Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The first final at the start of the 2022 season on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida) featured a thrilling finish, as Beverly Polo’s (Bill Ballhaus, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Jorge “Tolito” Ocampo Jr., Hilario Figueras) Lucas Diaz Alberdi scored the overtime winning goal to defeat La Fe (Lucas Escobar*, Robi Bilbao, Francisco Elizalde, Louis Devaleix) 11-10 and capture the Iglehart Cup.
Beverly Polo managed to take advantage of early penalty opportunities to claim an initial advantage, but a determined La Fe battled back in the second half to briefly overtake the lead. La Fe found themselves in foul trouble however, with Beverly Polo’s Ocampo Jr. converting three consecutive penalties, aiding his team to reach overtime and the nail-biting victory.
Beverly Polo’s Lucas Diaz Alberdi keeps his eyes locked on the ball with La Fe’s Lucas Escobar in close pursuit.
Ocampo Jr. put Beverly Polo on the board in the early stages of the game on a Penalty 2 conversion, as Bilbao and Devaleix answered in quick succession for La Fe. Opening the second chukker with another penalty goal from Ocampo Jr., Beverly Polo took control of the remainder of the chukker as Diaz Alberdi scored his first of the match, followed by back-to-back goals from Ocampo Jr. The closely matched teams traded goals in the third, as Beverly Polo emerged with a 6-3 lead at the half.
Le Fe team owner Louis Devaleix prepares for a backshot.
Regrouping from a close first half, La Fe was able to storm back in the fourth with three unanswered goals, including one from Bilbao and two from Elizalde, to equalize the score 6-all. Figueras briefly regained the lead for Beverly Polo to open the fifth but were unable to score again for the reminder of the chukker. Despite an injury to La Fe team owner Devaleix at 7:12, he was able to remain in the game, allowing Escobar to carry Le Fe’s momentum forward and find the scoreboard with back-to-back goals to gain an 8-7 lead.
Most Valuable Player Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr. Presented by George Dupont, Executive Director of Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame.
Battling back to maintain the lead in the final chukker of play, Le Fe found themselves in foul trouble, allowing Ocampo Jr. to sink three consecutive goals from the penalty line for Beverly Polo. Trailing once more, strong play from Escobar and Bilbao allowed Le Fe to score the two crucial goals required and force the game into overtime. Sealing the closely-contested battle, Diaz Alberdi scored the golden goal to crown Beverly Polo the 2022 Iglehart Cup champions.
Most Valuable Player was awarded to Jorge “Tolito” Ocampo Jr. who finished the day with eight goals, while Francisco Elizalde’s nine-year-old chestnut mare Taita Milesima (Open Illuminado x Ellerstina Illusionada), played in the fourth chukker, claimed Best Playing Pony.
*Lucas Escobar is an Active 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 ©David Lominska.