Orchard Hill Remain on Top in C.V. Whitney Cup
There’s been no hanging around in the USA now that the weather has turned fine. The C.V. Whitney Cup rattled along and arrived at an exciting climax on Sunday 6 March at the International Polo Club, Palm Beach. Audi and Orchard Hill arrived at the Final having defeated all opposition in the first stage matches. Tough games for both teams in the Semi Finals saw Audi defeat White Birch 9-8 in a tight and fast-paced match at Lechuza Caracas on Thursday 3 March and Orchard Hill defeat Lucchese (who earned a bye to the Semis), 12-7.
Both teams arrived to the Final on Sunday fighting fit and determined to claim the first of the three 26 goal trophies that make up the American high goal season. Orchard Hill, winners of the 2015 C.V. Whitney Cup, retained their trophy, but not without difficulty. Audi did not go down without a fight, gaining the lead at half-time and moving in to the fourth chukka 5-2. Facundo and Polito Pieres both scored in the fourth for Orchard Hill, bringing the gap down to just one goal. With 3 goals apiece in the fifth chukka Audi managed to cling to their lead going in to the last chukka 9-8 up. Steve Van Andel’s team decided enough was enough in the final chukka, proving themselves to be the champions by powering past Audi to score three unanswered goals. The Pieres cousins proved too much and Audi went down 11-9 and were unable to come back and the Orchard Hill foursome walked away with the title for the second consecutive year.
Earlier in the day, the Les Armour Cup (the Subsidiary Final) saw Valiente take on Valiente II with a close 10-9 win for Bob Jornayvaz’s Valiente team.
The season continues Stateside with representatives of eight teams entered in the 2016 USPA Gold Cup drawing bracket positions on the evening of Thursday 3 March at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The results were:
Bracket I Bracket II
1. Orchard Hill 5. Audi
2. Lucchese 6. Coca-Cola
3. Dubai 7. Valiente
4. White Birch 8. FlexJet
Teams will play within the bracket. After bracket play is completed, the top-ranked team in each bracket will get a bye to the Semi Finals. The second and third ranked teams in each bracket advance to a mini Quarter Final playoff. The Final is set for March 27.
C.V. Whitney Cup Final teams:
Orchard Hill (26): Polito Pieres (10), Julian de Lussareta (6), Facundo Pieres (10) & Steve Van Andel (0)
Audi (26): Marc Ganzi (1), Gonzalito Pieres (9), Rodrigo Andrade (9) & Fred Mannix (7)
Photograph: Orchard Hill retain the C.V. Whitney Cup title. By Alex Pacheco