Audi, Colorado, SD Farms Remain Undefeated, Advance To Semifinals; WPL Action Resumes Saturday
WELLINGTON, Fl., March 15, 2019---Audi, Colorado and SD Farms all rose to the occasion to remain unbeaten and advance into next week's semifinal round of the Palm Beach Open.
In Thursday World Polo League action, Colorado (3-0) stunned Alegria (1-2), 15-7; SD Farms (3-0) held off Valiente (0-3), 11-10; and Audi (3-0) defeated Black Watch (0-3), 8-6.
After a day's rest on Friday, WPL action resumes on Saturday with two games. At 11 a.m., Flexjet plays SD Farms at Jan Pamela Field 3 and 4 p.m. Grand Champions plays Valiente at Valiente Polo Farm Field One.
Bracket play winds up Sunday with two games. At 11 a.m., Audi plays Alegria at Grand Champions Polo Club Field 1 and in the feature game Colorado plays Black Watch at 4 p.m. at Grand Champions Field 2.
What was expected to be a close battle at Jan Pamela Field turned out to be a lopsided victory for Colorado (Kian Hall, 3, Juan Martin Zubia, 7, Diego Cavanagh, 9, Jero del Carril, 7) over Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Jesse Bray, 6, Juan Martin Obregon, 5, Gringo Colombres, 7).
Hall, making his 26-goal tournament debut, played for Rob Jornayvaz, out with a back injury, for the third consecutive game. Hall played well defensively helping to contain Alegria's firepower.
Colorado played well on both ends of the field but was particularly impressive on defense shutting down Colombres for most of the game.
Playing some of its best polo of the season, Colorado jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the opening chukker and continued its offensive threat for 5-2 and 7-4 leads in the second and third chukkers. Colorado outscored Alegria, 8-3, in the second half including a 3-0 fifth chukker.
"We played well as a team," Cavanagh said. "We made good passes and nice goals. It was difficult to score on the goal against the wind. When we managed to score two goals in a row on the same goal we took advantage."
After Alegria knocked off Founders Cup champion Grand Champions to open the tournament, Colorado knew they would be the team to beat.
"Alegria is a great team, they are a four-man team and play really well," Cavanagh said. "We saw them beat Grand Champions and I know they can beat anyone on a good day. But today we were solid especially in the second half. We played well and playing every game better and better. Today was a really good game for us."
Colorado got balanced scoring. Del Carril scored a game-high five goals. Cavanagh and Zubia each had four goals and Hall added two goals.
For Alegria, Obregon led scoring with three goals. Colombres had two goals. Mannix and Bray each had one goal.
In the second game, also at Jan Pamela Field, SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Guillermo Terrera, 8, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) started off strong and then held off Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Agustin Nero, 6, Alejandro Taranco, 8, Pelon Stirling, 10) in the final minute of the game.
SD Farms controlled most of the game behind a balanced attack. SD Farms opened with a 2-0 lead and led 4-3 at the half. SD Farms led 11-8 after the fifth chukker after outscoring Valiente, 2-0. But Valiente kept the pressure on to keep the game close outscoring SD Farms, 2-0, in the final chukker to come within one but ran out of time.
Dantata, who said he is already looking forward to the WPL's second season, continues to improve with every 26-goal game.
"We are in the semifinals thanks to the king here," Dantata said referring to Cambiaso. "I am very excited to get there. It is the first cup we have played and when you get to the semifinal it is a good feeling.
"It was a very tough team, those guys came out to win. Our team came back strong against them. I love every minute of every game. I am in love with this high goal. Playing with the best brings out the best in me. A lot of things I couldn't have seen in the lower goal I am able to see here and improve."
Cambiaso, playing against his former teammates, was happy with the win.
"Today we had some bad chukkers but at least we end up playing better as a team, so it was good," Cambiaso said. "I play against Bob a lot when I play with Rob. He does those things that we play against each other so you get used to it. The thing is we both wanted to win."
Cambiaso led SD Farms with a team-high six goals, Torres had four goals and Terrera added one goal. Sterling scored a game-high seven goals, including five penalty conversions and Taranco added three goals.
In the third and final game at Valiente Polo Farm, Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Pablo MacDonough, 10, Kris Kampsen, 6) led from start-to-finish to defeat Black Watch (Juan Cruz Merlos, 5, Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8, Tommy Biddle, 5).
Audi led 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1 at the half. Black Watch outscored Audi, 1-0, in the fifth but could never make up the deficit.
MacDonough led Audi with a game-high four goals. Ganzi and Roldan each had two goals. Merlos, Figueras and Biddle each had two goals for Black Watch.
The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.
Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S.
The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.
The WPL, with 14 tournament-quality fields to play on, includes the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo.
The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.
The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Uruguay and U.S.
Grand Champions and Valiente are also launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps, in March.
In addition to the World Polo League, season highlights for 2019 at Grand Champions are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and WCT Final.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.