Fielding an impressive 10 teams, the Delegate’s Cup concluded on Saturday, October 17, at Houston Polo Club (Houston, Texas) in a matchup between two undefeated teams, Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1 (Roxy Mounter, Lily Lequerica, Jimmy Seward, Shane Rice) and Sullivan Group/Vintage Polo 2 (Joe Bob Lequerica, Joanie Jackson, Nick Cifuni, Cody Ellis*). Utilizing the experience of Seward and Rice, Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1 executed their game plan by effectively marking their defenders and producing a balanced team offense to capture the trophy and the $2,5000 prize money with a 6-4 victory.
Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1’s Shane Rice and Sullivan Group/Vintage Polo 2’s Nick Cifuni battling on defense.
“We knew today was going to be a difficult game, and it definitely was! Shane and Jimmy kept telling us to stick with our men because Joe Bob and Joanie can both carry the ball down the field. I’m so proud of the way everyone played.” – Roxy Mounter of Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1
Defense highlighted the first chukker, leaving the scoreboard stuck on zeros. Mounter and Lily Lequerica worked tirelessly off the ball, limiting any runs to goal for Sullivan Group/Vintage Polo 2 with the work paying off throughout the first half. The momentum shifted to Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1 when Rice broke through to open the scoring followed by a Penalty 1 to extend the score 2-0. Rice’s second field goal of the chukker concluded the first half. Highlighting their use of defense to ignite their offense Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1 held a 3-0 lead.
Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1’s Jimmy Seward reaches for the hook on Sullivan Group/Vintage Polo 2’s Cody Ellis.
Reorganizing their attack, Sullivan Group/Vintage Polo 2 were determined to close the gap in the opening stages of the second half. A Penalty 3 conversion for Jackson got the ball rolling for her team, contributing to a three-goal third chukker that saw Ellis come forward from the back to score two field goals. Responding for Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1, Seward’s field goal kept his team holding a narrow lead entering the final chukker. Fighting back from the first half deficit, Ellis converted a Penalty 2, tying the score at 4-4, leaving the final few minutes to determine the champion. The attack of Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1 pushed downfield and received their second Penalty 1 of the game to restore the lead. With the clock winding down, Rice secured the 6-4 victory, scoring his third goal and leading Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1 to the title. “Horses! And good teammates” exclaimed Seward after the victory, describing the reason behind Roxstars/Vintage Polo 1’s success.
Most Valuable Player, Shane Rice, walked away with a bridle prize for his outstanding efforts.
“It was great to see three players under 20 all in the final, and for it to be a good game, was the coolest part of it. Always great to see up-and-coming youth in a final” said Rice, who was awarded Most Valuable Player.
Cody Ellis’ first chukker bay Gato received Best Playing Pony. A 6-year old appendix, Gato was raised by the Lequerica family out of a mare from Cathy Crebbs. “This is his first season of tournament polo and he has given everything I’ve asked of him. I can’t wait to see what his future has in store,” Ellis shared.
Best Playing Pony, Gato, played by Cody Ellis, pictured with the Lequerica family and Kathryn Rizeakos.
Moving up and competing in her first six-goal season, Mounter was pleased with the results. “This has been such a fun season for me! I’ve previously played with Shane in the Pro-Am, but this is my first six-goal season. Shane and Jimmy are both great coaches on and off the field, and Lily is a superb teammate, and such a fierce competitor! We are looking forward to the next one!”
*Cody Ellis is a Graduating Team USPA member. 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 courtesy of ©Kaylee Wroe Photography.