Starting off the tournament with a disappointing overtime loss to Folly Fields (Terri Campbell, Stephen Burr, Marcos Onetto, Adam Snow), Del Rancho/Black Oak (Johann Colloredo-Mansfeld, Manuel Mazzocchi, David Strouss, Nachi Viana) found themselves with one last opportunity to defeat their experienced opponents in the Chairman’s Cup Final on Monday, August 3. Heading into halftime down by one goal, Del Rancho/Black Oak held their own throughout the second half to pull off the narrow win 12-11 at Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Maintaining the advantage during the first half, Folly Fields opened the first chukker with two back-to-back goals from each of their 4-goalers. A powerful offensive force throughout the game, Nachi Viana successfully added three of his own to the scoreboard before Folly Fields had an opportunity to strike again. Converting two Penalty 4’s, Adam Snow was countered once again by Viana heading into the third 4-all. Although both teams battled to establish a firm/comfortable lead the scoreboard remained close in favor of Folly Fields 6-5 at halftime.
Del Rancho/Black Oak’s Nachi Viana.
Making his move early in the fourth, Viana hammered two field goals between the posts, but Onetto stopped the offensive drive with his third goal of the day. “We adjusted in the second half by sending Nachi [Viana] and Manuel [Mazzochi] to Adam Snow and Marcos Onetto on Folly Field’s hit-ins to break up their rhythm,” David Strouss revealed. Determined to help Del Rancho/Black Oak get ahead, Viana brought his team’s tally to 8-7 on his mare Pichicata to take the lead for the first time. Trading goals in the fifth, Manuel Mazzocchi and Onetto picked up a pair of goals and with the help of Colloredo-Mansfeld as Del Rancho/Black Oak began to widen the gap 11-9. Penalty conversions continuing to play a crucial role into the sixth chukker, Snow brought Folly Fields within one to which Viana responded with a pivotal Penalty 3. As the minutes quickly ran out Folly Fields tried to force another overtime chukker but came up just short, conceding the trophy to Del Rancho/Black Oak 12-11.
Del Rancho/Black Oak’s Johann Colloredo-Mansfeld rides alongside Folly Fields’ Stephen Burr.
Claiming the 2019 Chairman’s Cup trophy with Longmeadow, Mazzocchi was proud to raise the trophy once again. “It was an amazing tournament and I’m very happy that I was able to win it for the second time!” Mazzocchi exclaimed.
Responsible for eight goals, Nachi Viana was named Most Valuable Player. “The goals I contributed were made possible by an effort from the whole team, I was just lucky enough to score them,” Viana said with humility. “Our team was well organized, with David [Strouss] and Johann [Colloredo-Mansfeld] pushing up front and Manuel [Mazzocchi] and I rotating in the back. What helped me the most were the horses my brother Felipe [Viana]* gave me for the tournament. I could be everywhere on the field and that’s what allowed me to score a lot of goals.”
Most Valuable Player, Nachi Viana, presented by Myopia Polo Captain Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld.
Viana also swept Best Playing Pony honors with his 15-year-old Uruguayan mare Pichicata, who he played for almost five minutes during the fourth chukker. “Felipe played her for many years and he gave her to me for the season. She is a very handy and powerful horse with a light mouth and her start is amazing. She was bred by my dad in San Jorge, Durazno, Uruguay, at a cattle ranch.” Watching this horse grow up, Viana played her for the first time 10 years ago. “I played her when she was five years old back in Uruguay before Felipe decided to bring her to the United States,” Viana continued. “So I know her pretty well and that’s what gives me a lot of confidence when I ride her!”
Best Playing Pony Pichicata, played by Nachi Viana, owned by Felipe Viana, pictured with Gabriel Bayona.
The members of Del Rancho/Black Oak having never played together previously, Strouss enjoyed the victory even more so because of his fierce and competitive opponents. “It will certainly be memorable to have played in the Chairman’s Cup Final against Adam Snow and Marcos Onetto who are in my opinion two of the greatest players in polo,” Strouss commented.
*Felipe Viana is a Team USPA alumni. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
All photos ©Jacqueline Miller.