Three teams lineup for the 2016 season opener at IPC
By Alex Webbe
The 2016 polo season at the International Polo Club in Wellington will get off to an early start with the opening match of the 2016 winter season taking place on the last day of 2015. In an 11am 20-goal contest, Enigma (Jerome Wirth, Jeff Hall, Matias MacDonough and Carlucho Arellano) will face Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio Arellano and Steve Krueger) in the opening round of the Herbie Pennell Cup.
Villa del Lago (Jim Zenni, Guille Aguero, Hilario Ulloa and Agustin Obregon) will be looking to break a four year losing streak in the Herbie Pennell cup, having lost in the finals in 2-12, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Coca-Cola will be looking at capturing their third Pennell Cup in five years, having won it in 2012 and 2013.
Jerome Wirth’s Enigma team is making its 2016 season debut in the Herbie Pennell Cup and will be playing in their second consecutive season at the International Polo Club. The native Frenchman’s Enigma had been competing in the English high-goal season until last year when he put together a team to compete in Florida.
The Pennell Cup kicks off a 20-goal season that will be followed by the Joe Barry Cup, the Ylvisaker Cup and the Iglehart Cup.
While many of the fan favorites will be returning to the field this year, there are a few newcomers who should be noted. Joining Enigma in its defection from the English season will be Michael Bickford’s La Indiana entry (Michael Bickford, Joao Paulo Ganon, Ruki Baillieu and Tommy Biddle), and Dubai’s Rashid Albwardy (Rashid Albwardy, Carlitos Gracida, Diego Cavanagh and Alejo Taranco).
The 20-goal field will be filled out with Audi-Millerville (Grant Ganzi, Julian Mannix, Nic Roldan and Fred Mannix), Palm Beach Illustrated (Nacho Badiola, Jared Zenni, Facundo Obregon and Jesse Bray), Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Facundo/Polito Pieres, Peke Gonzalez and Lucas Criado), Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Gonzalo Deltour, Sebastian Merlos and Mason Wroe) and Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Roberto Zedda, Santi Torres and a TBA).
On February 24th the 26-goal season will begin with the first leg of the American polo Triple Crown, the single-elimination C. V. Whitney Cup (Feb. 24th-March 6th). The USPA Gold Cup (March 6th-March 27th and the US Open Championship (March 3rd-April 24th.