By Alex Webbe
The new-look Orchard Hill polo team (Steve Van Andel, Lucas Criado, Facundo Pieres and Remy Muller) scored their first win of the 20-goal season in a Thursday morning contest with Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe). In afternoon action, Lechuza (Victor Vargas, Marcos Alberdi, Juan Martin Nero and Martin Espain) bounced back from a 7-4 fourth chukker deficit for a win over Enigma (Jerome Wirth, Jeff Hall, Matias MacDonough and Carlucho Arellano) as the first round of the 2015 Joe Barry Memorial Cup continues at the International Polo Club in Wellington.
In the morning game Argentine 10-goaler Facundo Pieres scored the first game of the day on a 30-yard penalty conversion after six scoreless minutes of play. Less than a minute later, Julio Arellano tied the game, 1-1, with the only other goal of the opening chukker.
Pieres scored his first goal from the field in the opening minute of the second period, 2-1. Arellano responded with a 60-yard penalty conversion just a minute later, 2-2. Mason Wroe gave Coca-Cola a 3-2 edge at the 4:24mark with Pieres evening the score at 3-3 with one minute left in the chukker.
Coca-Cola’s Sugar Erskine took the ball from the knock-in and carried it the length of the field at 6:26, for the 4-3 go-ahead goal. Pieres answered back with 2:31 left in the period, 4-4, and then put Orchard Hill in the lead, 5-4 with 1:22 left in the chukker on a pass from team captain Steve Van Andel.
Orchard Hill owned the fourth chukker, scoring five consecutive goals while holding Coca-Cola scoreless. Three of the four goals scored by Pieres came on penalty shots while the team’s fifth goal was tallied by Van Andel on a 100-yard run. The Orchard Hill lead stood at six goals, 10-4, with two periods left in regulation time.
Just as Orchard Hill had dominated the fourth chukker, Coca-Cola dominated the fifth. Sugar Erskine won the first three throw-ins as he passed to a streaking Gillian Johnston for the first goal of the chukker, 10-5. Erskine took the ensuing throw-in nearly 150-yards down the field, leaving it in the Orchard Hill goal mouth where Wroe tapped it in, 10-6. Wroe scored again less than a minute later, 10-7, with Arellano cutting the Orchard Hill lead to a manageable two goals, 10-8, going into the final chukker.
Both defenses were at their best in the final seven minutes of play as attack after attack was turned aside. Arellano cut the lead to a single goal at the 3:24 mark, but that would be the final score as Orchard Hill rode off with the 10-9 win.
Pieres led all scoring with nine goals (four on penalty shots). Van Andel added a goal for the victory. Arellano’s four goals set the pace for the Coca-Cola attack (one on a penalty conversion). Wroe was credited with three goals while Johnston and Erskine scored single goals in the loss.
Nero lifts Lechuza to an overtime win
Jeff hall gave little indication of the fall in a practice game on Wednesday that had him playing at less than full strength as he scored the only goal of the opening chukker just a minute into the game. Hall took control of the ball and carried it 280 yards down the field to give Enigma the early 1-0 lead.
Lechuza answered back in the second chukker with three unanswered goals from Argentine 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero. Nero scored his first goal of the game on a 40-yard penalty shot at the 6:02 mark. With 3:38 left on the clock, Nero added a goal from the field. Nero’s third consecutive goals ended the chukker as the ball sailed through the goalposts on another 40-yard penalty conversion. The chukker ended with Lechuza holding a 3-1 advantage over Enigma.
Matias MacDonough got Enigma back on track in the third as he scored three straight goals. MacDonough scored twice from the field before converting a 30-yard penalty shot at the 2:05 mark for a 4-3 Enigma advantage. Carlucho Arellano made it 5-3 with his first score of the game as the first half ended.
MacDonough and Nero exchanged penalty goals in the fourth, with the Enigma lead holding at two goals, 6-4. Arellano’s second goal on the day ended the chukker with Enigma leading by three goals, 7-4.
Enigma team captain Jerome Wirth took a pass from MacDonough in the opening minutes of the fifth chukker and scored to make it 8-4 when the Lechuza rally began. Consecutive goals from Nero cut the Enigma lead to two goals, 8-6, and a goal from Marcos Alberdi in the final 30 seconds of the period had Lechuza trailing by a single goal, 8-7, with one chukker remaining to be played.
Lechuza patron Victor Vargas took the opening throw-in of the sixth chukker and raced down the field for the tying score, 8-8, and Nero converted a 30-yard penalty shot, 9-8, for their first lead since the third chukker. MacDonough tied it again, 9-9, with just 2:05 left in regulation play. Lechuza responded with another goal from Nero that gave Lechuza the lead again, 10-9. Following a Penalty 5 that was awarded to the Enigma team, a melee developed in the Lechuza goal resulting in a tying goal from Hall for a 10-10 score, and forcing the game into sudden-death overtime.
After a brief intermission, both teams returned to the field to complete the game. Attacks from both sides went unrewarded until Nero’s ninth goal of the game gave Lechuza the 11-10 win with less than two minutes in the overtime period.
Nero’s nine goals led all scoring. Vargas and Alberdi each scored once for the win. MacDonough scored four of his team high five goals on penalty shots. Hall and Arellano scored two goals apiece with Wirth scoring once in a losing effort.
Joe Barry memorial Cup play continues on Saturday, January 10th with Lucchese (John Muse, Andres Weisz, Magoo Laprida and Nico Pieres) facing CT Energia (Alessandro Bazzoni, Kris Kampsen, Joao Ganon and Nick Manifold) in a 10AM game. Audi (Marc Ganzi, Freddie Mannix, Nic Roldan and Lucas Lalor) will battle Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Gonzalo Deltour, Inaki Laprida and Jeff Blake) in a noon matchup.
Lechuza Caracas vs. Enigma: 0-1,3-1,3-5,4-7,7-8,10-10,11-10
Orchard Hill vs. Coca-Cola: 1-1,3-3,5-4,10-4,10-8,10-9
Lechuza Caracas vs. Enigma
Coca-cola vs. Orchard Hill