Santa Clara Polo Club (Brandon Plunkett, Cody Ellis, Lucas Escobar and Luis Escobar) and Patagones (Joaquin Avendano, Benjamin Avendano, Santiago Wulff and Santiago Avendano) scored opening round wins in the 2016 Port Mayaca Holiday Family tournament Tuesday afternoon with Santa Clara downing Taylor Hill Farm (Sarah Martin, C. J. Martin, Marcos Onetto and Jason Wates), 8-7 while Patagones defeated Banbury Cross (Breanna Gunnell, Nelson Gunnell, Tenzin Tognini and Marcos Bignoli) 8-6½. HorseWare (Barry Finnegan, Tim Kyne, Hugo Lloret and Wes Finlayson) made short work of Shamrock (Hayden Walsh, Max Secunda, Will Johnston and John Walsh) in a 7-3 blowout.
The stomach flu sidelined Santa Clara’s Nico Escobar as Cody Ellis filled in and made an immediate impact on the game with three first chukker goals (one on a 30-yard penalty conversion). Jason Wates scored a single goal for Taylor Hill Farm who trailed 3-1.
Santa Clara and Taylor Hill Farm traded goals in the second period with Marcos Onetto scoring on penalty goals from the 30 and 40-yard lines. Lucas Escobar held up Santa Clara’s end with a pair of goals from the field. At the end of the first half it was Santa Clara with a two-goal lead, 5-3.
A third chukker 60-yard penalty goal from Onetto was followed by a goal from the field from Wates as Taylor Hill Farm tied the game at 5-5. Lucas Escobar added his third goal of the day and Luis Escobar scored once from the field and added another goal on a 60-yard penalty shot of his own. After three periods of play, Santa Clara extended their lead to three goals, 8-5.
Taylor Hill Farm fought their way back into the game with C.J. Martin scoring once on a penalty shot and adding a goal from the field. The Santa Clara held solid for the balance of the game and recorded the 8-7 win.
Cody Ellis and Lucas Escobar scored three goals apiece. Luis Escobar added two goals for the win. Onetto scored all three of his team-high three goals on penalty conversions. Wates and C.J. Martin added two goals each in the loss.
Patagones 8, Banbury Cross 6½
On the strength of six goals from Santiago Wulff (three on penalty shots), Patagones built on a 4-3½ halftime lead to beat Banbury Cross, 8-6½. Marcos Bignoli and Tenzin Tognini scored two goals apiece with Breanna Gunnell and Nelson Gunnell each scoring once in a losing effort.
HorseWare 7, Shamrock 3
In the final match of the day John Walsh’s Shamrock polo team took it on the chin in a 7-3 loss to HorseWare.
John Walsh, star of the investigative documentary, The Hunt, didn’t have any luck hunting for goals as HorseWare charged out to a 5-1 halftime score before coasting to a 7-3 win.
Hugo Lloret scored four of his game high five goals on penalty shots as a makeshift Shamrock lineup struggled to coordinate their efforts into an effective offensive force.
Thursday’s semifinals will feature HorseWare against Taylor Hill Farm in a 10:30 AM contest followed by a noon match between Santa Clara and Patagones.
On Friday, December 31st, Shamrock will face Banbury Cross at 10AM in the New Year’s Eve Cup Finals. The Port Mayaca Holiday Family Cup Final is set for an 11:30AM battle between the winners of Thursday’s semifinals.
The Port Mayaca Polo Club is located at 12499 SW Conners Hwy., Okeechobee, FL, 34974. The club’s Polo Hotline is 772-228-0115.