In one of the most exciting Gladiator Arena Polo matches of the season, Spartacus (Jason Crowder, Felipe Viana and Tommy Biddle) scored a 13-10 win over Spiculus (Juan Martin Zubia, Pelon Escapite and Sebastian Merlos) Thursday night at the Equestrian Village (EV) of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington.
Both teams entered the arena Thursday night with 1-0 records and an enthusiastic crowd was on hand for the third week of Gladiator Polo, a series of high-goal arena polo featuring the top players in the game today and an unrivaled $250,00 in purse money for the seven-game series.
Pelon Escapite scored first for Spiculus but Spartacus fought back with a goal from Felipe Viano tying the game at 1-1 and a pair of goals from Jason Crowder ending the first period with Spartacus on top, 3-1.
With NBC Sports cameras trained in on the action (the match is scheduled to be shown on Tuesday night, February 28th) Juan Martin Zubia took charge of the game for Spiculus, scoring three consecutive goals in the second period, 4-3. Viano tied the game at four goals apiece to end the second chukker.
Spiculus struck back in the third. Goals from Zubia and Sebastian Merlos went unanswered as Spiculus broke into the lead, 6-4, to end the first half of play.
American arena 10-goaler Tommy Biddle opened the second half with a goal from the field, 6-5, and took the lead following a 2-point shot that gave Spartacus their first lead since the opening chukker, 7-6. Zubia tied the game at 7-7 on a penalty shot and gave Spiculus an 8-7 lead with a goal from the field. Biddle tied it again at 8-8, but a final goal from Escapite had Spiculus leaving the arena with a 9-8 advantage and two chukkers left in regulation time.
Both defenses buckled down in the fifth period, and the game grew more physical. Runs up and down the arena went unrewarded. Biddle converted a penalty shot for the only goal of the chukker, tying the game for the sixth time, 9-9.
Biddle opened the scoring in the sixth period with a penalty shot and added another from the floor of the arena that had Spartacus on top of an 11-9 score. Merlos cut the lead back to two goals, 11-9, but that would be as close as Spiculus would get. Biddle closed out the game with a two-point goal that gave the win to Spartacus, 13-10.
Biddle led the field in scoring with nine goals. Teammates Viana and Crowder each scored twice for the win. Zubia’s six goals led the Spiculus attack. Escapite and Merlos were each credited with two goals in a losing effort.