Power Horse (Walter Scherb, Michael Bickford, Agustin Merlos and Nic Roldan) took the early 8-7 lead over Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Sebastian Merlos and Kris Kampsen) after the first day of the 20-goal Grand Champions Cup Friday afternoon at the Grand Champions Polo Club, but a strong Sunday morning showing and a balanced attack carried Casablanca to the 18-17 win
The Grand Champions Cup was designed to be played in two parts with the two teams playing for six chukkers on Friday and then carrying the score from Friday’s game into Sunday where they played another six chukkers in a continuation format, 12-chukker game with the scores being combined for the total. Power Horse came out on top after Friday’s first six chukkers, 8-7, but Casablanca exploded for eight first half goals on their way to the exciting 18-17 victory (a combination of the goals from Friday and Sunday).
Juancito Bollini opened the scoring for Casablanca in Sunday morning’s continuation of the match, tying the score at 8-8. Agustin “Tincho” Merlos answered back with a goal for Power Horse, 9-8. Bollini’s second goal of the day ended the first chukker in a 9-9 tie.
Grant Ganzi scored the first goal of the second chukker, moving Casablanca into the lead, 10-9. Walter Scherb responded with a goal for Power Horse to level the score once again, 10-10. Sebastian Merlos closed out the scoring in the chukker by converting a 60-yard penalty shot (Safety) for the go-ahead goal, 11-10.
Casablanca went on a tear in third period action. Goals from Bollini and Ganzi got the ball rolling followed by a pair of goals from Sebastian Merlos. Power Horse was held scoreless in spite of a number of scoring opportunities and Casablanca rode off the field at the end of the first half with a comfortable 15-10 lead.
Bollini’s fourth goal of the match got the second half started as Casablanca increased their lead to six goals, 16-10. Goals from Tincho Merlos and Walter Scherb cut into the Casablanca lead but at the end of the day’s fourth chukker Casablanca maintained a healthy 16-12 advantage.
A fifth chukker Power Horse rally saw Tincho Merlos score all three fifth chukker goals as the Power Horse defense shut down the Casablanca attack. Casablanca maintained the lead, but Power Horse was trailing by a single goal, 16-15.
Kris Kampsen came alive in the final chukker, scoring the first goal of the final chukker to extend the Casablanca lead to two goals, 17-15. Tincho Merlos countered with a goal for Power Horse, 17-16. Kampsen’s second goal of the game had Casablanca on top, 18-16, with time running out. Tincho Merlos scored the last goal of the game, but it wasn’t enough as Casablanca held on for the 18-17 victory.
Sebastian Merlos led the balanced Casablanca attack with three goals. Bollini, Ganzi and Kampsen scored two goals apiece for the win. Kampsen earned MVP honors. Tincho Merlos scored a game-high seven goals for Power Horse. Scherb added two goals in a losing effort.