After inclement weather prematurely cut the Monty Waterbury Final short at halftime on Friday, July 6, finalists Huntsman and White Birch returned refreshed on Wednesday, August 22 to crown a tournament champion at Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. Previously losing by one goal in their first tournament match up, Huntsman made their strategic comeback in the sixth chukker, outscoring their opponent by a single goal to win 9-8.

Entering the final undefeated in bracket play, White Birch played with confidence from the onset, nailing three consecutive penalty conversions to render Huntsman scoreless by the end of the first chukker. Regaining their footing by the second, Huntsman matched their opponents goal for goal, Dillon Bacon scoring the first field goal of the game to put his team on the board. Unwilling to let White Birch increase their initial lead headed into the third, Huntsman played a strong defensive chukker, allowing Tomas Garcia del Rio the opportunity to claim a single goal to end the half 5-3 in favor of White Birch.

Tomas Schwencke and Toro Ruiz hook mallets. ©Joelle Wiggins.
White Birch’s Tomas Schwencke and Toro Ruiz of Huntsman hook mallets. ©Joelle Wiggins.

Restarting the second half of play six weeks later, Huntsman came reorganized and ready to challenge White Birch with renewed fervor in the final three chukkers. Striking quickly and aggressively in the fourth, Toro Ruiz started off his series of goals, but was answered by a field goal from Joaquin Panelo. Within one, but struggling to close the gap for Huntsman, Ruiz’s goal was countered by another from Panelo, maintaining the lead for White Birch 8-6 to close the fifth. Relentless until the end, Huntsman displayed a strategic offensive drive in the sixth that would drastically alter the course of the game in their favor. Claiming two back-to-back field goals, Ruiz leveled the playing field for the first time with only minutes left in regulation time. Sinking his third goal of the day, Tomas Garcia del Rio hit a spectacular 30-yard neck shot to take the win, redeeming the game for Huntsman with a narrow 9-8 victory.

Best Playing Pony Machitos Yoko, owned and played by Mariano Aguerre pictured with Alejo Torrales and Copper.
Best Playing Pony Machitos Yoko, owned and played by Mariano Aguerre pictured with Alejo Torrales and Copper.

Huntsman’s Dillon Bacon was named Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Machitos Yoko, a chestnut mare played by White Birch’s Mariano Aguerre in the fifth chukker.