Molina Cup Runs into Overtime Thriller
On Sunday 2 April at Grand Champions Polo Club, Florida, the Final of the Molina Cup was played following two weeks of 20 goal action, which saw Travieso going into a thrilling overtime 10-9 battle with Beverly Equestrian. In a spectacular finish, it was the experienced hands of Sebastian Merlos who secured victory and the 120-year-old handcrafted silver Molina Cup for his team as he scored the winning goal in a spectacular finish.
Beverly Equestrian dominated the first half with its tight defence, taking Travieso out of the game and shutting them out in the second chukka, so that by half-time they had a relatively comfortable 6-3 lead which was consolidated by another goal after the break. Just as it looked as if it were game over for Travieso, some ‘vocal encouragement’ from Merlos galvanised the troops and they started to dig themselves towards victory with three unanswered goals in the fourth chukka and early in the fifth to trail by only one, 7-6. The goal difference was further eroded and as the final bell went it was 9 all. In overtime, Travieso went into full attack mode and secured victory after a thrilling game.
It was Ecuador-based Travieso’s second consecutive 20 goal tournament win during the US season as the foursome also won the prestigious Sterling Cup last month.
Argentine 9 goaler Sebastian Merlos, enjoying one of his finest seasons, was named Most Valuable Player, having scored five goals including three penalty conversions and was a steadying influence on his teammates. Tattooed Lady, a 6-year-old mare ridden by Arellano and purchased from Marathon Farms, was selected as Best Playing Pony.
Molina Cup Final Teams:
Travieso: Sebastian Merlos, Tony Calle, Torito Ruiz, & Hugo Barabucci
Beverly Equestrian: Bill Ballhaus, Carlucho Arellano, Magoo Laprida & Inaki Laprida
Photograph: Travieso won The Molina Cup at Grand Champions. By Chukker.TV