Sunday, Feb. 24 was a full day of polo at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, with the finals of the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup, the finals of the 20-goal Haas Cup (Ylvisaker Cup subsidiary) and the final opening round of the 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup.
The highlight of the day was the 3 p.m. finals of the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup, which saw Coca-Cola edge Audi 9-8. The match featured the top two scorers in the tournament — Audi’s Nic Roldan, with 38 goals, and Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano, with 35 goals in five games. But it wouldn’t be the high-scoring match that many had anticipated.
Coca-Cola’s Tommy Collingwood scored the first goal of the game, but Audi responded with single goals from Nico Pieres and Mariano Gracida for a 2-1 advantage after the opening chukker.
Coca-Cola put up a pair of unanswered goals in the second period (Gillian Johnston and Collingwood), establishing a one-goal lead. The two teams exchanged goals in the third (Julio Arellano for Coca-Cola and Nic Roldan for Audi), and the first half ended with Audi trailing, 4-3. The two teams battled evenly through the fourth and fifth chukkers, each adding a pair of goals in each frame, and entered the sixth period with Coca-Cola maintaining the one-goal lead, 8-7.
Audi came up with shutout defense, with Roldan scoring the only goal of the chukker for an 8-8 deadlock, forcing a sudden-death overtime period. After a brief recess, the teams returned to the field. Each had an unsuccessful run at goal, but it was an Audi foul just two minutes into the extra chukker that put Arellano at the penalty line, where he successfully converted the shot for the winning goal, 9-8.
Roldan was held to four goals on the day. Pieres added three goals and Gracida scored once in the loss. Arellano scored three goals for Coca-Cola. Teammates Collingwood, Johnston and Erskine scored two goals apiece for the overtime win.
Erskine received double honors at the end of the match. He was named Most Valuable Player for his personal efforts and his 8-year-old Bay mare, Leyla, was honored as Best Playing Pony.
In last Sunday’s 10 a.m. contest, Port Mayaca downed Faraway 9-8 in the finals of the George Haas Cup in another game that was decided in sudden death overtime.
The 19-goal Port Mayaca team received one goal by handicap from the 20-goal Faraway lineup and found themselves leading 6-4 at the end of the first half behind four penalty goals from Carlucho Arellano. Faraway, however, took control of the game in the fourth chukker as they scored three unanswered goals (two from Pelon Escapite and one from Santiago Chavanne) to tie and then pass Port Mayaca, 7-6. Chavanne added a goal in the fifth, but Stevie Orthwein responded in kind for Port Mayaca who trailed 8-7 with one chukker left in regulation play.
The Port Mayaca defense stepped up to the plate in the sixth chukker, shutting out Faraway for the first time all day and knotting it up on a goal from Stevie Orthwein with a minute left in regulation play. The two teams would have to return to the field for a sudden-death overtime period to decide the winner. Carlucho Arellano scored the winning goal for Port Mayaca, 9-8, just two-and-a-half minutes into the overtime period, although both teams had earlier opportunities to end the game.
Arellano led the Port Mayaca offense with five goals on the day, including five penalty conversions for goals and the winning goal in overtime. He was named MVP for his efforts. Stevie Orthwein added two goals, and Robert Orthwein scored once in the win. Escapite’s five goals (two on penalty shots) set the pace for Faraway. Chavanne was credited with two goals, and Goodman added a goal in the loss. Marianito Obregon’s Portena, a 12-year-old Chestnut mare, was named Best Playing Pony.
In other Sunday high-goal action, Zacara scored a 9-8 win over ERG in the final preliminary round of play in the C.V. Whitney Cup, securing a berth in the semifinals of the first 26-goal tournament of the season.
ERG took control of the game early on, and kept Zacara off balance, charging out to a one-sided 6-1 halftime lead. Zacara turned the tables on ERG in the second half, exploding for five fifth chukker goals that locked it up at 8-8. Defenses tightened on both sides in the final chukker with Facundo Pieres scoring the only goal of the period for the 9-8 win.
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 info.
Above: Laurie Ylvisaker with Coca-Cola players Sugar Erskine, Gillian Johnston, Julio Arellano and Tommy Collingwood. PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILA PHOTO