Enigma trounced Coca-Cola 17-12, and Palm Beach Illustrated soundly defeated La Indiana 12-6 in the 20-goal Joe Barry Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).
Jerome Wirth 1
Jeff Hall 7
Matias MacDonough 7
Carlucho Arellano 5
Gillian Johnston 2
Sugar Erskine 7
Julio Arellano 8
Steve Krueger 3
For anyone who saw them in action, it was no enigma how the team in black succeeded in ruling the day. It was their mindset. As Carlucho Arellano said, “When you play Coca-Cola, you have to play every second of every chukker, from beginning to end.”
Jeff Hall agreed. “They’re a really good team, and if you don’t play really well, they beat you every time.”
Enigma had learned that lesson cold in its previous faceoff against Coca-Cola. In the Herbie Pennell Cup opener of the 2016 IPC season on Dec. 31, Coca-Cola slammed the door 15-10.
Enigma was determined there would not be a déjà vu. They came out of the gate in the rematch firing on 16 cylinders, playing as though a Broadway choreographer had scripted their moves. Without missing a beat, MacDonough and Carlucho Arellano repeatedly passed the ball as they danced their way down the field. Together they socked in 13 goals-not an easy thing to do, especially when you have Julio Arellano sticking to your hip like a piece of Velcro.
“We came with a different game plan this time, and we stayed with it,” said MacDonough. “It worked. We just had to keep focused.”
This was one of those rare, sweeping games in which all eight players scored. MacDonough and Julio Arellano each made eight goals. Carlucho Arellano added five to Enigma’s slate, while Jerome Wirth and Jeff Hall contributed two apiece. Gillian Johnston and Sugar Erskine each scored once for Coca-Cola, and Steve Krueger made two goals.
All four Enigma players played above their handicaps in what can only be called a brilliant first half and a textbook example of line-man-ball. They were as effective defensively as offensively. The teammates stayed tight, conferring with each other frequently on the field.
Enigma grabbed the lead in the first chukker (3-2) and never once relinquished it. It quickly neutralized its opponent, keeping Coca-Cola scoreless in the second and closing out the chukker with a five-point lead. At the end of the first half, Coca-Cola was trailing by a devastating eight points (11-3).
Enigma knew better than to kick back. In a halftime powwow, they focused on the only thing that needed to be done: maintain control of the game. “We knew they were going to come hard in the second half,” said MacDonough, referring to Coca-Cola’s penchant for turning things around in the latter part of a game.
Carlucho Arellano was like-minded. “Coca-Cola plays so well, and they’re a big second-half team,” he said. “They can come back and win.”
For a short time it began to look like that may happen. Enigma lost some traction at the top of the fourth chukker, when Coca-Cola launched a concerted effort to get into the game. In their team’s highest-scoring chukker, Julio Arellano and Krueger made four goals total, all on penalty shots. The MacDonough/Carlucho Arellano machine countered with three from the field, giving Enigma a 14-7 lead at the end of the fourth chukker. Coca-Cola tightened the gap incrementally to six points in the fifth (16-10) and finally shaved it to five, ending the game 17-12 for Enigma.
Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym, in Season Debut, Defeats La Indiana 12-6
Michael Bickford 1
Joao Paulo Ganon 7
Ruki Baillieu 7T
Tommy Biddle 5
Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym
Nacho Badiola 6
Jared Zenni 3
Facundo Obregon 6
Jesse Bray 5
The afternoon game played out much as the Enigma/Coca-Cola game had earlier. Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym led from the get-go, defeating La Indiana by six points (12-6). Everyone on the field scored.
In an unexpected lineup that runed out to be extremely effective, young patron Jared Zenni took the No. 2 position and Nacho Badiola played 1. Teammate Facundo Obregon set the tone of the game, scoring in the first 30 seconds of a fast, running, open first chukker. The Badiola-Zenni combo kicked in for the next goal, with Zenni scoring on a handoff.
The stepped-up pace of the game continued, as intended by the new international rules. The 2016 rules encourage the speed and open play of classic polo, making the game more flowing and exciting for spectators. As an incentive, under the revised delay of game rule-which was invoked twice in the match-instead of having a bowl-in, a foul is called against the team that caused the delay.
Ruki Baillieu was the battery for La Indiana in the first half, working in sync with fellow 7-goaler Joao Paulo Ganon. La Indiana was scoreless in the third chukker, which ended with Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym leading 7-3. Jesse Bray took advantage of a broken play in the fourth, ending the chukker 9-4. He scored again at the start of the fifth, winning the throw-in and running the ball straight into goal. Ganon looked like he was on a sure run into goal until Badiola made him look up and miss the shot. The fifth was the cleanest chukker of the entire game, with three goals scored and not a single whistle.
The final chukker saw La Indiana scoreless. Badiola and Obregon each scored, closing it out 12-6 for Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym.
“This was our first game of the season, so we wanted to go out and try to play our best,” said Zenni. “Everyone tried to do their job and play their position like we’ve been doing in team practice. We play as a team, talk and try to help each other out. It’s been working.”