By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos By: ChukkerTV
WELLINGTON, FL, April 14, 2021— Smithfield Farms defeated Rafool Polo by 8-7 yesterday to capture the title in the Madelon Bourdieu Memorial 6 Goal.
Smithfield Farms (Craig Callen, Bauti Crotto, Julio Ezcurra, and John Klopp) met Rafool Polo (Raymond Rafool, Nico Harriot, Henry Porter, and Gussie Busch) yesterday in the final match of the Madelon Bourdieu Memorial 6-Goal Final.
Barely 30 seconds into the match a crossing foul sent Julio Ezcurra to the penalty line, but in a bit of bad luck the shot went wide. That first whistle set the tone for the chukker, with Henry Porter scoring two goals on penalties for Rafool and Ezcurra scoring one from the line. Gussie Busch put the ball through from the field, while Bauti Crotto knocked in the final goal to end the period with Smithfield trailing 3-2. Henry Porter converted a Penalty 3 to take Rafool up to 4 goals on the board, while Bauti Crotto converted a Penalty 4. Busch found the posts again, ending the half with Rafool still in the lead at 5-3.
Rafool continued to play a strong game in the third period, and back-to-back goals from Porter put Rafool ahead by 7-3. With 48 seconds left on the clock, Crotto evaded Gussie Busch to score an important fourth goal for Smithfield. The fourth chukker was a textbook illustration of how quickly the tables can be turned in polo, as Smithfield came back with a vengeance. Smithfield won the first bowl-in and after a sword fight with Gussie Busch, Crotto took possession of the ball and worked it back to goal. After a near-miss by Henry Porter, Crotto scored again with 2 minutes on the clock and narrowed Rafool’s lead to one goal. At 1:07, Julio Ezcurra got out in front of Gussie Busch to score the equalizer. The horn sounded with the teams tied and the match went into overtime. It took two minutes of back and forth play before Julio Ezcurra got out in front to score the winning goal.
Bauti Crotta was named the MVP of the match with six goals to his credit, while La Suerte took the Best Playing Pony title.
The Memorial is played to honor Madelon Bourdieu, mother of Grand Champions Polo Operations Director Juan Bollini. Bourdieu, who passed away in 2009, came from a family with a strong polo tradition and was a player herself. The Bourdieu family has made significant contributions to the sport and founded two clubs in Argentina. The first Memorial, played six years ago, was won by a team including Juan Bollini, Santos Bollini, and Grant Ganzi. Says Bollini, “I’m touched that Marc and Melissa Ganzi were so kind and named this tournament for my mother. She worked hard to keep the tradition of polo alive in our family and inspired me to become a polo player.”