Crab Orchard wins C. V. Whitney
By Alex Webbe
In much the same vein as Freddy Krueger was heralded in the â€œA Nightmare on Elm Streetâ€ horror films, the return of Argentine 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso looks to be met with no misgivings and a great deal of trepidation.
Following a one-year sabbatical from the Florida polo scene, the â€œgreat oneâ€ returned in time to remind any knowledgeable polo fan of just how good he really is.
Cambiaso scored seven of Crab Orchardâ€™s eleven goals to defeat a very competitive Valiente foursome on Sunday afternoon at the International Polo Club in Wellington in the championship game of the 2010 C. V. Whitney Cup.
Action began in the match in a give-and-take fashion, with Valiente team captain scoring the opening goal of the match. Hilario Ulloa tied it with a goal to make it 1-1 before Miguel Astrada scored to give Valiente a 2-1 advantage. Ulloa scored his second goal of the game to end the chukker in a 2-2 tie.
â€œTheyâ€™re (Valiente) a very good team,â€ said Crab Orchard 8-goaler and Wellington resident Julio
Arellano. â€œBetween Miguel Astrada and Magoo Laprida and Nacho (Astrada), they are very strong.â€
Goals from Magoo Laprida and Nacho Astrada had Valiente ahead 4-3 after holding Crab Orchard to a single goal from Cambiaso in the second, but shutout defense by Crab Orchard in the third period and two more goals from Cambiaso had Crab Orchard leaving the field at the end of the first half with a narrow 5-4 edge.
Valiente made the most of its first 26-goal competition with a pair of goals (Miguel Astrada and Nacho Astrada) in the fourth while holding Crab Orchard to a single penalty conversion by Julio Arellano, and the game was all even at 6-6 at the end of the fourth.
Two more goals from Cambiaso in the fifth were countered by scoring shots from brothers Nacho and Miguel Astrada, and with seven minutes left in regulation time, the score was tied again, 8-8.
Cambiaso scored the tie-breaker with 5:25 left in the game with Arellano adding another goal for a 10-8 advantage with just 4:46 left to play.
â€œI felt pretty good about our chances when we went up by a couple of goals,â€ offered Arellano, â€œbut I didnâ€™t count them out.â€
The ball was batted back and forth until Cambiaso got a mallet on it near midfield and carried it downfield nearly 150 yards, tapping it in the air until it finally carried through the goal posts for the score.
Crab Orchard held its largest lead of the game at 11-8, and time was running out. Valiente continued to try to break through the Crab Orchard defense, with Nacho Astrada finally succeeding with just :52 left to play.
The final horn sounded as the players started back to the center of the field for the throw-in, and Crab Orchard celebrated Cambiasoâ€™s return with a win in the 26-goal seasonâ€™s opening tournament, the 2010 C. V. Whitney Cup.
Cambiaso led all scorers with seven goals and was named MVP for his efforts while Magoo Lapridaâ€™s Montera was named Best Playing Pony.
High-goal action will continue with three games to start the 2010 USPA Piaget Gold Cup on Saturday, March 6.
LAS MONJITAS 14, ZACARA 9
Las Monjitas ended the seasonâ€™s 20-goal competition by capturing the Herbie Pennell Cup in a convincing fashion as they trampled Zacara 14-9 in the dayâ€™s earlier contest.
â€œWe got off to a slow start this season,â€ said Las Monjitas 9-goaler Javier Astrada, â€œbut we began playing better and better each week. I think we played our best game of the year today.â€
Behind the penalty shooting of Pablo Pieres, Las Monjitas took the wind out of the Zacara sales as they rode off to a 7-5 halftime lead, with Pieres accounting for five of the goals.
Las Monjitas stretched the lead to three goals after the fourth and led 11-6 after five chukkers.
â€œThe horses went well,â€ said Javier, â€œand the play between the members of the team went perfectly.â€
Zacara struggled vainly to get back into the game, but after being shutout in the fifth they could only put three goals on the scoreboard, answering Las Monjitas goal for goal.
Jeff Hall and Gonzalo del Tour scored the last two goals of the contest, but Las Monjitas wasnâ€™t to be denied, as the final horn sounded to a Las Monjitas 14-9 victory.
Pablo Pieres scored eight times in the match and was named MVP. Javier Astradaâ€™s 8-year-old gelding, Fatiga, received Best Playing Pony Honors.