Cornell Weill wins, earns USPA Arena Open final berth

Arena Open Finals are set with Black Watch meeting Cornell Weill

Alex Webbe

Irish 5-goaler Mike Connelly mounted up for Cedar Croft
Farm (Johnny Redlich, Horton Schwartz) last night in 2012 USPA Arena Open competition
at Country Farms Polo Club in Medford, New York, but they were no match for a Tommy
Biddle led Cornell Weill lineup that rolled to a 14-10 win.

Biddle, the arena game’s only 10-goaler set the pace of
the game in the opening chukker as Cornell Weill jumped out to an early 4-1 start.

 Cedar Croft Farm
got back into the game with four second chukker goals that cut the lead to just
two goals.

“”We were up 6-1 in the second chukker,” said Biddle of
the Cedar Croft Farm rally, “and just got a little too complacent I think.  Horton (Schwartz) is a very competitive arena
player,” Biddle added, “and Connelly and Redlich helped put the pressure on us.”

Cornell Weill stretched the lead to four goals, 11-7,
after the third chukker and cruised to a comfortable 14-10 win.

“We had to keep in mind that we would be playing in the
finals on Saturday night,” said Biddle, “and we wanted to save the horses for
the Black Watch rematch.”

Cornell Weill had little trouble with Black Watch in the
tournament opener, beating them by eleven goals, 18-7, but they will be facing
a different trio in the Saturday night finals. 
Six-goaler Kris Kampsen will be taking the place of Argentine veteran
Naco Taverna, and the entire team will enter the game with additional

“I know that Nacho is bringing a bunch of his horses to
the arena for the finals,” said Biddle, “and the addition of Kampsen will make
it a much different team.”

This was Nacho’s first arena polo competition, and he
admitted that he was struggling to adapt to the quick pace of the game and
positioning in the much smaller playing area (the outdoor field measures 160
yards wide and 300 yards long; the arena measures 50 yards wide and 100 yards
in length).

Kareem Rosser was the only Black Watch player with any
extensive arena experience, having played on the winning National
Interscholastic Championship team in 2011, but Figueras is looking to shake
things up for the finals with the acquisition of Kampsen.

“Kris and I have played together before, on the grass, on
the beach, and I think that we will be a different team when we enter the arena
on Saturday night,” Figueras said.

Kampsen has multiple snow polo and beach polo titles to
his credit.  His deft mallet work and
hand-eye coordination has served him well on the smaller platforms, but until
proven different, the arena belongs to Tommy Biddle.