La Indiana took a 13-10 victory over Mt. Brilliant in the 2017 Joe Barry Memorial final Sunday on Engel & Völkers field at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).
In what was projected to be an evenly matched final, La Indiana came out gunning and dominated Mt. Brilliant throughout the first half. Mt. Brilliant opened the scoring with a penalty 2 goal converted by Jason Crowder, but after that their scoring chances were few and far between. La Indiana controlled opening play with a fast-paced style, passing forward to their open players. They proved themselves the quintessential four-man team, with each player contributing one of the team’s first four goals. Patron Michael Bickford led off the scoring, followed by goals by Mike Azzaro, Jeff Hall and Gringo Colombres. This started a run of seven consecutive goals for La Indiana, who snatched a 7-2 lead after two chukkas.
Trailing by five, Mt. Brilliant needed a strong third chukka but ran into an unstoppable machine. Once again La Indiana scored four straight goals—and yet again, one by each player—in the chukka. La Indiana’s synchronistic teamwork made it next to impossible for Mt. Brilliant to stop every player on the attack. This resulted in La Indiana taking an 11-2 lead into halftime behind their 10-of-14 shooting from the field, while only allowing their opponents to shoot at goal three times in the entire first half.
La Indiana played strong team defence going into the second half, with Colombres applying constant pressure on Santiago Chavanne, the leading field goal scorer in the tournament. La Indiana did not allow Chavanne to score even once on the day. La Indiana maintained their lead through the fourth and fifth chukkas, taking a 13-6 advantage going into the sixth.
Mt. Brilliant made a late push, with tournament high-scorer Jason Crowder scoring four of his game-leading eight goals in the final chukka. That brought his team within three goals of their opponent for the first time since the start of the second chukka, but the deficit was too large to overcome. Mt. Brilliant ran out of time, and La Indiana held on for a 13-10 victory and the 2017 Joe Barry Memorial trophy.
Mike Azzaro won MVP, scoring five goals and converting his only penalty shot attempt, while Gringo Colombres’ gelding “Africano” won Best Playing Pony.
Earlier in the day Coca-Cola took a tight 11-10 victory over an all-pro team, Horseware/Tackeria, in the Bobby Barry Memorial subsidiary. Tommy Collingwood was named MVP. Best Playing Pony honors went to “Superstar,” played by Julian de Lusarreta.
The next tournament in the 20-goal Florida season, the Ylvisaker Cup, opens Friday, 27 January, with three games at IPC: Postage Stamp Farm vs. La Indiana (10 a.m.); Grand Champions/Casablanca vs. Valiente II (12:30 p.m.), and Orchard Hill vs. Goose Creek (3 p.m.). Times are U.S. Eastern.
All games in the Ylvisaker Cup will be live streamed on the USPA Polo Network: uspolo.org.
Game report, stats and graphics provided by International Polo Club Palm Beach.