Six teams battle for 2012 USPA Fall Plates

Piaget, Flat Out and Polo Gear/ROX TV win in USPA Fall
Plates opening games

Alex Webbe

After suffering rain delays and high-wind postponements,
the Grand Champions Polo Club’s 2012 USPA Fall Plates tournament got underway
with three matches that had Piaget, Flat Out and Polo Gear/Rox TV ring up
victories in the opening round of play.

With six teams in the 14-goal competition, and top stars including
Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan, Mariano Gonzalez, Tommy Biddle, Jason Crowder, Kris
Kampsen, Brandon Phillips and the legendary Carlos Gracida, the action was
fast-paced and full of excitement.

Piaget (Melissa Ganzi, Wes Finlayson, Juan Bollini and
Mariano Gonzalez) opened the day with a 12-7 win over Ruby Q (Brian Street,
Diego Cossio, Tommy Biddle and Joey Casey) at the Palm City Polo Club in Boca

Wes Finlayson and Tommy Biddle exchanged first chukker
goals before a determined Piaget defense shut out Ruby Q in the second
frame.  Goals by Finlayson and Melissa Ganzi
went unanswered and Piaget took a 3-1 lead.

Biddle converted a penalty shot for a goal in the third,
but single goals from Finlayson, Juan Bollini and Mariano Gonzalez gave Piaget
a comfortable 6-2 halftime advantage.

Biddle scored one goal from the field and another on a penalty
shot in the fourth.  Piaget responded with
a Finlayson’s fourth goal of the day and the period ended with Ruby Q behind by
three goals, 7-4.

Piaget extended its lead to four goals in the fifth on
the strength of a pair of goals from Gonzalez and another goal from Melissa
Ganzi.  Ruby Q managed single goals from
Diego Cossio and Biddle (penalty conversion) but continued to trail, 10-6.

Biddle’s sixth goal of the game, and fourth via penalty,
was the last offensive outburst by Ruby Q. 
Piaget scored the last two goals of the game with Melissa Ganzi notching
her third and Gonzalez scoring his fourth in the 12-7 victory.


The action returned to the Grand Champions Polo Club in
Wellington for a pair of afternoon games with Flat Out (Sarah Knapp, Brandon
Phillips, Jeff Hall and Paul Knapp) recording a 9-6 win over Newport/Equine Law
(Avery Chapman, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen and Gene Goldstein).

A disciplined defense kept Newport/Equine Law from scoring
in the first and third chukkers with Jason Crowder registering the only goal of
the first half for his team in a shot from the field.  Brandon Phillips scored once; Paul Knapp added
two goals for Flat Out, with Jeff Hall chipping in three more for a commanding
6-1 halftime lead.

Newport/Equine Law came alive in the fourth with single
goals from Crowder and Gene Goldstein. 
Phillips scored the only goal of the chukker, as Flat Out held a four
goal lead, 7-3.

Crowder and Kris Kampsen added goals to the Newport/Equine
Law total in the fifth period.  Paul
Knapp converted a penalty shot and Newport/Equine Law cut the lead to three
goals, 8-5.

Gene Goldstein scored his first goal of the game in the
final chukker, with Hall responding with his fourth goal of the game in Flat
Out’s 6-6 win.


You would have thought that with American 8-goaler Nic Roldan
and polo legend Carlos Gracida on the field that the final game of the day
would be a real barn-burner, but such was not the case.  With no scoring by either team in the opening
chukker and a single goal from Audi’s Joaquin Panelo defense was the rule of the day as in a 1-0 Audi (Marc
Ganzi, Joaquin Panelo, Nic Roldan and Jacelyn Grouix) match after the first two
periods of play.

Carlos Gracida got Polo Gear/ROX TV (Grant Ganzi, Stevie
Orthwein, Carlos Gracida and Carlitos Gracida) on the scoreboard in the third
while he and his teammates kept Audi off of the scoreboard to edge Audi, 2-1,
at the end of the first half.

Audi got right back into the hunt in the second half with
single goals from Marc Ganzi and Nic Roldan. 
 Carlitos Gracida answered with a
goal from the field and a 3-3 tie.

No scoring by either team in the fifth period made for a
boring score, but the action was fast-paced. 
Carlos Gracida ended the suspense with precious little time left in the
match for the ultimate 4-3 victory.

The most exciting subplot of the match might have been
the fact that Grant Ganzi’s Polo Gear/ROX TV team beat his father’s Audi entry.

Action in the 2012 USPA Fall Plates at the Grand
Champions Polo Club is scheduled to be completed on either Monday or Tuesday of
this week.