WELLINGTON — In an exciting finish, Dutta Corp captured the Herbie Pennell Cup with an 11-10 victory over Patagones Sunday at windswept International Polo Club Palm Beach.
With six seconds remaining, 7-goaler Gringo Colombres weaved his way through defenders to score the game-winner in front of an estimated season-opening crowd of 3,000.
“I saw an opening and went through it,” said Colombres, the game’s Most Valuable Player. “This is going to be a good team.”
Colombres shared team-high scoring honors with Lucas Diaz Alberdi, each with four goals. Teammates Kris Kampsen added two goals and 17-year-old Timmy Dutta added one.
For Patagones, 7-goaler Tomas Garcia del Rio scored a game-high five goals, including three on penalty conversions. Eight-goaler Santi Toccalino had four goals, all on penalty shots. Joaquin Avendano added one goal on a 150-yard run with 45 seconds left in the fifth chukker to tie the game at 9-9.
Benjamin Avendano’s horse Fino Conejo was selected Best Playing Pony.
Dutta Corp, playing together for the first time, jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the opening chukker and maintained a three-goal lead, 6-3, after two chukkers.
Patagones trailed 6-5 at the half with goals from its veteran players, Toccalino and Garcia del Rio.
In the penalty-marred game, both teams found it difficult to find their rhythm.
The lead changed hands seven times in the second half. Alberdi’s goal with 5:42 in the fourth chukker gave Dutta Corp a 7-5 lead. Garcia Del Rio and Toccalino scored back-to-back goals to tie the game at 7-7. The game was tied three more times before Colombres scored the game-winner as time ran out.
“I love this team,” Dutta said. “We wanted to put this team together last year with Lucas, Kris and me. Then Gringo, this young superstar player came along. Piki Alberdi, our coach, took himself off the team so Lucas could have more horses.
“I’m really excited because this is my name and my father’s company; it’s very special,” added Dutta, coming off last year’s successful season with Pilot, which won the Iglehart Cup and Bobby Barry Cup with Curtis Pilot, and brothers Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres.
The teenager also played in Argentina for two months where he won a 15-goal tournament and was named MVP and trained with Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Memo Gracida in California.
“Last season prepared me and gave me confidence to play high goal,” Dutta said. “This is a four-man team and all friends.”
Dutta plans on playing with his father, Tim, in the 8-goal and 12-goal leagues at Grand Champions Polo Club, where he started honing his skills four years ago.
The Cup is named in honor of Herbie Pennell, a polo player, manager and horseman and long-term polo manager of Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in the 1970s and 1980s. He was posthumously awarded the Phillip Iglehart Award in 2012.
This week, the Joe Barry Cup begins Wednesday with the final on Jan. 13. Four teams are entered: Santa Clara, Dutta Corp, Patagones and SD Farms.