By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: ChukkerTV

WELLINGTON, FL, April 15, 2021— Richard Mille defeated Casablanca by 12-10 in the first semi-final match of the World Polo League Triple Crown of Polo while Tamera defeated Orea in the second semi-final by a score of 7-6.

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) in the first semi-final match of the WPL Triple Crown. Having fallen to Casablanca in their last two meetings, Richard Mille was eager to avenge the losses.


Jeta Castagnola goes for the goal on the near side with brother Barto in pursuit

Grant Ganzi drew first blood for Casablanca, quickly erasing Tamera’s one-goal advantage. The play was fast and open, and with 3:04 on the clock Jeta Castagnola stole the ball and put Richard Mille’s first goal on the board. Less than a minute later, Juan Martin Nero, who was celebrating his birthday yesterday, passed the ball to Grant Ganzi to put through the posts, ending the chukker with Casablanca leading 2-1.


Paco de Narvaez tries to push Juancito Bollini off the ball

The team in black was on fire in the second period, with Barto Castagnola taking the ball to goal from the throw-in, JuanMa sinking a near side neck shot, and Grant Ganzi scoring to put Casablanca in the lead 5-1. With one minute left to play, Pablo MacDonough scored on a quick chip shot to end the chukker with Richard Mille down by 3 goals at 5- 2. Jeta Castagnola stole the show in the third period, scoring one goal from the field and two from the penalty line for a hat trick. Brother Barto converted a Penalty 2 for Casablanca, and the half ended 6-5 with Casablanca holding on to a narrow lead.


Grant Ganzi attempts to take out Father Marc as Juancito Bollini goes for the ball

Both teams struggled a bit in the fourth chukker, and it was up to the Castagnola brothers to put goals on the board. Each went wide on a Penalty 4, but Jeta scored from the field in the first minute of the chukker while Barto converted a Penalty 2 with 1:44 left on the clock to maintain Casablanca’s one goal lead. Barto converted another Penalty 2 in the first 20 seconds, taking Casablanca up to 8, but Jeta Castagnola took the ball through the posts at 6:09. With 3:41 left on the clock, Marc Ganzi got out in front on a breakaway and tied the score up at 8-all. Nero answered with a goal, putting Casablanca in the lead again, but Pablo MacDonough scored the equalizer to end the fifth period in a 9-all tie.


Pablo MacDonough congratulated on his win

Jeta Castagnola started the final chukker with a near side goal from the throw-in, while Marc Ganzi followed up with an impressive long shot to goal to put Richard Mille in the lead 11-9. At 4:02 Castagnola took the ball through for Casablanca, but with 1:06 on the clock MacDonough scored a final goal to end the match 12-10 for Richard Mille to win.


Jejo Taranco goes for a back shot with Sugar Erskine in pursuit

In the second semi-final match of the day, Orea (Toly Ulloa, Sugar Erskine, Torito Ruiz, and Nacho Novillo Astrada) met Tamera (Ale Poma, Santi Torres, Diego Cavanaugh, and Jejo Taranco). Orea, a 26-goal team, ceded one goal to Tamera on handicap.


Torito Ruiz tries to evade Diego Cavanaugh and Jejo Taranco

Nacho Novilla Astrada took the ball from the throw-in and in less than 35 seconds made a near side shot to take away Tamera’s one goal advantage. Despite the dramatic opening seconds of the chukker, the remainder passed with both teams battling back and forth to no avail and the period ended 1-1.


Santi Torres takes a swing as Sugar Erskine looks on

Tamera’s defense held in the second period, keeping Orea off the goal. Tamera wasn’t able to score from the field but did convert two goals on penalties to gain a 3-1 lead over Orea. Both teams began sinking shots from the field in the third period of play as they traded goals back and forth. Ale Poma and Jejo Taranco scored for Tamera, while Sugar Erskine and Toro Ruiz ran to goal for Orea. The half ended with Tamera in the lead by 5-3.


Santi Torres keeps Sugar Erskine at bay as Ale Poma takes a shot

Less than a minute into the second half, Santi Torres converted a Penalty 2 to put Tamera in the lead 6-3. With 3:50 on the clock, Nacho Novilla Astrada carried the ball through and with only 38 seconds remaining Toro Ruiz found the goal to put Orea in striking distance at 5-6.


Adolfo Cambiaso takes in the action

In the pentultimate chukker, both teams were playing such a strong defense and marking so well that it was difficult for anyone to shoot on goal. Finally, with 1:23 remaining, Santi Torres was able to score the only goal of the period, which ended 7-5 with Tamera still leading. The final chukker saw continuing wide-open play and little scoring. Torito Ruiz put the final ball through for Orea and the match ended 7-6 with Tamera headed to the final on Saturday.

2021 Triple Crown of Polo Livestream Schedule

Saturday 4/17
4pm Final

Richard Mille vs Tamera

All games streamed live on http://www.chukkertv.com