Villa Del Lago narrowly edged ERG 11-10 in Joe Barry Memorial Cup action Sunday, Jan. 20 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.
Polito Pieres scored the first goal of the game in the opening 25 seconds of play to give Villa Del Lago the early lead. Jeff Blake responded with a goal for ERG, but Villa Del Lago’s Agustin Obregon closed out the scoring with a goal in the final 32 seconds of the chukker to make the score 2-1.
Three consecutive goals in the second period put Villa Del Lago on top, 5-1. The team got two goals from Pieres and another goal from Obregon. Paco de Narvaez put ERG on the scoreboard, but at the end of the second chukker, Villa Del Lago was in front by three goals, 5-2.
The two teams exchanged goals in the third, with Magoo Laprida scoring twice from the field, while ERG relied on a pair of penalty goals from de Narvaez. The first half ended with Villa Del Lago defending its two-goal lead, 6-4.
Two more goals from de Narvaez (one on a penalty shot) were offset by a pair of goals from Laprida, and the fourth chukker ended with Villa Del Lago maintaining its lead, 8-6.
Pieres added two more goals to the Villa Del Lago total in the fifth, but ERG got single goals from Scott Wood and de Narvaez (a 60-yard penalty conversion). ERG continued to trail by two goals, 10-8.
Just one minute into the final chukker, Blake scored to cut the Villa Del Lago lead to a single goal, 10-9, but ERG would get no closer. Pieres converted a penalty shot for a goal, 11-9. ERG continued to press its attack, but time wasn’t on its side. De Narvaez scored the final goal of the game, but the Villa Del Lago defense kept ERG off the scoreboard for the final three minutes of the game to ride off with the 11-10 win.
Pieres set the pace for Villa Del Lago with six goals, one on a penalty shot. Laprida and Obregon scored two goals each, and Villa Del Lago was awarded one goal on a Penalty 1 for dangerous riding in the area of the goal. ERG’s de Narvaez led all scoring with seven goals, five on penalty shots. Blake added a goal from the field and a penalty conversion for a goal, and Wood accounted for a goal in the loss.
Laprida was named MVP for his efforts, while Lola, a 6-year-old Bay mare owned by Marcos Bignoli and played by Pieres, was honored as Best Playing Pony.
Tournament semifinals were played Wednesday afternoon, but results were not available by press time. The first match pit Villa del Lago against Audi, with Zacara playing Crab Orchard in the second semifinal. The finalists will meet in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup championship game Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m.
The high-goal polo action takes place every Sunday through April 21 at the International Polo Club. Ticket prices for Sunday polo range from $10 general admission to $120 box seating. Tickets for Sunday brunch at the Pavilion and its reception start at $55, upward to $330 for the Veuve Clicquot brunch package for two.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.internationalpoloclub.com or by calling (561) 204-5687. Find IPC on Facebook, follow on Twitter at @SundayPolo or visit www.ipcscoreboard.com for up-to-date scores, schedules, rosters and all other polo information.
Above: Though briefly tied in the first chukker, Villa Del Lago pulled ahead and remained there for the rest of the match.