Heathcote over Palm Beach Polo, 13-11; Flexjet rallies past Skaneateles, 12-11
Heathcote (Gene Goldstein, Lucas Arellano, Michel Dorignac and Tatin Zubiaurre) trailed 7-5 after the first half of Friday’s Top Pony 12-goal Series against Palm Beach Polo (Glen Straub, Matt Coppola, Tommy Biddle and Tommy Alberdi) at the Grand Champions Polo Club but rallied for eight second half goals to register a 13-11 win behind seven goals from Tatin Zubiaurre.
In a defensive pitch in the opening chukker, Tommy Alberdi scored the only goal of the first seven minutes of play. The Heathcote attack was unable to mount a successful attack and trailed early, 1-0.
Palm Beach Polo poured it on in the second chukker with team captain Glen Straub scoring his first goal of the day to make it 2-0. Tommy Biddle converted a penalty shot from the 30-yard line and Matt Coppola added two goals from the field as Palm Beach Polo sped out to a 5-0 lead. Tatin Zubiaurre scored the last two goals of the period with a goal from the field and a 60-yard penalty conversion. A jubilant Palm Beach Polo team rode off the field in front by three goals, 5-2.
Zubiaurre’s third goal of the day brought Heathcote to within two goals of the lead, 5-3. Biddle responded with a 40-yard penalty goal and a goal from the field, 7-3. A penalty goal from Zubiaurre and a goal from Gene Goldstein closed out the period with Palm Beach Polo holding on to the 7-5 halftime advantage.
Zubiaurre added two more goals as the second half got underway. Zubiaurre’s first goal came from the field, 7-6, countered by a goal from Coppola, 8-6. Zubiaurre scored the last goal of the chukker on a penalty conversion and ended the fourth chukker trailing by a single goal, 8-7.
The rhythm and teamwork of the Heathcote team continued to improve in the fifth chukker. Shutout defense was supported by three goals as Heathcote moved into the lead. A pair of goals from Michel Dorignac (one on a penalty conversion) and a penalty goal from Zubiaurre had them riding off the field with a remarkable 10-8 advantage and one chukker remaining to be played.
Palm Beach Polo attempted a final chukker rally but Heathcote was prepared. Matching them goal for goal, Heathcote rode on to capture the game and record the 13-11 victory.
Zubiaurre led all scoring with seven goals. Biddle’s five goals let the Palm Beach Polo attack.
Flexjet 12, Skaneateles 11
Flexjet needed three goals in the final chukker but managed to hand Skaneateles an opening loss in the 2016 Top Pony 12-goal Series with 12-11 victory.
Costi Caset got Skaneateles on the scoreboard first with a goal from the field but Flexjet responded in force. Two goals from Leo Mandelbaum and a penalty goal from English 6-goaler Malcolm Borwick ended the first chukker with Skaneateles trailing by two goals, 3-1.
Skaneateles returned fire in the second period with goals from Cesar Jimenez and Caset. Flexjet was unable to find the range and rode off the field at the end of the second chukker in a 3-3 tie.
Flexjet and Skaneateles exchanged goals in the third period with neither team gaining ground. Mariano Obregon opened up with a 30-yard penalty goal and a goal from the field for a 5-3 lead. Flexjet countered with single goals from Borwick and Grant Ganzi. The first half ended with the two teams all even at 5-5.
Skaneateles got a leg up on Flexjet in fourth chukker action, outscoring Flexjet 3-2. A pair of goals from Costi Caset and a single penalty conversion from Obregon were answered by two goals from Borwick (one on a penalty shot). After four periods of competition Skaneateles held a narrow one goal edge, 8-7.
Flexjet stormed onto the field for the fifth period. In a do-or-die game, goals from Borwick and Juancito Bollini were countered by a single goal from Obregon for a 9-9 deadlock.
Caset scored the first goal of the sixth chukker followed by a goal from Obregon that padded the lead for Skaneateles at 11-9, but Flexjet wasn’t ready to land yet. A goal from the field from Mandelbaum and two penalty goals from Borwick ended the match with Flexjet flying off with the dramatic 12-11 win.
Play continues in the Top Pony 12-goal Series on Sunday, March 20th with Three games scheduled to be played. Two games at 10am will feature Whitehall Ranch (Bill Lane, Marcos Alberdi, Miguelito Torres and Whistle Uys) and Heathcote in one game while Skaneateles faces Pony Express (Bob Daniels, Justin Daniels, Bautista Urbina and Tomas Goti). A noon contest will see Palm Beach Polo take the field against Beverly Polo (Bill Balhaus, Wes Finlayson, Ramiro Cordero and Luis Escobar).