Due to forecasted inclement weather towards the end of the week at Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, it was the decision of the Host Tournament Committee that the 2017 East Coast Open Semifinals be rescheduled to an earlier date—Tuesday, September 5.
Hublot and Audi took to the field in the first game of semifinal play on Field 1. Hublot (1-1) with a combined handicap of 18 goals received a two-goal advantage at the onset of the game versus 20-goal Audi (1-1). The teams traded goals in the first; Audi’s Francisco Mera (substitute for injured Nick Manifold) scored the first goal of the game, Marcos Garcia del Rio answered shortly after with a goal for Hublot to maintain the gap. Audi then laid down the hammer, scoring nine unanswered goals in three-and- a-half chukkers before Marcos Garcia del Rio was able to score again for Hublot at the end of the fifth. Trailing by six, Hublot had their work cut out for them in the final chukker. Audi initially seemed to take their foot off the gas, allowing Hublot the opportunity to put a few on the board. Two goals later (one from Tommy Biddle and a third from Marcos Garcia del Rio) however, and within four, the pressure was back on and the battle continued. Tomas Garcia del Rio was finally able to make his first goal of the game, a task that had been eluding him the entire match despite his numerous attempts, to close the scoring. Audi secured their position in the semifinal with a final score 10-7.
In the second semifinal, the undefeated young guns of GSA (2-0) faced off against Postage Stamp Farm (0-2) on Field 2.
Once again, differing team handicaps were at play as the 17-goal GSA combated 20-goal Postage Stamp Farm, receiving three initial goals on handicap. Building on their previous successes, GSA was quick out of the line-up scoring three unanswered goals to widen their lead 6-0 at the end of the first period. Postage Stamp Farm would steadily chip away at the deficit in the remainder of the first half. Brandon Phillips was able to score the first field goal for Postage Stamp Farm early in the second, while Kris Kampsen scored two fantastic back-to- back field goals to end the third. The fourth would prove to be Postage Stamp Farm’s best chukker. Outscoring their opponents, Phillips, Kampsen and Lucas Escobar (substitute for Annabelle Gundlach) added a goal apiece to close the gap to three, 9-6 in favor of GSA.
Two more goals from Phillips, brought Postage Stamp Farm back within one goal, but their comeback was short lived. GSA fired back up, Toro Ruiz and Henry Porter playing lights out with two goals each in the last two chukkers. Postage Stamp Farm took advantage of the final throw-in and Kris Kampsen stick-and- balled to goal for a concluding score, but GSA rode away with the win 13-9 securing their first East Coast Open Final appearance.
The 2017 East Coast Open Final will take place Sunday, September 10, at 3:00pm ET. To purchase tickets, please visit www.greenwichpolo.com. For those unable to attend in person, the final will be livestreamed on the USPA Polo Network.
Photos: Marcelo Bianchi