Cambiaso and Crab Orchard alive and well; Lechuza and the Hawks remain unbeaten
By Alex Webbe
The king is dead. Long live the king., and â€œthe reports of my death have been greatly exaggeratedâ€, are just a couple of the quotes that have surrounded the performance of the Crab Orchard team earlier in the season, and the man many believe is the greatest player to play the game, Adolfo Cambiaso. But Iâ€™m here to tell you not to believe any â€œbarn rumorsâ€ regarding Cambiaso, at least not this year.
For the second game in a row, Cambiaso showed his mettle by scoring from nearly every place on the field, and for the first time this season a throng of spectators watched as the Crab Orchard team played as a team in its one-sided 14-5 win over Faraway Thursday morning in the 2011 US Open competition at the International Polo Club in Wellington..
When asked if the 14-5 score was indicative of the capabilities of the Crab Orchard team in contrast to its one goal win over Zacara last Sunday, team captain George Rawlings said â€œLast week we played against a four-pro team (2-goal professional Juan Jo Gonzalez played in place of the injured Zacara team captain, Lyndon Lea), but I think you saw what we can do when we play as a team.â€
Crab Orchard wasted little time in putting points on the scoreboard. Cambiaso made it look easy as he took a pass from Hilario Ulloa at midfield and raced 150 yards for a goal. Moments later he added another, and the game was on. Lucas Monteverde scored once for Faraway and Crab Orchardâ€™s Nachi du Plessis made it 3-1 to end the chukker with his first goal of the game.
Du Plessis made it 4-1 to open the second chukker before Luis Escobar responded with a goal for Faraway. Cambiaso skated down the field for his third goal of the morning for a 5-2 lead.
Crab Orchard kept the Faraway players backs to the play for much of the third chukker with Cambiaso du Plessis and Hilario Ulloa leading attack after attack upon the Faraway goal. Ulloa scored first followed by two more goals from Cambiaso and a combination of an inept Faraway offense and a disciplined Crab Orchard defense held Faraway scoreless. The first half ended with Crab Orchard holding a commanding 8-3 advantage.
The situation didnâ€™t improve for Faraway in the second half in spite of Monteverdeâ€™s chukker opening goal. Cambiaso took a pass from du Plessis out of the ensuing throw-in and carried it down the field for a goal. Crab Orchard added two more goals from Cambiaso and du Plessis to end the period with an eight goal lead, 11-3.
â€œWe were concerned with playing our horses properly in the match today,â€ offered du Plessis, â€œthe horses played well, and our teamwork was a key factor in the manner in which we executed our plays.â€
Cambiaso and du Plessis scored the only goals of the fifth chukker with Faraway making few orchestrated rushes at the Crab Orchard goal. The fifth chukker ended with Crab orchard holding a ten goal lead, 13-1, and onlookers hoping for a humane ending to the onslaught.
Escobar and Monteverde managed single goals in the final chukker for Faraway while Cambiaso, fittingly enough, scored the final goal of the game for Crab Orchard in the 14-5 win.
â€œI thought that we really started playing as a team today,â€ said Ulloa. â€œI think that we are getting better with every game.â€
The smiling veteran George Rawlings looked on from a chair in the playerâ€™s tent and offered, â€œone game at a time, one game at a time.â€
LECHUZA 11, PIAGET 7
Lechuza (2-0) ran up a 9-4 halftime lead before riding off with an 11-7 win over Piaget (0-2) in the first of the dayâ€™s afternoon matches, with every member of the team getting on the scoreboard.
Lechuza came out swinging in the first chukker, putting up four straight goals before Piaget could respond. Three goals from 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero and single goals from Sapo Caset and Martin Espain left a dazed Piaget offense few bragging rights over as single goal from Nachi Heguy in a 5-1 first chukker.
Caset added two more goals in the second period as Lechuza raced up and down the field. Lechuza extended its lead to six goals, 7-1, as Piaget was unable to produce any effective offensive attacks in the chukker.
Piaget finally got on track in the third period, with Lechuza fouling the attacking Piaget players and setting them up at the penalty line for a free shot at the goal. Lolo Castagnola converted a pair of 60-yard penalty shots while Nachi Heguy made good on a 30-yard penalty conversion.
Lechuza answered with goals from the field from Caset and Nero for a 9-4 halftime lead.
A 60-yard penalty conversion from Caset and a goal from young Matt Coppola had Lechuza up, 11-4 when Castagnola converted another penalty shot for a goal, but Lechuza sat on top of a comfortable 11-5 lead as the chukker ended.
With Lechuza easing up offensively in the final two chukkers and adding no more goals to its total, Castagnola managed to convert another penalty shot for a goal in the fifth. Heguy â€˜s final goal of the game came in the sixth and final chukker, but the outcome wasnâ€™t in doubt from the second chukker.
The victory improved the Lechuza record to 2-0 while Piaget remained winless at 0-2.
Competition in the 2011 US Open Championship will continue on Saturday, April 2 with Bendabout (2-0) meeting Pony Express (0-2) at 10 am; Valiente taking on Orchard Hill (0-2) at 2 pm; and Audi (2-0) playing Las Monjitas (1-1) at 4 pm.
HAWKS 10, ZACARA 9
In a back and forth contest that was the most competitive contest of the day the Hawks (2-0) scored a last minute goal in regulation time to force overtime before going on to beat a talented Zacara team 10-9 in the sudden-death chukker.
The victory boosts the Hawks record to 2-0 while a powerful Zacara team finds itself with a woeful 0-2 record.
The yo-yo scoring began in the opening chukker with Zacara 10-goaler Facundo Pieres opening up the game with a penalty conversion. Mariano Gonzalez answered back for the hawks with a penalty goal of his own. Mariano Uranga scored to put Zacara up 3-2, but the lead was short lived as Freddie Mannix scored his first goal of the game for the Hawks to end the first chukker in a 2-2 tie.
In a defensive-oriented second chukker Julian Mannix got the Hawks on the score board with the only goal of the period for a 3-2 lead.
The pace accelerated in the third with each team scoring three times. Zacara opened with a tying goal from Sebastian Merlos while the Hawks responded with goals from Freddie Mannix and Gonzalez. Pieres scored two consecutive goals to tie the game at 5-5, but Freddie Mannix closed out the chukker by converting a 40-yard penalty shot to put the Hawks on the top of a 6-5 halftime score.
Both defenses tightened in the second half as Pieres scored a goal in the fourth to even it at 6-6. Moments later, Freddie Mannix connected on a shot that kept the Hawks ahead, 7-6.
Uranga scored a tying goal in the opening of the fifth chukker, and Pieres gave Zacara its first lead of the game since the first chukker with a penalty conversion. Lights-out defense by the Zacara team kept the Hawks off the scoreboard for the first time all afternoon, and as the chukker ended Zacara found itself leading, 8-7.
Aguerre made short work of knotting the game up again at 8-8 in the sixth on a 60-yard penalty shot, but Merlos scored his second goal of the match to give Zacara a one goal lead, 9-8.
With a minute left in regulation time, Aguerre hammered a 100 yard shot through the goal posts for a 9-9 tie.
Julian Mannix took possession of the ball after the ensuing throw-in and charged down the field toward the Zacara goal, with Carlitos Gracida on his hip. Julian Mannix missed the shot at goal and the game was forced into sudden-death overtime.
Usually a short-lived affair, the teams were almost halfway through the extra chukker when Uranga fouled near the Zacara 60-yard line. A 30-yard penalty was awarded to the Hawks team, and Gonzalez made short work of scoring the winning goal.