Isla Carroll Downs EFG Bank 14-12

By Alex Webbe

There was no shortage of firepower in the opening game of the 2009 Joe Barry Memorial Cup at International Polo Club in Wellington Thursday morning. Twenty -six goals were scored in the six chukker contest that saw Isla Carroll hold on to beat EFG Bank 14-12 in a tale of two halves.

Isla Carroll’s Owen Rinehart scored the opening goal of the game, but two goals from EFG Bank’s Luis Escobar (on by penalty, one from the field) left them trailing 2-1 after the first chukker of play.

Sugar Erskine converted a penalty shot to even it at 2-2 in the opening minutes of the second chukker, and Isla Carroll got rolling. Another goal from Erskine and two more Rinehart had Isla Carroll on top 5-3 with a single goal from Julio Arellano accounting for EFG’s only score of the period.

The EFG defense seemed to have no answers to the powerful Isla Carroll offense with Rinehart and Erskine scoring two goals a piece for a 9-3 half time lead while holding EFG scoreless in the third chukker.

“We came out strong,” said Rinehart, “the team played well today. Sugar (Erskine) was fighting for the ball and making things happen, and John (Goodman) and Todd (Offen) provided great defense for us.”

EFG six-goaler Whistle Uys opened the second half followed by a penalty conversion from Escobar. Just when it look like EFG had gotten its sea legs, Erskine answered with a penalty goal and another goal from the field. The chukker ended with Isla Carroll sitting on a comfortable 11-5 lead.

“They started getting some breaks, and capitalized on them, ” said Erskine, “we’re going to have to tighten up our game as we move forward.”

Arellano scored the first goal of the fifth chukker, and Escobar added two more to cut the lead to three goals, but Rinehart’s sixth goal of the game closed the chukker with EFG trailing 12-8.

With seven-and-a-half minutes left to play, EFG made it clear that they had plenty of game left in them. Goals from Uys and Arellano were complimented by two more scores from Escobar. But the luck of the draw rode with South African 7-goaler Sugar Erskine. Two sixth chukker goals from Erskine proved to be the difference as Isla Carroll rode off the field with a 14-12 win over a scrappy and determined EFG Bank foursome.

“It’s the first game of the season,” said Erskine, some things went well and others we have to work on. I was pleased with the play of some of the horses and expecting a little more from others,” he added, “but I’ve got until Sunday to get them right.”

Erskine didn’t seem to need to offer any explanations scoring eight goals on the day. Teammate Owen Rinehart added six goals for the Isla Carroll win.

Luis Escobar led the EFG Bank scoring with seven goals. Julio Arellano scored three times and Whistle Uys added two goals.

Competition continues in the Joe Barry Memorial on Saturday when Patagones meet Lucchese at 3pm.