Patagones 2009 Iglehart Cup Champions
By Alex Webbe
A balanced attack and four goals from standout Carlos Gracida led Patagones to a 9-8 win over Lechuza Caracas in the 2009 Iglehart Cup at the International Polo Club in Wellington Sunday afternoon.
â€œThis was very special for us,â€ said Patagones team captain Gonzalo Avendano. â€œWe lost in the finals of the Ylvisaker Cup by a single goal (to
Patagones had the determination to take the cup this time out, but opted to do it in dramatic fashion.
Julio Gracida scored the opening goal of the game but Lechuza responded with three goals from Guille Aguero and a single goal from Santiago Toccalino for a 4-1 lead after two chukkers.
Carlos Gracida and Gonzalo Avendano got on the scoreboard in the third chukker with Tomas Gotiâ€™s goal being the sole offense from Lechuza, but as the teams left the field for halftime, Patagones trailed 5-3.
Patagones returned to the field with new energy in the fourth chukker. Carlos Gracida converted a penalty shot for a goal and nephew Julio Gracida scored from the field. The Patagones defense kept Lechuza from scoring, tying the game at 5-5.
With Patagones pressing the ball in the Lechuza goal area in the fifth chukker, Guille Aguero stole the ball and carried it over 250 yards for a goal. Lechuza was back on top, 6-5.
A determined Patagones fought its way back into the game with two well-played goals from Carlos Gracida. After five chukkers of play, Patagones led 7-6.
Goti tied the game at 7-7 in the sixth chukker before an almost super-human effort by Carlos Avendano gave Patagones an 8-7 advantage.
â€œWe thought we had it, then we didnâ€™t,â€ said Carlos Avendano of sixth chukker play, reflecting on the tying goal made by Victor Vargas as time was running out.
Vargas tied it again at 8-8 as regulation time expired and both teams prepared for a sudden-death overtime.
After a ten-minute rest, both teams returned to the field. Lechuza took the opening throw-in, with Vargas carrying the ball toward the Patagones goal. With a final shot at the goal, the ball drifted wide, and Patagones lived to play on.
Patagones knocked the ball in from its end and carried it down the field. A shot at the Lechuza goal was deflected, and with several players scrambled for the ball.
Carlos Avendano came up with it and carried it toward the sideboards. He turned it around and started toward the goal.
â€œHe told me what he was going to do,â€ said brother Gonzalo Avendano, â€œand I told him not to. I told him it wouldnâ€™t work.â€
Carlos Avendano continued pushing toward the Lechuza goal with mallets being swung and horses crashing in on him until he finally launched a shot toward the goal that carried through. Patagones had survived the overtime period and captured the Iglehart Cup in a hard-fought 9-8 game.
Carlos Gracidaâ€™s gray mare Legend won Best Playing Pony honors while Carlos Avendano was named MVP.