By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: ChukkerTV
WELLINGTON, FL, February 18, 2021— In yesterday’s All Star Challenge semi-finals, Richard Mille defeated Casablanca by 10-9 while Hawaii Polo Life took down Seminole Casino 12-7.
In the first semifinal of the day, Richard Mille (Marc Ganzi, Jeta Castagnola, Pablo MacDonough and Paco de Narvaez) faced off against Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Barto Castagnola, and Juan Martin Nero).
Play was fast and clean in the first chukker, with 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough scoring the first goal of the day on a long pass from Jeta Castagnola. Marc Ganzi followed up by slamming an impressive 80-yard shot through the posts to put Richard Mille up by 2-0. Casablanca got onto the board when Barto Castagnola jumped out in front to take a pass from Juan Martin Nero and run to goal, while Juancito Bollini followed up to bring the score to 2-all.
Following a foul by son Grant, Marc Ganzi converted a Penalty 2 to end the chukker with Richard Mille leading by 3-2. Casablanca saw their greatest success in the second chukker, keeping Richard Mille off the board while Juan Martin Nero converted a Penalty 3 and Barto Castagnola made a long shot on goal to end the chukker 4-3 with Casablanca in the lead. The third chukker was back and forth, with both teams shooting long to the goal. Neither was able to put the ball through and the half ended with Casablanca still leading 4-3.
Richard Mille came back with guns blazing in the fourth and Paco de Narvaez walked the ball to goal to tie the score at 4-all. Casablanca made a couple of costly fouls, allowing Jeta Castagnola to score on two Penalty 4 shots, while Marc Ganzi made another long shot to goal. Richard Mille was up by 7-4 before Barto Castagnola found the uprights to end the chukker at 7-5. Within the first 30 seconds of the fifth chukker, Barto found the goal again to nip at Richard Mille’s heels with a score of 7-6. Jeta sank a 60-yard shot to put the score up to 8-6, but a foul by Richard Mille allowed Juan Martin Nero to convert a Penalty 3. With 3:43 left to play.
Marc Ganzi took the ball from the throw-in and easily ran to goal. Another foul by Casablanca allowed Jeta Castagnola to convert a Penalty 2 and the chukker ended 10-7 with Richard Mille in the lead. Richard Mille didn’t score in the final chukker, but the 3-point lead going into the sixth was enough to give them the match. A goal by Juancito Bollini and Penalty 2 from Barto Castagnola wasn’t enough to get by Richard Mille and they won the semi-final by 10-9.
In the second semi-final match of the day, Seminole Casino (Melissa Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, and Juan Martin Zubia) met Hawaii Polo Life (Chris Dawson, Jejo Taranco, Poroto Cambiaso, and Adolfo Cambiaso). With a team handicap of 24 goals, Seminole Casino started the match with two goals on handicap.
Adolfo Cambiaso started the match off with a quick demonstration of prowess, taking the ball from the throw-in and running it straight to goal in the first 15 seconds of play. It was five minutes of fast back and forth before Alejandro Novillo Astrada connected with a pass from Nic Roldan and put the ball through. Just before the 30-second buzzer, Cambiaso scored again to end the chukker with Hawaii Polo Life down by one goal, at 2-3.
Early in the second chukker, Nic Roldan and Alejandro Novillo Astrada took the ball coast to coast, with Roldan finishing up at the posts. Poroto Cambiaso converted a Penalty 2, while his father Adolfo slammed the ball downfield for another goal, ending the period with the scored tied 4-all. Play was nip and tuck in the third chukker, and Hawaii Polo Life couldn’t find the goal. Nic Roldan made an impressive shot from the right of the goal, and the half ended 5-4 with Seminole Casino in the lead.
In the fourth chukker, neither team was able to score, and the period ended with an umpire challenge by Seminole Casino. The challenge was rejected at the beginning of the fifth, resulting in a Penalty 2 conversion by Adolfo Cambiaso. The tables turned on Seminole Casino decisively. Hawaii Polo Life succeeded not only in keeping them off the board, but scoring five goals during the chukker, including two penalty conversions from Poroto, a fleld goal from Jejo Taranco, and back-to-back goals from Chris Dawson.
Seminole Casino found themselves in a tough spot going in to the final chukker. Even a deficit of two goals all too often is a death sentence against Cambiaso, and the team in purple was down by five. Taranco found the posts barely a minute into play, putting Seminole Casino behind by 6, but with 5:54 left to play Nic Roldan took the ball from the bowl-in and ran it downfield to score. Alejandro Novillo Astrada came a hair’s breadth from the goal, but at the very last second the ball was swept away by Adolfo Cambiaso. With 3:15 remaining, Jejo Taranco made a 220-yard run downfield with Nic Roldan in hot pursuit. Taranco made it to the posts, scoring the final goal of the day for Hawaii Polo Life. With just under two minutes remaining, Alejandro Novillo Astrada hammered the ball 100 yards for a goal. The match ended with Hawaii Polo Life winning by 12-7. Poroto Cambiaso was the high scoring player of the day with four goals to his credit.
Founded by Grand Champions owners and president Melissa and Marc Ganzi, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL was created to preserve the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the United States. The WPL, boasting 11 tournament-quality fields to play on, will follow the season opening All-Star Challenge with a number of top-level tournaments that will include: Founder’s Cup, Palm Beach Open, Triple Crown of Polo, and Beach Polo World Cup, Miami Beach April 21-25.
The World Polo League attracts the sport’s top players from every corner of the world, including: Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, an exercise track, five climate controlled tack rooms, a vet room, staff quarters, a guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and plans to build more in the future.
World Polo League matches will continue to be closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We closely adhere to Florida state and CDC guidelines, and take all measures possible to maintain a safe environment that will allow us to continue playing. We look very forward to the day we can welcome our fans back. In the interim, please visit www.worldpolo.org for more information. Matches can be viewed on www.chukkertv.com.
21 All Star Challenge Schedule
3pm All Star Challenge Final
Richard Mille vs Hawaii Polo Life