watch team for the 12-9 final.
Figueras led all scoring with eight goals. Rosser scored twice and Taverna added agoal. One goal was credited as a ponygoal.
â€œKareem had an outstanding game,â€ said Figueras, â€œthe bestgame heâ€™s played so far. Weâ€™re reallylooking forward to Saturdayâ€™s finals.â€
Schwartz scored six goals for Cedar Croft Farm. Redlich added three goals in the loss.
The Black Watch victory boosted the team into Saturdayâ€™s finals against ayet-to-be-determined opponent. A finalpreliminary match is slated to be played Friday night at 7pm between TommyBiddleâ€™s Cornell Weill team and Cedar Croft Farm.
Figueras had indicated that a revised Black Watch lineup would appear for the finals with 6-goaler Kris Kampsen replacing Taverna.