Certified Wins in OT; Equuleus Wins in Final Seconds
By Alex Webbe
The Bridgehampton Polo Club was the site of two closely-played polo matches that were a stark contrast to the tournamentâ€™s opening blowouts.
In the opening round of the 2010 Mercedes Benz Challenge Cup, Nic Roldan scored his eighth goal in overtime to lead Certified (1-0) to a 14-13 win over a very strong Heathcote (0-1) lineup.
â€œWe had our chances,â€ said Heathcote 7-goaler Tommy Biddle, â€œwe just made a couple of mistakes we couldnâ€™t afford, and it cost us.â€
Heathcote received two goals by handicap from the 20-goal Certified lineup, and quickly made it 2-0 as Biddle converted a penalty shot for his first goal of the game.
Roldan fired right back, however, scoring three unanswered goals to end the chukker in a 3-3 tie.
â€œItâ€™s (Certified) a tough team, for sure,â€ Biddle offered, â€œand theyâ€™re very well mounted.â€
Inaki Laprida drew first blood for Certified in the second chukker countered by a goal from the field from Heathcoteâ€™s Nick Manifold. Biddle put Heathcoate back on top with his second goal of the game, but Michael Borrico scored to even it at 5-5 after two periods.
Biddle scored two consecutive penalty shots, but missed on the third.
â€œI was playing a horse that was just a bit tired when I went for the third penalty shot,â€ Biddle offered. â€œShe wasnâ€™t quite right when I went to hit the ball, and . . .â€.
A penalty conversion from Roldan and a goal from the field from Gonzalo Garcia del Rio kept it all even at the end of the first half, 7-7.
Del Rio opened the second half with a goal from the field for Certified, and Roldan added two more, getting one from the field and another on a penalty shot.
Naco Taverna scored his first goal of the game in the fourth chukker, and Biddle added two more goals to keep it knotted up at 10-10 going into the fifth period.
Borrico scored a goal from the field and Heathcote was held to a single penalty conversion (Biddle), and the game flowed into the sixth chukker in an 11-11 deadlock.
The drives and scoring alternated with Biddle scoring the first goal for Heathcote while Roldan answered with the equalizer. Biddle put Heathcote ahead 13-12 with a second goal from the field and hit the goalpost on a third shot at goal.
â€œThat would have given us a two goal leadâ€ rues the hulking 7-goaler, â€œthat could have been the difference.â€
Instead, it was Borrico who scored the tying goal, 13-13, and forced the game into sudden-death overtime.
With both teams struggling for control of the ball, Roldan escaped with the ball and drove it through for the 14-13 winning goal for Certified.
Biddle led the field with nine goals on the day for Heathcote. Taverna and Manifold each scored single goals and the team received two goals by handicap.
Roldan was high-scorer for Certified with eight goals. Borrico scored three times and del Rio added two goals to the winning effort. Laprida was held to a single goal on the day.
EQUULEUS 12, GREAT OAKS 11
In an effort to bounce back from an opening tournament loss, Great Oaks orchestrated a fine effort that began with goals from Paul Pieres and Marcos Garcia del Rio
In the closing match of the day, Adam Snow scored the winning goal with 12 seconds left to play in regulation play as Equuleus (1-0) handed Great Oaks (0-2) its second straight loss of the season in a hotly contested 12-11 matchup that wasnâ€™t decided until the final seconds of the game.
Equuleus received one goal by handicap, but goals from Pieres and del Rio had Great Oaks up 2-1 after the opening chukker of the game. Pieres added two more goals in the second, but Equuleus got single goals from Facundo Obregon, Adam Snow and Mariano Gonzalez to even it up at four goals apiece.
Del Rio converted a pair of goals in the third, but a single goal from Snow and a couple of scoring efforts by Obregon had Equuleus take a narrow 7-6 lead at the half.
Del Rio scored his third penalty goal of the afternoon, but single gals from Snow and Gonzalez stretched the Equuleus lead to two goals, 11-9.
Great Oaks returned to the field in the fifth chukker on a mission. A determined offensive thrust was balanced by a solid defense, with Great Oaks getting single and consecutive goals from Dillon Bacon, Marcos Garcia del Rio, Tomas Garcia del Rio and Paul Pieres while holding Equuleus scoreless. Great Oaks had recaptured a lead it hadnâ€™t enjoyed since the first chukker and led by two goals, 11-1, with one chukker to play.
As effective as the Great Oaks offense was in the fifth chukker, it was no match for Equuleus in the final minutes of play. Drive after drive kept the pressure on the Great Oaks defense with Gonzalez scoring the first goal of the chukker on a penalty shot. Snowâ€™s fourth goal of the game had it all even at 11-11 and it looked like it was going to be decided in overtime. Thatâ€™s when Snow took advantage of a Great Oaks laps, carried the ball to goal and scored the winning goal, 12-11, with just twelve ticks left on the clock.
Snow led all scoring with five goals. Obregon and Gonzales added three goals apiece and Equuleus got one goal by handicap.
Pieres and Tomas Garcia del Rio led the Great Oaks attack with four goals each. Marcos Garcia del Rio added two goals and Bacon scored once in the losing effort.
Mercedes Benz Challenge Cup action is scheduled to continue on Friday, July 30th with a 5 pm contest between Certified (1-0) and Circa (1-0).