Casablanca defeated La Indiana 8-6 in the final match of the Tackeria Invitational earlier this month in Wellington.
In the final match, which took place on Sunday, Nov. 1, Casablanca (Nico Harriott, Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Santi Bermudez) met La Indiana (Matthew Gonzalez, Michael Bickford, Nick Manifold and Jeff Hall) at Santa Rita Polo Farm. Casablanca, with a team handicap of 12 compared to La Indiana’s 13, started the match with one goal on the board.
Both teams got off to a strong start, and it was more than three minutes before Roldan fired off one of his trademark long shots downfield to Ganzi, who finished the play and put the ball through.
After a brief delay for weather, the second chukker started with 2-0 on the board for Casablanca and Kris Kampsen substituting for La Indiana’s Hall. Gonzalez put the first goal on the board for La Indiana, and around 2:56, Manifold impressed by snatching one of Roldan’s long shots out of the air. Bickford picked up a loose ball from Harriott and knocked in the final goal of the chukker to end it at 2-2.
At the beginning of the third chukker, Kampsen took control of the ball at the bowl-in and scored to put his team ahead 3-2. With Ganzi successfully shooting on goal with a penalty three and Bickford on a penalty two, the half ended 3-4 in favor of La Indiana. Casablanca came out with a strong defense at the beginning of the second half, and a goal by Ganzi saw the chukker end 4-4.
Both teams were playing a strong defense, making it difficult to score. Play was close, with more fouls and few breakaways in a very physical game. Roughly two minutes into the chukker, Roldan scored to put Casablanca ahead for the first time in the match. A goal by Ganzi was disallowed on a penalty five-A, but in a stroke of luck for Casablanca, Kampsen accidentally knocked the ball through the posts. A final goal by Harriott ended the chukker with Casablanca ahead 7-4.
In the last period, La Indiana fought back hard with goals by Bickford and Gonzalez, bringing them into striking distance, but a final shot by Ganzi won the game for Casablanca at 8-7. Grant Ganzi was named the match MVP, while 6-year-old Mochitos Canola was the Best Playing Pony.
Tackeria Invitational runners-up Newport (Gene Goldstein, Michel Dorignac, Horacio Heguy and Juan Bollini) and Sebucan (Marc Ganzi, Pablo Pulido, Sugar Erskine and Pablo Spinacci) met in the Fall Classic, which was won by Newport.
Currently underway in the Grand Champions fall series is the 20-goal Wellington Open, followed by the 20-goal USPA National Nov. 20-27, the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial on Nov. 29 and the Internaional Cup on Nov. 29.
Although Grand Champions is closed to spectators due to COVID-19, ChukkerTV will livestream the entire 2020 polo series so fans can still enjoy the matches. ChukkerTV was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January 2014 at Grand Champions. Learn more about the fall 2020 season at www.gcpolo.com.