Wellington, FL – March 7, 2021 – The highly-anticipated conclusion of the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup® did not disappoint on the Home of the U.S. Polo Assn – Field 1 as Park Place and Scone battled into overtime to determine the champion of the first leg in the Gauntlet of Polo® and the $100,000 prize. In a hard-fought, physical game where each team had their opportunities to raise the trophy, it was Hilario Ulloa who found Jack Whitman on the sideboards as he raced past David Paradice to send the ball through the goal and begin the exhilarating celebration for Park Place with the memorable 11-10 victory.
Scone entered the final with an undefeated 4-0 record but ran into a determined Park Place team that made them fight for each possession in an evenly matched contest. With the score never more than one goal apart after each chukker, the final was destined to go into overtime between Scone and Park Place, sporting nearly identical stats. Ulloa led Park Place offensively with seven goals while Scone received four goals each from Adolfo Cambiaso and Peke Gonzalez, but the game was ultimately decided by the smallest of margins in a classic at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).
A Penalty 4 conversion for Ulloa set an early tone for Park Place as they looked to hand Scone their first loss, matching the Cambiaso-led team stride for stride in the opening chukker. Whitman provided a response to Gonzalez’s first goal, leaving the teams tied at 2-2 after the first seven minutes. Defense was a key component of both team’s journey to the final and it was on display early as Scone held Park Place off the scoresheet in the second chukker, while Poroto Cambiaso accounted for the only goal to inch Scone ahead. After successfully keeping Scone off the penalty line in the first two chukkers, Place Place conceded their first Penalty 4 to Adolfo Cambiaso, as they faced their first two-goal deficit of the game, but before the end of the half, Hilario changed the momentum heading into halftime, scoring back-to-back goals to tie the game at 4-4.
Throughout the game, the teams were always within one goal of each other to make for an exciting final match-up. ©Alex Pacheco
Each push Scone made in the game was met by a resilient Park Place team that wouldn’t let Scone’s lead grow, despite the best efforts of their three-pronged attack of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, alongside Gonzalez. Asserting himself in the opening stages of the second half, Adolfo Cambiaso scored and then set up son Poroto for a two-goal fourth chukker that restored their one-goal advantage. In arguably their best chukker of the game, Park Place applied relentless pressure with Juan Britos scoring his only two goals of the game in a crucial run of three unanswered goals that left them ahead by one with one chukker remaining. With everyone on the edge of their seats, the final chukker displayed the elite level of play seen throughout the final, trading goals back and forth until Gonzalez picked up the ball on the nearside and put Scone ahead by one with 50 seconds left. In desperate need of a goal, Ulloa won the throw-in and drove downfield against a Scone defense that was desperately trying to complete the victory. Placing the ball in front of goal, Britos left it for Ulloa and he converted the neckshot with time expiring to send the game into overtime.
Park Place secured the win thanks to an overtime goal that pushed the score to 11-10. ©Alex Pacheco
A thrilling overtime chukker carried on for nearly five minutes with each team having their opportunities to claim victory. Scone had the first chance on a run to goal from Poroto Cambiaso, but the shot attempt went just wide as Park Place reorganized. Producing a chance of their own, Park Place’s Matt Coppola worked the ball in front of Scone’s goal but the ball rolled just outside the post, leaving the tense overtime chukker to continue. After thwarting another Scone attack, Ulloa found Whitman downfield and a perfectly hit shot from Whitman placed the ball in front of Scone’s goal. Racing past his defender, Whitman confidently hit the ball through and began the Park Place celebration as they were crowned the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup® champions.
For his overtime heroics, Whitman was awarded Most Valuable Player, while Best Playing Pony went to Hilario Ulloa’s Lavina Heroica. Crio Polo Argentino (Argentine Bred) Best Playing Pony was given to Mega Big Bay, owned by Lerin Zubiaurre and played by Juan Britos.
Park Place‘s Jack Whitman, pictured with Stewart Armstrong, Chairman of the United States Polo Association, was awarded Most Valuable Player. ©Alex Pacheco
Polo matches at IPC are not open to the general public except for ticketed Sunday brunch. Online viewing is available with a subscription at globalpolo.com.