La Fe and CK Shack Strike First in the Joe Barry Memorial
Wellington, FL – Following a spectacular overtime Iglehart Cup victory for Beverly Polo over La Fe, the two teams met again in the opening of the Joe Barry Memorial at International Polo Club Palm Beach. A second thrilling contest ensued, as end-to-end play came to a captivating conclusion with La Fe’s Robi Bilbao guiding the ball between the posts at the end of regulation to take the game 12-11. The feature game of week on U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 showcased Patagones with an identical line-up from the 2020 against newcomers CK Shack. Relying on the familiarity and experience of CK Shack’s father-son duo of Matias Magrini and Keko “Keko” Magrini, along with Tomas Willans’ two goals, led CK Shack to the efficient 13-9 victory.
Kicking off the Joe Barry Memorial on Field 5, Francisco Elizalde ignited the scoring early for La Fe on a Penalty 3. The two teams evenly matched play was apparent from the outset, with Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr. answering in quick succession for Beverly Polo. Tied at 2-all to begin the second chukker, Elizalde kept the pressure on Beverly Polo scoring two more goals, followed by teammate Bilbao with his first of the match. Only managing to add one to the scoreboard in the second, Beverly Polo regrouped for the third on a quick goal from a knock-in for Ocampo Jr. Following a second consecutive goal for Ocampo Jr. from distance on a Penalty 5, 9-goaler Elizalde once again responded for La Fe. As both teams pushed in the remaining time before the half, Ocampo Jr. and Elizalde traded goals once more, resulting in La Fe emerging with a narrow 7-6 lead at halftime.
Continuing his dominant play Elizalde made his impression on the fourth chukker scoring back-to-back goals, including a brilliant near side back shot assisted by Lucas Escobar. Awarded a Penalty 3, Ocampo Jr. tapped in the only goal of the chukker for a trailing Beverly Polo. Displaying horsepower and speed, Bilbao carried the ball to the goal to open the fifth, where a determined Ocampo Jr. responded in succession for Beverly Polo from the field and goal line. Making strong contributions on defence throughout the day, Louis Devaleix broke onto the scoreboard for La Fe, finding his first of the tournament. Facing a two-goal deficit, Beverly Polo were not to be deterred, grinding offensively to tie the game on back-to-back goals from Ocampo Jr. and Alberdi. As the final minute of regulation ticked by with a tied score, it appeared the second consecutive matchup between Beverly Polo and La Fe would be determined in overtime but with only seconds remaining on the clock, Bilbao managed to secure the ball off a broken knock-in to carry the ball across the line and secure the last second, heart-pounding 12-11 victory.
In the second matchup of the day, Tomas Garcia del Rio opened the scoring for Patagones in front of eager spectators, but Kris Kampsen followed up with a successful Penalty 4 of his own for CK Shack, with Keko Magrini following suit and scoring his first, off a brilliant neck shot from the boards. Gaining experience in Santa Barbara during the summer, the Avendano brothers combined for three consecutive goals, as Patagones took an early 4-2 lead. Finding their footing halfway through the third chukker, CK Shack would finally erupt offensively scoring five goals to end the half, including three from veteran 7-goaler Matias Magrini to race ahead 7-4.
Emerging from the break trailing by three, Garcia del Rio pushed back for Patagones early in the fifth, however a quick response from newcomer Willans and another breakaway goal from Matias Magrini kept CK Shack in the lead. Despite Garcia del Rio continuing his success from the line at the end of the fourth, Kampsen answered with his own penalty conversion once again to begin the fifth. Remaining steadfast, CK Shack’s team play facilitated two more goals from Keko Magrini and Willans, while their ability to eliminate space on the field held Patagones to only one more Penalty 2 from del Rio to end the chukker. After running out of time earlier to score on a brilliant run in the second chukker, Santiago Wulff finally broke through with his first goal in the sixth, however, a vibrant Willans made one last soaring goal from near midfield to end the game in favor of CK Shack 13-9.
For his contributions in a spectacular five-goal chukker for CK Shack, Matias Magrini was awarded Most Valuable Player, while his “Don Ercole Guinea” was also named Best Playing Pony.
Semifinal action in the Joe Barry Memorial continues on Wednesday, January 12 between CK Shack and Beverly Polo at 11:00am ET, followed by Patagones against La Fe at 3:00pm ET.
Photo Credit @Alex Pacheco