Scone Wins World Polo League Founders Cup Opener; Wednesday Doubleheader Set For Valiente

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WELLINGTON, Fla., February 20, 2019---Scone opened the Founders Cup with an impressive win over Flexjet Tuesday at breezy Jan Pamela Field. 

Scone (David Paradise, 0, Guillermo Terrera, 8, Pelon Stirling, 10, Alejandro Taranco, 8) controlled most of the game for an 11-9 victory over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, A, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8/Lucas Lalor, 5, Pablo Spinacci, 6).

"This was good fun," Stirling said. "Everyone is back on the main teams for the season. We are happy to start out with the win. This was a good game to start off with to get to know the teammates. We have a hard game on Thursday with Audi coming up." 

Based on Flexjet's handicap, Scone trailed 5-0 to open the game and quickly made up the deficit behind a strong offensive attack led by 10-goaler Pelon Stirling and one-two punch of Guillermo Terrera and Alejandro Taranco.

Flexjet scored only one goal in the first chukker when Bigatti lofted a long ball with 4:27 remaining for a 6-1 lead. After that, it was all Scone.

"It was difficult because we knew we were starting down," Stirling said. "But we knew that also if we played well we could recover that advantage that they had. They are a strong team but we managed to get our game going, control it and get some quick goals at the beginning of the game and let us organize the team the way we wanted. This is a really good fun team."

The chemistry was evident among all four players. Stirling has played several times in England and Argentina with his cousin Alejandro Taranco and Guillermo Terrara. Paradise played with Taranco and Terrara in the opening All Star Challenge Draw Tournament.

"I love playing with these guys," Paradise said. "It's fun, that's what I like about it. They are good guys. I love the World Polo League. It's very good fun. I am very privileged to play with these guys like this. I do really appreciate this. I like being serious about the game, that's why I am playing this. It's fast, it's tough and competitive. I don't want any practice chukkers. Even after all these years I am still not very good, but I do love it. I've got the best spectator seat in the house."

Scone scored three goals in the first chukker with two from Terrera and one by Stirling. Scone then outscored Flexjet 4-0 in the next two chukkers to take a 7-6 lead at halftime. Scone never trailed after that.

Scone outscored Flexjet, 2-0, to open the second half. Flexjet was dealt a severe blow in the fourth chukker when 8-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada was hit in the mouth with a mallet with 4:04 left and was forced to leave the game with a deep gash on his lip which required stitches. Lucas Lalor replaced him in the lineup and with 2:10 left sent a long pass to Bigatti who scored to trail, 9-7.

Scone remained in control of the game in the final chukker. Taranco scored with 4:12 left for a 10-7 lead. Bigatti came right back with a goal to trail 10-8. Terrera scored with 2:13 to put the game out of reach and Lalor added another goal to end the game.

Terrera led Scone with a game-high six goals. Stirling had three goals and Taranco added two goals. 
Bigatti led Flexjet with three goals and Lalor had one.

In Tuesday's doubleheader, Colorado (Rob Jornayvaz, 2, Juan Martin Zubia, 7, Diego Cavanagh, 9, Jero del Carril, 7) plays Black Watch (Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8, Juan Cruz Merlos, 6, Tommy Biddle, 5) at 11 a.m. Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10, Agustin Nero, 6) plays Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Juan Martin Obregon, 5, Mariano Obregon, 6, Jesse Bray, 6) at 4 p.m. Both games are at Valiente Polo Farm.

On Thursday, Scone plays Audi at 10 a.m. at Valiente and Flexjet will look to regroup against Grand Champions at 1:30 p.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club's Field One.

With prize money on the line starting in the semifinals, eight teams will compete in bracket play to determine the two finalists for the March 3 championship at Grand Champions Field 2 at 4 p.m. 

"I think the World Polo League is amazing," Stirling said. "It showed in the first final the other day. It was well-organized. The field was good. The level of the game was amazing.

"It is fantastic for polo here in the states to keep on playing 26-goal," Stirling said. "To have these kind of players, these kind of teams and this kind of organization is amazing. We already had plenty of people watching the first final and I think it's going to be even better in the next three."

The top four teams in Bracket A are Alegria, Valiente, Black Watch and Colorado. The top four teams in Bracket B are Grand Champions, Scone, Flexjet and Audi.

The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay. 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 exciting new league, that will offer major prize money, 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, including no yellow cards, to improve the flow and action of the game.

The WPL, with 14 tournament-quality fields to play on, also includes the Feb. 19-March 3 Founders Cup, March 6-24 Palm Beach Open and March 27-April 14 Triple Crown of Polo.

The WPL game finals will be held Sundays on Field Two at Grand Champions at 4 p.m. and semifinal games at Valiente Polo Farm, Fields One and Two. Several games will also be held throughout the week at various times. Admission is free along with food and refreshments at the featured games. 

The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Entries are still open and everyone is welcome to play. 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, 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, March 1-31 $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, March 1-16 John T. Oxley Memorial and March 3-24 $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament.

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.

Candace Ferreira