by U.S. Polo Correspondent Alex Webbe

Pony Express (Bob Daniels, Wes Finlayson, Pancho Eddy and Tomas Goti) received one goal by handicap and added another three goals to it in the opening chukker for an early 4-1 lead that they never relinquished in a 13-9 win over Longfield (Hannah Buchan, Grant Ganzi, Brandon Phillips and Nic Roldan) Sunday afternoon in the finals of the 2013 USPA Sun Cup at the Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington.

Hannah Buchan scored the first goal of the day from the field in the opening minute of play (Pony Express received one goal by handicap) to tie it up at 1-1, but that would be as close as they would come for the balance of the day as Pony Express rode out to 9-5 halftime advantage in a game in which they dominated from start to finish.

Following Buchan’s first chukker goal, Pony Express got a single goal from Tomas Goti and two more from Pancho Eddy for a 4-1 first chukker lead. Nic Roldan scored first for Longfield in the second period, but once again, Pony Express reeled off three straight goals on two scores from Goti and Wes Finlayson’s first goal of the match. With 1:42 left in the second chukker, Pony Express was on top of a five goal, 7-2 score.

Roldan opened the third with a goal in the opening 30 seconds of play, and Grant Ganzi scored on a beautifully executed neck shot at 5:31 to cut the Pony Express lead to three goals, 7-4. Goals by Eddy and Goti, however, restored the five goal lead, 9-4. A Pony Express penalty sent Grant Ganzi to the penalty line in the final two minutes of the period where he converted the shot for his second goal of the chukker. At the end of the first half it was all Pony Express, 9-5.

Eddy and Roldan exchanged goals in the opening minutes of the second half, 10-6, with Finlayson scoring on a sharp angle shot for the final goal of the period. Pony Express was leading 11-6 as they left the field at the end of the fourth chukker.

Lucas Lalor took Roldan’s place in the fifth (sore ribs), and for the first time all day long Longfield shut out the Pony Express offense. Grant Ganzi scored the only two goals of the period, cutting the Pony Express lead to three goals, 11-8. Goals from Goti and Eddy put Pony Express back on top by five, 13-8, in the final period. Lalor scored the final goal of the game for Longfield in the 13-9 Pony Express victory.

Goti led all scoring with five goals. Finlayson added four goals and Eddy was credited with three goals in the win. The team received one goal by handicap. Grant Ganzi and Roldan set the pace for Longfield with four goals apiece. Buchan added one in the loss. Pancho Eddy was named MVP while X-Box, ridden by Grant Ganzi, received Best Playing Pony honors.


ELG WINS CONSOLATION ROUND ROBIN
Avery Chapman’s ELG lineup (Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini, Carlucho Arellano and Avery Chapman) scored wins over KIG and Palm House to take the consolation round robin earlier in the day at Grand Champions Polo Club. KIG (Bash Kazi, Marc Ganzi, Kris Kampsen and Juan Bollini) opened the day with a 3-3 tie in the opening three chukkers of the three team round robin.

After a scoreless first chukker, KIG took a 2-1 lead on goals from Marc Ganzi and Juan Bollini. Palm House managed a single goal from Tommy Biddle. Marc Ganzi converted a penalty shot to put KIG up, 3-1 in the third, but consecutive goals from Biddle ended the mini-match in a 3-3 deadlock. KIG held the field for the second three-chukker mini-match, and quickly went up, 1-0, on a penalty conversion for a goal from Ganzi. Juancito Bollini and Lucas Lalor responded with single goals. At the end of the first chukker ELG led, 2-1.

Neither team got on the scoreboard in the second period, but single goals were exchanged in the third as Kampsen tied it at 2-2 at the five minute mark. Lalor scored the winning goal with just 1:15 on the clock in the final chukker for the 3-2 victory. ELG made short work of Palm House in the final three chukkers of the round robin, picking up single goals from Carlucho Arellano and Juancito Bollini in the first chukker while shutting out the Palm House offense for a 2-0 lead. Penalty conversions from Arellano and Lalor in the second had ELG ahead, 4-0 when Martin Estrada took off on a 90-yard run for a goal. With one chukker left to play, ELG was in front, 4-1. Juancito Bollini’s second goal of match was answered by a pair of goals from Palm House’s Glen Straub (one on a penalty shot) for the final 5-3 ELG win.