Valiente II wins 2012 Piaget Gold Cup

wins, Valiente loses

Alex Webbe

Robert Jornayvaz and his Valiente II teammates took
revenge on their loss in the C. V. Whitney Cup finals earlier this month by
scoring an 11-9 win over his father’s Valiente I foursome in the finals of the
2012 USPA Piaget Gold Cup at the International Polo Club in Wellington. The
second leg of America’s Triple Crown of Polo came with quite a scare, however. After
scoring six goals and leading his Valiente II team to a 10-8 lead over Valiente
I, Cambiaso was struck in the hand with the hard plastic ball and forced to
leave the game.  Juan Martin Nero,
Cambiaso’s Argentine Open Championship teammate, took his place for the
remainder of the contest in the 11-9 Valiente II victory.

Preliminary reports are positive with no broken bones,
and Cambiaso is expected to be back in the lineup for the next game.

Cambiaso scored all four of Valiente II’s first chukker
goals (two on penalty shots) while limiting Valiente I to single goals from
Polito Pieres and Miguel Astrada.  At the
end of the first chukker of play, Valiente II led, 4-2.

A goal from 10-goaler Pelon Stirling had Valiente ahead
5-2 until the last minute of the second chukker.  A penalty conversion by Nacho Astrada was quickly
followed up by Polito Pieres who scored a beautifully executed goal from the
throw-in, on a 150 yard run as time expired. 
Valiente I had cut the lead to a single goal, 5-4.

The first five minutes of the third period were a
defensive struggle.  Hard riding and
violent ride-offs set the tone until a Valiente I foul sent Cambiaso to the
penalty line where he converted a 60-yard penalty shot for a goal, 6-4.  Just one minute later, Miguel Astrada
responded with a goal from the field for Valiente I, 6-5.  A final run down the field by Stirling
resulted in a goal that ended the first half with Valiente II leading, 7-5.

Valiente II got into penalty trouble in the fourth chukker
with Nacho Astrada scoring on two consecutive penalty shots to tie it up at
7-7.  Alejo Taranco scored his first goal
of the game to put Valiente II back on top, 8-7, a lead they held for just
under two minutes.  Nacho Astrada scored
his first goal from the field to knot it up at 8-8.  A final penalty goal from Taranco ended the period
with Valiente II holding a narrow 9-8 edge over Valiente I.

Defense was at a premium in the fifth chukker with
neither team being able to break through to the opponent’s goal.  A Valiente I penalty finally sent Cambiaso to
the penalty line about four-and-a-half minutes into the period, where he
converted the shot for a goal, 10-8. 
Three minutes later while leading an attack on the Valiente I goal,
Cambiaso was hit in the mallet hand with the ball, sliding from his horse and wincing
in pain.  A time out was called and
medics quickly arrived at his side. 
After about ten minutes it was thought he would continue, but a brief
warm-up on the field convinced him that he had better sit down.  Ten-goaler Juan Martin Nero was called in to replace
Cambiaso and the game continued.  After riding
out the final 90 seconds of the chukker, Valiente II left the field with a two
goal, 10-8 advantage.

The pace continued to pick up in the final chukker with
Valiente I trying to take advantage of the new Valiente II lineup, but the pace
that Cambiaso had set earlier in the match continued.  Nero was a teammate of both Cambiaso’s and
Stirling’s last fall as they played together on the Argentine Open championship
La Dolfina team together, and Stirling and Nero looked quite comfortable
together on the field again.  Stirling
scored the first goal of the chukker on a very difficult cut shot at the north
end of the field, 11-8.  Valiente I
struggled to fight their way back into the game.  Pieres finally managed to make his way
through the Valiente II defense for the final goal of the match with two
minutes left to play.  Valiente II controlled
the ball for much of the final minutes of play before celebrating the 11-9 win.

Stirling was named MVP and had his 11-year-old gray Chilean
Thoroughbred, Capilla, was honored at
Best Playing Pony.

Cambiaso led all scoring with six goals (four on penalty
shots).  Stirling scored three times for
Valiente II and teammate Taranco added two goals in the victory.

Nacho Astrada scored four times for Valiente I (three on
penalties).  Pieres added three goals in
the match with Miguel Astrada accounting for two goals.

“It was a great game,” offered Bob Jornayvaz of his 11-9
loss to his son’s Valiente II team.  “He
(son Robert) played well we were in it all the way.”

“We had our chances,’ said Pieres.  “I never felt like we were out of the game,
but we missed some scoring opportunities.”

The injured Cambiaso appeared for the trophy ceremony
with a noticeable welt on the back of his right hand.

Cambiaso will have a little time for the hand to heal
with Valiente II not returning to action on Sunday, April 1 when they play
their opening game of the 2012 Nespresso US Open tournament against Coca-Cola. 


In earlier action, Piaget Black scored a 14-10 win over
Las Monjitas in the 2012 Butler Handicap at the International Polo Club.

Piaget Black received three goals by handicap and had a
number of opportunities to add to it, but poor penalty shooting had them
leading by only 4-1 after the opening chukker of play.  A goal from the field from 10-goaler Pablo
Macdonough (substituting for the injured Eduardo Astrada) was countered by a
single goal from Nic Roldan, with Piaget Black misfiring on a 40-yard and
60-yard penalty shots.

Roldan added a penalty goal to the Piaget Black total in
the second period while Javier Astrada added three goals from the field as Las
Monjitas seemed to have found themselves. 
The Piaget Black lead was down to one goal, 5-4.

Roldan showed why he is considered one of America’s top
players in the third, scoring three goals from the field and adding a penalty
conversion for four Piaget Black goals. 
Inaki Laprida answered with a single goal, as Las Monjitas fell four goals
back, 9-5.

The fourth chukker was no nicer to Las Monjitas, limited
to a single penalty goal from McDonald while watching Piaget Black pick up goals
from Rodrigo Andrade and Negro Astrada for an 11-6 lead.

The two teams traded goals in the fifth, with Las
Monjitas getting penalty goals from Macdonough and Javier Astrada.  Roldan scored both of the Piaget Black goals
(one on a penalty shot).  With one
chukker left to play, Piaget Black held a commanding 13-8 advantage.

Negro Astrada scored the opening goal of the final
chukker to give Piaget Black a six goal, 14-8 lead.  Las Monjitas continued to fight, with Laprida
adding tow final goals in the team’s 14-10 loss to Piaget Black.

Piaget black’s Roldan led all scoring with eight goals,
and was named MVP for his efforts.  Negro
Astrada scored twice and Rodrigo Andrade added a goal in the win, and the team
received three goals by handicap.  As an
added bonus, Roldan’s gray mare, Doña was honored as Best Playing

Javier Astrada
scored four times for Las Monjitas. 
Laprida and Macdonough added three goals apiece in the loss.