Deeridge, one of the tournament underdogs, knocked off San Saba, 12-7 on Day 5 of the $100,000 World Cup Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

The seven-goal rated team with 14-year-old Will Jacobs, 16-year-old Santos Bollini, Lucas Lalor and Wes Finlayson, took San Saba’s Dawn Jones, Luis Saracco, Tomas Garbarini and Luis Echezarreta out of its game to win the final game of the first round of the 16-team, winner-take all single-elimination tournament.

Winning Deeridge teammates Wes Finlayson, Lucas Lalor, Santos Bollini and Will Jacobs with awards presenter Maria Lia Garrahan. Photo by ChukkerTV

Deeridge is one of eight teams to advance into the second round that opens on Monday with three games. At 10 a.m. GSA plays Palm Beach Illustrated on Field One at Grand Champions; at 12:30 p.m. La Dalila meets Orchard Hill on Field Two at Grand Champions and at 4 p.m. Valiente II will meet Sebucan at Valiente Polo Farm.

On Tuesday, Deeridge will face Valiente I, led by 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso, at 11 a.m. at Valiente Polo Farm.

In Saturday’s featured game, Deeridge was spotted a six-goal lead on handicap and added six more, including three by Finlayson, the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Wes Finlayson of Deeridge, receives his awards plaque from Maria Lia Garrahan. Photo by ChukkerTV

Despite shutting out Deeridge in the third, fourth and fifth chukkers, San Saba couldn’t take advantage to erase its deficit.

Five-goaler Tomas Garbarini had three goals and four-goaler Luis Saracco and Jones each had two.

“I am very proud and happy for the team,” said  former 8-goaler and Deeridge coach Juan Bollini. “I am very proud of the kids and now they are going to play Cambiaso. How many chances are they

going to have to play Cambiaso, the best player ever in the game?

Santos Bollini of Deeridge closes in on Luis Saracco of San Saba.

“This is fantastic for all of them,” Bollini said. “The strategy for the team was to hold the ball whenever possible. When you have so many goals in your favor, you want to have the ball. The longer the ball is with you, the other team is not going to score.

“I think the strategy between Lucas and Wes was very smart to hold it and then release it when they saw Santos and Will.”

Jacobs, a minus-one player, held his own against more experienced players. Jacobs, a product of The Polo School at Grand Champions, iced the victory carrying the ball 200 yards past defenders to score the final goal after a two well-hit approach shots.

Will Jacobs of Deeridge drives downfield 200 yards for the final goal of the game.

“The goal he scored was incredible. For Will to play at this level of polo is amazing and I think he was in the game,” said Bollini, Director of The Polo School. “He has been playing for two years only.

He stepped up to play this level of polo. I think he got a lot of confidence stick-and-ball riding with Lucas and Jesse Bray. I think our program is working and paying off and I am very proud of the organization.”

Deeridge outscored San Saba, 2-0 in the second chukker and 3-1 in the final chukker and led 9-3 at the half.

Dawn Jones of San Saba bumps Lucas Lalor of Deeridge in mid-hit.

“I was really happy,” Jacobs said. “From the start I knew we would probably pull through. I knew it would be tough. This is definitely one of my bigger wins. I have been putting in the practice time. I am just going to enjoy playing Valiente. Cambiaso is pretty big.”

Canela, an 8-year-old gray mare, ridden by Echezarreta and owned by Dawn Jones of San Saba, was named American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony. Her groom Marvy earned $250.

Created in 2006 by legendary polo pioneer Sunny Hale, the association recognizes polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them.

Canela with American Polo Horse Association executive director Tiana Smicklas, Dawn Jones and groom Marvy, was named APHA Best Playing Pony. Photo by ChukkerTV

In each World Cup game, a horse that is registered with the APHA, will be selected BPP and its groom given $250. For theApril 15 final, a BPP for the final and BPP for the overall tournament, will be selected and each groom will earn $2,500.

Canela was ridden by Hale, competing for San Saba with Jones, Melissa Ganzi and Clarissa Echezarreta at the 2016 USPA U.S. Women’s Open in Texas last November and was one of her favorites.

The World Cup is the second of two classic and prestigious tournaments that Grand Champions owners and high goal polo players Melissa and Marc Ganzi are reviving thanks to the generosity of Glenn Straub of Palm Beach Polo, where they were last played in the late 1990s. The first tournament they revived was the Sterling Cup.

Lucas Lalor of Deeridge goes for the big back shot.

The prestigious World Cup is a tournament steeped in history. American businessman and polo player Bill Ylvisaker, then CEO of a Fortune 200 battery company in Chicago, created the Gould World Polo Championship with a prize purse of $150,000.

It was first held in 1976 at the Butler Polo Grounds in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Ylvisaker’s staff sent out invitations to countries all over the world known to have top-ranked pro polo teams.Three teams from the United States were recruited and joined Mexico, India, England and Argentina in the field. The inaugural event was won by Argentina, attracted great crowds and was deemed a success.

Luis Saracco of San Saba and Wes Finlayson of Deeridge race for the ball.

In 1977, Ylvisaker bought 2,000 acres to develop a polo resort. The Palm Beach Polo and Country Club was built with 14 polo fields and soon became the polo capital of the world.

The first season at the new club featured the $150,000 Michelob World Cup Polo Championship.

Held April 3-15, it was the highlight of the season attracting top players and sponsors from around the world. Back then it was the world’s richest and premier polo event and one of the most significant polo championships.

Wes Finlayson of Deeridge hits the nearside shot with Dawn Jones of San Saba defending. Photos by Ramon Casares

In 1988, Landmark purchased the club for $25 million and continued the club’s growth until it was sold at auction in 1993 to Straub.

The tournament is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.

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