By Alex Webbe
Sunday was a full day of polo at the International Polo Club in Wellington with the finals of the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup and the finals of the 20-goal Haas Cup (Ylvisaker Cup subsidiary).

The highlight of the day was the 3pm finals of the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup, featuring the top two scorers in the tournament, Audi’s Nic Roldan with 38 goals and Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano with 35 goals in five games, but it wouldn’t be the high-scoring match that many had anticipated. The first chukker opened up with both teams blowing up and down the field at full tilt. Coca-Cola’s standout Back, Tommy Collingwood, scored the first goal of the game just 90 seconds into the opening chukker, but Nico Pieres responded with an immediate answering goal for a 1-1 tie. Mariano Gracida closed out the scoring with his first goal of the day for a 2-1 Audi edge. Audi missed a pair of penalty shots and Coca-Cola’s Gillian Johnston broke free and scored to tie it up at 2-2. Collingwood’s second goal of the game ended the second chukker with Coca-Cola in front, 3-2. Julio Arellano and Roldan exchanged goals in the third, with Arellano scoring from the field and Roldan converting a penalty shot for a goal. At the end of the first half Audi trailed 4-3. Roldan tied it up at 4-4 in the opening seconds of the fourth period on a penalty shot, but Erskine managed to give the lead back to Coca-Cola, 5-4, on a goal from the field. Arellano scored on a 40-yard penalty shot, as Coca-Cola extended its lead to two goals, 6-4. Nico Pieres scored his first goal of the afternoon in the final 12 seconds of the chukker, cutting the Coca-Cola lead to a single goal, 6-5. Roldan scored from the field and Coca-Cola committed a Penalty 1 giving another goal to Audi for a 7-6 lead. Gals from Johnston and Erskine closed out the scoring in the chukker with Coca-Cola salvaging their lead, 8-7.

Errant shots and deft defenses allowed no scoring from the field in the final chukker of regulation play, but an early foul by Coca-Cola send Roldan to the penalty line where he converted a 40-yard shot for a goal and an 8-8 tie. Coca-Cola was unable to respond, and the teams were forced into a sudden-death overtime period. Each team had a run at the opposing goal before an Audi penalty in the goal mouth sent Arellano to the penalty line where he converted a short shot for the win. Roldan, a player who had led all scoring in Ylvisaker Cup play with an average of nearly eight goals per game was held to four goals on the day. Pieres added three goals and Gracida scored once in the loss. Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano who was second in scoring to Roldan going into the game with 35 goals in five games for an average of seven goals per game was held to just three scores in the win. Teammates Collingwood, Johnston and Erskine scored two goals apiece for the win. Erskine received double honors at the end of the match. He was named Most Valuable Player for his personal efforts and his eight-year-old Bay mare, Leyla, was honored as Best Playing Pony.

Earlier in the day, Port Mayaca downed Faraway 9-8 in the finals of the George Haas Cup Sunday morning in a game that went into sudden death overtime to decide the outcome. The 19-goal Port Mayaca team received one goal by handicap from the 20-goal Faraway lineup and added another on a 60-yard penalty shot from Carlucho Arellano. Faraway tied it up on a pair of goals from Pelon Escapite (one from the field and another on a penalty conversion). Escapite added another goal from the field to the Faraway total in the second chukker, but single goals from Robert Orthwein and Arellano (penalty goal) kept Port Mayaca in front, 4-3 as the period ended. Two more penalty goals from Arellano in the third had Port Mayaca holding a 6-4 lead over a struggling Faraway foursome. Hutton Goodman scored the only goal of the chukker for Faraway, who trailed 6-4 at the end of the first half. Santiago Chavanne scored his first goal of the game in the fourth chukker, followed by a tying goal from the field from Escapite and a 40-yard penalty conversion. The Faraway defense held Port Mayaca scoreless and left the field with their first lead of the game, 7-6.

The two teams traded single goals in the fifth, with Chavanne scoring first to stretch the Faraway lead to two goals, 8-6. Stevie Orthwein cut the Faraway lead to a single goal with a goal from the field with 13 seconds left in the chukker. Faraway continued to lead but the margin was cut to a single goal once again, 8-7. Both defenses clamped down in the sixth with neither team being able to score in the early goings. With just over a minute left in regulation time Stevie Orthwein tied it up at 8-8 and forced a sudden-death overtime period. After a brief intermission, both teams returned to the field. Port Mayaca had the first run at goal, but was turned aside by the Faraway defense. Chavanne followed up with a long shot at goal that went wide. Arellano finally made good on a goal shot with less than three minutes gone in the overtime period. Port Mayaca celebrated the Haas Cup win with a 9-8 winning score.

Arellano led the Port Mayaca offense with five goals on the day, including five penalty conversions for goals and the winning goal in overtime. He was named MVP for his efforts. Stevie Orthwein added two goals and Robert Orthwein scored once in the win. Escapite’s five goals (two on penalty shots) set the pace for Faraway. Chavanne was credited with two goals and Goodman added a goal in the loss. Marianito Obregon’s Portena, a 12-year-old Chestnut mare, was named Best Playing Pony. A total of 14 teams took place.


The Standings:
1. Coca-Cola (+20)
Gillian Johnston (+1)
Sugar Erskine (+7)
Julio Arellano (+9)
Tommy Collingwood (+3)

2. Audi (+20)
Marc Ganzi (+1)
Nico Pieres (+8)
Nic Roldan (+8)
Carlitos Gracida (+3)

3. Port Mayaca (+19)
Robert Orthwein (+3)
Carlucho Arellano (+5)
Marianito Obregon (+7)
Stevie Orthwein (+4)

4. Faraway Polo (+20)
Hutton Goodmann (0)
Juan Monteverde (+5)
Santiago Chavanne (+9)
Pelon Escapite (+6)


www.internationalpoloclub.com