On Saturday, March 31, 2018, undefeated La Indiana and Coca-Cola met at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, with hopes to secure the first Carlos Gracida Cup title. In a close back-and- forth game, Coca-Cola secured the win in overtime 11-10.
Adrenaline pumping from the first throw-in, Coca-Cola scored the opening goal in the first 40 seconds off of Steve Krueger’s* mallet. La Indiana’s Jeff Hall quickly answered back, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Intense play ensued in the first three chukkers as the Coca-Cola squad played tough defense with Sugar Erskine effectively blocking several La Indiana shots on goal. Despite Coca-Cola’s defensive plays, each player of La Indiana made it on the board in the first half to begin the fourth chukker tied 4-all.
The second half was characterized by several fouls as both teams fought to gain control of the scoreboard. Back-to- back La Indiana goals from Toro Ruiz and Hall were quickly matched by goals from Krueger and a powerful team play by Gillian Johnston and Nacho Novillo Astrada. A Penalty 4 conversion from Hall, his third goal of the day, gave La Indiana a 7-6 lead with two chukkers remaining. Coca-Cola, determined not to let the game slip away from them, added two goals in the fifth, shutting out La Indiana. Only a one goal difference on the board in favor of Coke, sixth chukker play was aggressive. Facundo Obregon, solid from the penalty line, sunk a Penalty 2 to equalize the score yet again 8-8. Coca-Cola’s Sugar Erskine was not about to give up so easily, making an impressive run to goal that had the crowd cheering from the sidelines. With only a few seconds remaining in regulation time, Coca-Cola held the lead 10-9, but La Indiana quickly gained an opportunity to force the game into overtime with an awarded Penalty 2 scored again by Obregon. A successful shot through the uprights sent the game into a seventh chukker 10-all.
Five seconds into the overtime period, a Penalty 4 was awarded to Nacho Novillo Astrada, who successfully converted, securing the Carlos Gracida Cup Coca-Cola win 11-10.
The detail on the match was as follows:
CARLOS GRACIDA CUP FINAL: COCA-COLA 11-10 LA INDIANA
Coca-Cola: Gillian Johnston 2 (1 goal), Sugar Erskine 6 (3), Nacho Novillo Astrada 8 (3), Steve Krueger 4 (4). Total: 20.
La Indiana: Michael Bickford 2 (1 goal), Toro Ruiz 5 (2), Facundo Obregon 6 (4), Jeff Hall 7 (3). Total: 20.
Score Coca-Cola: 2-1, 2-3, 3-4, 6-7, 8-7, 10-10, 11-10.
MVP: Sugar Erskine.
BPP: Fanta, played by Gillian Johnston.
The order of play at the International Polo Cup for the upcoming days is as follows:
USPA GOLD CUP (26 Goals)
10am, Subsidiary Final: AUDI vs Colorado
3pm, Final USPA Gold Cup: Flexjet vs. Valiente
CARLOS GRACIDA CUP FINAL: Coca-Cola vs La Indiana
USPA GOLD CUP: Fixture & Teams
CARLOS GRACIDA CUP: Fixture & Teams