Coming off a decisive semifinal win, Avalon Farm (Margaux Buchanan/Katie Mitcham, Amanda Poor Roberts, Eugenio Ferrari) entered the National Sherman Memorial Final in high spirits on Sunday, October 11, ready to challenge Newport (Daniel Keating, Roger Souto, Tim Day) for the prestigious arena trophy. Splitting a spot on Avalon Farm, Mitcham played the first half while Buchanan took the arena in the second half. Holding a sizable lead by halftime, Avalon Farm’s early advantage made the difference in the second half, earning them an engraving on the George Carter Sherman Memorial Indoor Polo Cup 14-10 at Westchester Polo Club (Newport Polo) in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Avalon Farm Amanda Poor Roberts, Newport Roger Souto (201011 - Polo -  0605) ©Scott Trauth

Avalon Farm’s Amanda Poor Roberts goes for the hook on Newport’s Roger Souto. ©Scott Trauth

Eager to make a strong start, Ferrari raced to goal three consecutive times, leveling the scoreboard with Newport receiving three goals on handicap. Trading goals twice in a fierce exchange, neither team was able to establish a lead and entered the second chukker tied 5-all. “Our team was fast, aggressive and we had great teamwork,” Mitcham commented. Beginning to distinguish themselves, Avalon Farm capitalized on Newport’s errors, securing two Penalty 2 conversions off the mallet of Poor Roberts. Sweeping four goals between them, Ferrari and Poor Roberts raised their tally 9-5 at halftime, preventing Newport from adding any goals of their own.

Avalon Farm Katie Mitcham, Newport Tim Day (201011 - Polo -  0850) ©Scott Trauth

Avalon Farm Katie Mitcham looks for the ball with Newport’s Tim Day defending. ©Scott Trauth

Collecting themselves and revaluating their strategy, Newport delivered their most explosive chukker yet, retaliating with four consecutive goals of their own in the third to once again equalize the scoreboard. Taking aim for her first goal, Buchanan successfully gave Avalon Farm the narrow advantage 10-9 headed into the final chukker. Still anyone’s game, the fourth produced another series of field goals as Avalon Farm sought to extend their lead. Buchanan found her target again followed up by back-to-back goals from Ferrari with the win in sight. “I think the main thing was not letting the other team play alone,” Ferrari said. “Avalon Farm always had control of the game and in the defining moments we were nearly infallible.” Keating answered back with his fourth goal of the game, but Poor Roberts seized the final opportunity of the day to seal the win 14-10 for Avalon Farm.

Avalon Farm Amanda Poor Roberts, Newport Tim Day (MA8_4357) ©Michele Almeida

Amanda Poor Roberts leads the pack with Newport’s Tim Day on her heels. ©Michele Almeida

Amanda Poor Roberts was named Most Valuable Player. “We reminded ourselves to play simple, smart arena polo and that was definitely key to our success,” Poor Roberts said. “I feel like I was able to control the ball well and slow it down so that we could all make the right plays. Also our communication was great for the final too which helped us seal the deal!”

Avalon Farm Eugenio Ferrari (DSC_4073) ©John Lincourt

Avalon Farm’s Eugenio Ferrari makes a powerful backshot. ©John Lincourt

Best Playing Pony was awarded to 14-year-old Maverick, a bay gelding owned and played by Dan Keating in the third chukker. “Maverick was bred in Texas and brought up from Aiken, South Carolina,” Keating said. “He is incredible for beginners, intermediate, and advanced polo players as well as intercollegiate/interscholastic and club polo alike. He is also a superstar on both grass and in the arena.”

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