2016-EPC-Opening-Day-Web-Banner-postponed-980x370The weather delayed 2016 Opening Day at the Eldorado Polo Club turned out to be a fabulous one weather wise with the thermometer moving up into the 70’s and sunshine in abundance. After victories on Friday, and in front of a very big field number one crowd, Chris Maloney brought his Twin Palms polo team (Maloney 1, Graham Bray 3, Santiago Wulff 5, Remy du Celliee Muller 3) to face Geoff Palmer and his Antelope herd (Palmer, Santiago Trotz 5, Felipe Vercellino 5, Chad Bowman 2). The game, perhaps not as perfect as the weather, turned out to be exciting nonetheless by virtue of the close score.
From the outset, it was apparent that the game might be a scrappy affair. That observation not withstanding, Graham Bray opened the scoring very early to give Twin Palms a lead of one. Vercellino and Bowman countered with field goals to put the pronghorns on top but that lead was short lived as the aggressive Maloney evened the count with a good effort to end the first.
The second slowed down somewhat and Antelope took advantage as Trotz and Bowman each scored while Maloney and Co. were held scoreless.
With a lead of two, the pronghorns were strong in the early third period as Bowman scored his third and the very quick Vercellino notched his second goal of the day. Twin Palms came back however and applied heavy pressure that resulted in two penalty two conversions for Wulff. Antelope rebounded as Vercellino scored another and the half ended with the Palmer herd leading by three at 7 – 4.
Twin Palms jumped out with authority to start the fourth chukker as Maloney put up his second goal and Wulff scored his first from the field. Trotz was then able to get his second and the fourth was over with the Antelope lead now just a pair.
Wulff scored from the field once more in the early penultimate frame to bring the Maloney group to within one, but a miscue allowed Palmer a free throw from 40 yards that he converted to again lead by two. du Celliee Muller then finished off a nice run to bring Twin Palms back to within one to end the fifth at 9 – 8.
Coming in to the second half down by three, Maloney and Co. were now in contention to start the sixth and final of regulation. With Bray playing the middle with his trademark aggressive game, Twin Palms was afforded another open goal opportunity (40 yards) that Wulff converted and the count was now tied at nine. However, with just over a minute left, Antelope was awarded a penalty shot from 60 yards. Vercellino wisely used the time needed to set up the ball and changed horses. In spite of the fact that he was now on a mount that many said was easier to strike penalty shots from, the attempt was wide and Twin Palms had a chance to run the field and win. Didn’t happen as a foul call gave Vercellino another opportunity to close it out – this time from 40 yards and just 41 seconds remaining. The attempt was good and Antelope won Eldorado’s first 12 goal tournament of the season by a final count of 10 – 9.
Tony Gregg

Antelope Grabs First 12 Goal Silver at Eldorado

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