by U.S. Polo Correspondent Alex Webbe
At the first weekend of the Monty Waterbury Cup the teams White Birch and Equuleus were successful. From July 20 to August 3, four teams compete for the coveted Monty Waterbury Cup at the Bridgehampton Polo Club. Over the course of eight days, the teams, composed of some of the top high-goal players in the world, take part in exciting polo matches.
Powered by six goals from Brazilian +7-goaler Joao Ganon, White Birch (Del Walton, Joao Ganon, Matias Magrini, and Remington Muller) beat Lechuza (Victor Vargas, Tomas Goti, Juan Martin Nero, Mariano Gracida) in the opening game of the +20-goal Monty Waterbury Cup at the Bridgehampton Polo Club Saturday afternoon.
All the goals in the opening chukker came as the result of fouls with Joao Ganon scoring for White Birch with a penalty conversion in the opening minutes of play. Tomas Goti and Victor Vargas converted penalty shots for Lechuza who left the field with a 2-1 lead. A 60-yard penalty shot from Goti stretched the Lechuza lead to two goals, 3-1, to open the second period. Ganon responded with a pair of goals for White Birch and it was all even at 3-3. The third chukker belonged to White Birch. Ganon scored on a pair of penalty shots followed by a goal from the field from Matias Magrini. Lechuza was unable to break through the White Birch defence and fell behind 6-3 at the end of the first half.
Magrini’s second goal of the game put White Birch on top by four goals, 7-3, in the fourth chukker when Lechuza returned fire. Goti scored three goals in a row (one on a penalty shot) to end the period just one goal off of the lead, 7-6. Goals from Ganon and Del Walton went unanswered in the fifth. The chukker ended with White Birch carrying a three goal, 9-6, lead into the final chukker. Goti’s sixth goal of the game was sandwiched between goals from Walton, as the White Birch lead grew to 11-7. Lechuza’s Mariano Gracida and Juan Martin Nero scored the final goals of the game for Lechuza but it was White Birch with the 11-9 win.
Ganon was credited with six goals for White Birch. Carroll added three goals and nabbed MVP honours. Magrini scored twice in the victory. Goti led Lechuza with six goals. Nero, Gracida and Vargas each scored a goal in the loss. Mariano Aguerre’s Deenali, played by Joao Ganon, was honoured as Best Playing Pony.
Equuleus (Joe DiMenna, Mariano Gonzalez, Magoo Laprida and Martin Pepa) beat Heathcote (Steve Lefkowitz, Naco Taverna, Tommy Biddle and Nick Manifold) Sunday afternoon 10-7 in Monty Waterbury Cup play at the Equuleus field in a match that left the Heathcote players frustrated and bewildered.
Heathcote received three goals by handicap from the 20-goal Equuleus team in Monty Waterbury Cup action and added to it in the first chukker with goals from Tommy Biddle (penalty conversion) and Nick Manifold while holding Equuleus to goals from Martin Pepa and Mariano Gonzalez for a 5-2, but that was when the wheels came off the wagon. Heathcote was held scoreless for the next four chukkers. Equuleus scored four unanswered goals in the second chukker with Magoo Laprida putting in two from the field while Pepa and Gonzalez (penalty goal) scored single goals. The chukker ended with Equuleus on top of a 6-5 score. Three more goals in the third by Equuleus stretched the lead to four goals as Gonzalez converted two more penalty shots and Pepa added another goal from the field. At the halfway mark Equuleus was leading 9-5 while Heathcote struggled for an answer.
Both teams struggled through a scoreless fourth chukker with a number of Heathcote shots on goal either hitting the goal post or just missing the mark. Equuleus managed just a single goal from the field from Pepa while Heathcote’s scoring drought continued. Heathcote trailed by five goals, 10-5, going into the final chukker. Goals from Biddle and Heathcote team captain Steve Lefkowitz were coupled with a defence that limited Equuleus to just one second half goal as time ran out. The final horn sounded with Equuleus celebrating the 10-7 win.
Gonzalez and Pepa scored four goals apiece for Equuleus. Magoo Laprida added two goals for the win. Biddle scored twice for Heathcote with teammates Manifold and Lefkowitz adding single goals in the loss. Heathcote also received three goals by handicap. Heathcote won’t have much of a rest with Monty Waterbury Cup action scheduled to continue with a Wednesday game between White Birch Farm and Heathcote. The last time these two teams met was in the finals of the recently played East Coast Open, with White Birch escaping with a 9-6 win.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Heathcote’s Tommy Biddle after the game. “We had a good first chukker and then all seemed to have horse troubles in the second and third chukkers. It’s nothing you can plan on, but it does happen every now and then. We couldn’t buy a goal today. I don’t think they (Equuleus) crossed midfield in the fourth chukker, but we just couldn’t put the ball between the goalposts.”
Juan Martin Nero