Audi (Timmy Dutta, Marc Ganzi, Jason Crowder and Brandon Phillips) survived a round -robin, a rain delay and seven chukkers of championship play Sunday afternoon on their way to winning the 2016 Polo Gear Challenge Cup by defeating Melody (Cesar Gueikian, Lucas Lalor, Kris Kampsen and JJ Celis), 11-10, in a sudden-death overtime thriller at the Grand Champions Polo Club.
Audi received three goals by handicap from the 15-goal Melody lineup, and doubled the lead to 6-0 with goals from Jason Crowder, Timmy Dutta and Marc Ganzi. Melody 6-goaler Kris Kampsen slowed down the onslaught with a 60-yard penalty conversion, 6-1. Crowder and Dutta each added a goal to end the chukker with Audi on top with a one-sided 8-1 advantage.
The Melody defense got on track in second chukker action, holding Audi to a single goal from Duta at the 5:08 mark, 9-1. Kampsen answered back with a goal from the field for the only other score in the period. Audi continued to dominate, 9-2.
A fired-up Melody team charged onto the field in the third chukker and wrestled the momentum away from Audi as they scored three unanswered goals. J.J. Celis scored first followed by a pair of goals from teammate Lucas Lalor. Audi continued to lead but at the end of the first half of play Melody cut the lead back to four goals, 9-5.
You would have thought that the halftime intermission would have allowed the Melody players to cool off a bit, but such was not the case. Supported by a solid defensive effort, Kampsen scored the first goal of the second half in the opening 33 seconds of the fourth chukker, and added another a minute later, 9-7. Lalor added his third goal of the game, cutting the Audi lead down to a single goal, 9-8
A red-hot Kampsen returned to the field in the fifth chukker and quickly tied the game up at 9-9 in the opening 30 seconds of action. Brandon Phillips took the lead back for Audi with his first goal of the game and the final goal of the chukker. After five periods the lead belonged to Audi, 10-9.
Both defenses were at their peak in the sixth chukker with Audi trying to desperately defend their one goal lead while Melody was fighting to recover from the early 9-1 deficit and score the come-from-behind win. Kampsen’s sixth goal of the day came at the 5:50 mark and tied the game at 10-10. Neither team was able to score for the next five plus minutes until Kampsen took control of the ball and raced toward the Audi goal as time was running out. Kampsen was on a breakaway as he continued to stroke the ball down the field, but the final shot on goal went just wide and the chukker ended in a 10-10 tie and forced a sudden-death overtime chukker.
Both teams returned to the field with fresh mounts and the ball was thrown-in. The ball was delivered to a streaking Timmy Dutta who scooped it up and drove it through the Melody goalposts in the first 22 seconds of the overtime chukker to record the 11-10 victory.
Dutta’s four goals let the Audi attack. Crowder scored twice; Phillips and Ganzi each added a goal and the team received three goals by handicap. Kampsen’s six goals led all scorers on the day. Lalor added three goals and Celis was credited with a goal in the loss.
Crowder earned MVP honors for his efforts on the day while Belgrano, an 8-year-old gray gelding was named Best Playing Pony. Belgrano is owned by Halo Polo and played by Marc Ganzi.
Sonny Hill 10, Dutta Corp. 8
Earlier in the day Sonny Hill (Curtis Pilot, Francisco Bilbao, Francisco Lanusse and Gonzalo De la Fuente) scored a 10-8 win over Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Martin Estrada and Jared Zenni) in the subsidiary of the Polo Gear Challenge Cup with Francisco Lanusse and Francisco Bilbao each scoring five times.
The two teams battled to a 5-5 halftime score and remained even at 6-6 after the fourth. Single goals from Lanusse and Bilbao in the fifth went unanswered, 8-6.
The two teams traded goals in the sixth, with Dutta Corp. getting single goals from Jared Zenni and Piki Alberdi. Sonny Hill got two goals from Lanusse and rode off with the 10-8 victory.
Jared Zenni was high scorer with six goals. Teammates Piki Alberdi and Martin Estrada added single goals in the loss.
Flexjet 9, Casablanca 8
In a morning contest Flexjet (Santos Bollini, Juan Bollini, Tom de Bruin and Alejandro Poma) rallied for four sixth chukker goals to edge (Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Julio Arellano and Juancito Bollini), 9-8 in a consolation match of the Polo Gear Challenge Cup.
In a low scoring first half, Casablanca snuck out to a 4-2 lead, and went up 5-3 at the end of the fourth chukker.
Flexjet cut the lead to a single goal, 6-5, in the fifth period with a pair of goals from Alejandro Poma. Casablanca got a single goal from Grant Ganzi in the chukker.
Poma and Santos Bollini scored two goals apiece in the sixth chukker while holding Casablanca to single goals from Ganzi and Julio Arellano.
Poma scored a game high five goals for Flexjet. Santos Bollini and South African 7-goaler Tom de Bruin added two goals each for the win. Juancito Bollini set the pace for Casablanca with three goals. Ganzi and Gene Goldstein scored two goals apiece and Arellano added a goal in a losing effort.