San Saba Holds on for the Win
By Alex Webbe
San Saba (1-0) rebounded from last Sundayâ€™s loss in the finals of the Joe Barry Memorial to score an exciting 13-12 victory over a talented EFG Bank (0-1) team in the opening round of play in the 2009 Ylvisaker Cup at the International Polo Club in Wellington Saturday afternoon.
â€œAll I could think of was the number of times we had been ahead by five goals going into the final chukker of play and lost,â€ said San Saba team captain Tommy Lee Jones.
That was not the case this time. After a 1-1 first chukker that had the teams testing one anotherâ€™s strengths and weaknesses San Saba exploded with five goals in the second chukker. Sapo Caset scored four times and Carlucho Arellano added a single goal. EFG Bank managed a single goal from Carluchoâ€™s older brother, Julio Arellano, as San Saba took a commanding 6-2 lead.
EFG Bank tried to fight its way back into it in the third chukker as Julio Arellano converted a penalty shot and scored twice from the field, and cut the San Saba lead to two goals, 7-5, at halftime.
Defenses tightened in the fourth period with San Saba getting goals from Carlucho Arellano and Toto Collardin while EFG Bank was held to a single penalty goal from Julio Arellano. San Saba carried a three goal lead into the fifth chukker, 9-6, but EFG Bank wasnâ€™t ready to concede anything.
â€œWe each have nine good horses,â€ said Jones, when asked about the depth of the San Saba stables, â€œso we felt good about that, but anything can happen in polo.â€
Attacks were launched and rejected throughout the fifth period with foul shots supplying the only scoring of the chukker. Luis Escobar scored twice for EFG Bank while Caset converted three penalty shots for San Saba.
â€œI was a bit concerned about the final chukker,â€ said Caset. â€œWe had been leading by a few goals throughout the game,â€ he said, â€œand I was afraid that we might lose focus, get a little careless in the final chukker.â€
Caset had good reason to be concerned. Trailing 12-8, Julio Arellano converted a penalty shot in the opening minute of the final chukker to make it 12-9. Escobar scored from the field to make it 12-10 before Whistle Uysâ€™ second goal of the game made it a one goal game, 12-11.
â€œThey took some chances in the final chukker,â€ said Caset, â€œI knew they would, and they converted them,â€ he said. â€œI was quite concerned.â€
Carlucho Arellano finally answered with a goal for San Saba as the team struggled for control. Uys scored again for EFG Bank, but it wasnâ€™t enough. The final bell sounded with San Saba on the winning side of a 13-12 game.
â€œWeâ€™re concentrating on having a little more fun.â€ Said Jones after the game, â€œand it seems to be turning out alright for us.â€
Caset led all scoring with eight goals. Carlucho Arellano scored four times and Toto Collardin added a goal for the win.
Julio Arellano led the EFG Bank team with six goals. Teammates Whistle Uys and Luis scored three goals apiece.
Ylvisaker Cup play continues on Sunday with a 3pm game between Mt. Brilliant (0-0) and Lechuza Caracas (0-0). A noon game in the George Haas Cup will take place between Audi (0-1) and Lucchese (0-1).