The Silver Cup® has been called many names throughout its illustrious 117-year history. Originally established as the Junior Championship, it was first played in 1900. The cup was later renamed in 1938 to the National Twenty Goal Championship. It was not until 1974 that the tournament took its present name, the Silver Cup. Many winners of the cup hail from the Polo Hall of Fame—from J. Watson Webb and Tommy Hitchcock, to Robert Skene and Cecil Smith— and this year was no exception. Having been played on the West Coast at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California, since 2011, 2017 marks the trophy’s welcome return to the East Coast. The second tournament of their summer high-goal season, Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, hosted this year’s Silver Cup.

Phoenix's Victorina Ruiz Jorba keeps his eye on the ball with Work to Ride/Los Machitos' Nick Manifold riding close behind.

Phoenix’s Victorino Ruiz Jorba keeps his eye on the ball with Work to Ride/Los Machitos’ Nick Manifold riding close behind.

Over two weeks of intense play, four teams battled for the distinguished title. Work to Ride/Los Machitos quickly advanced to the final after defeating each of their three opponents. Despite an early loss to Work to Ride/Los Machitos, Phoenix overcame opponents Hublot and Postage Stamp Farm to earn their final spot on July 16, and a chance to redeem themselves against the formidable Work to Ride/Los Machitos.

Work to Ride/Los Machitos's Mariano Aguerre carries the ball down field with Phoenix's Victorino Riz Jorba on his hip.

Work to Ride/Los Machitos’ Mariano Aguerre carries the ball down field with Phoenix’s Victorino Ruiz Jorba coming in to defend.

At the onset of the 2017 Silver Cup Final, Phoenix received two goals on handicap. The game opened with a goal from Work to Ride/Los Machitos’ Joseph Manheim. This initial goal, combined with strong defensive plays left Phoenix scoreless at the end of the first period. The second chukker mirrored the first, as Mariano Aguerre sunk a goal through the posts for Work to Ride/Los Machitos.  Matias Magrini countered, garnering Phoenix’s first goal of the contest. The remainder of the first half continued at a steady pace as Aguerre scored his second goal to even the score 3-3 at the half.

The Silver Cup® trophy table at Greenwich Polo Club.

The Silver Cup® trophy table at Greenwich Polo Club.

Aguerre remained strong when play resumed in the fourth as he fired in another goal from the field. Once again, a determined Phoenix answered with a goal—this time from Victorino Ruiz Jorba. A Penalty 3 conversion from Work to Ride/Los Machitos’ Mariano Gonzalez closed out the chukker 5-4 in favor of Work to Ride/Los Machitos. Play picked up in the fifth as the teams added two field goals apiece to the scoreboard to maintain the gap 7-6. With one chukker remaining in regulation time, and trailing by one, Phoenix was within reach. A field goal by Phoenix’s Jorba tied the score 7-7. With the possibility of overtime looming, Work to Ride/Los Machitos’ Aguerre, a newly-minted Polo Hall of Famer, made his sixth goal of the day securing a narrow win 8-7, continuing the tradition adding his name to a long list of famed polo players.

Best Playing Pony was awarded to Machitos Melody, bred, owned and played by Mariano Aguerre. Most Valuable Player honors went to Phoenix’s Victorino Ruiz Jorba.

All photos © Chichi Ubina.

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