There was plenty of action Sunday at the Empire Polo Club with 13 teams competing in three different and distinct levels of play.
In the feature match of the day, Lockton (Tim Kelly, Bryan Middleton, Andres Gonzalez and Francisco Guinazu) bounced back from a Friday loss to edge Granite Bay (Eric Hammon, Alvaro Tadeo, Marcos Llambias and Catlin Dix), 9-8, in the 8-goal USPA Constitution Cup tournament action.
Lockton’s Bryan Middleton exploded for three first chukker goals while Granite Bay was limited to a single 40-yard penalty conversion from Marcos Llambias. The 7-goal Granite Bay team received one goal by handicap, but After the first seven minutes of play it was Lockton with the 3-2 lead.
Middleton struck again in the second period while his teammates succeeded in shutting down the Granite Bay attack. The Lockton lead grew to two goals, 4-2.
Middleton’s fifth goal of the afternoon was followed by a 30-yard penalty conversion from Tim Kelly that had Lockton holding on to a four-goal lead, 6-2. Llambias scoffed the final goal of the first half as Granite Bay trailed by three goals, 6-3.
The Granite Bay defense tightened in the fourth, holding Lockton scoreless for the first time all day. Alvaro Tadeo scored the only goal of the chukker, getting to within two goals of the lead, 6-4.
Both offenses got on track in the fifth. Middleton scored from the field and teammate Francisco Guinazu added a 60-yard penalty goal. Granite Bay responded with a pair of goals from Tadeo and a goal from Catlin Dix. After five periods of play, Granite Bay had cut the Lockton lead back to a single goal, 8-7.
In a do-or-die sixth chukker Lockton drew first blood, with Guinazu stretching the Lockton lead back to two goals, 9-7. There was no quit in the Granite Bay offense as they pressed their attack A goal from Llambias brought Granite Bay back to within a goal of the lead, once again, but time and a solid defense was on the side of Lockton as they leveled their record at 1-1 with the 9-8 victory. Granite Bay suffered their second straight tournament loss and fell to 0-2.
Middleton led all scoring with six goals on the day. Guinazu scored twice and Kelly added a goal for the win. Llambias and Tadeo scored three goals apiece. Dix added a goal and the team received one goal by handicap.
Evergreen 14, Spindrift 12
Earlier in the day Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Carlitos Galindo, Juan Jo Gonzalez and Shane Rice) faced Spindrift (John Bickford, Luis Saracco, Tan Khan and Iggy Deltour) in their first USPA Constitution Cup match in one of the most raucous and hard-riding game of the season.
Thirty-two fouls and five Yellow flags later, according to Empire’s polo manager, Vicky Owens, Evergreen emerged with a 14-12 victory.
Shane Rice made his presence known by scoring the first goal of the game on a 60-yard penalty shot. Iggy Deltour countered with a pair of goals for Spindrift for a ne goal lead, 2-1. Juan Jo Gonzalez made good on a 40-yard penalty shot with Spindrift’s John Bickford closing out the chukker with his first goal of the day for a 3-2 Spindrift lead.
Penalties began to take their toll on both teams in the second. Four of the five goals scored came from the penalty line with Rice converting from 30, 40 and 60-yards for three goals and Deltour adding a 60-yarder and a goal from the field for Spindrift. At the end of the second period the score was all even at 5-5.
Fouls continued to plague an aggressive Evergreen offense in third period play. Bickford scored on a 40-yard penalty shot and Tan Khan scored from the 30-yard line. Evergreen was kept off the scoreboard and trailed 7-5 at the end of the first half.
A very physical game continued into the second half with Evergreen getting the benefit of Spindrift fouls in the fourth. Gonzalez scored a goal from the field and Rice added another penalty goal. Carlitos Galindo scored once from the field and once from the penalty line. Spindrift was held to a single goal from the field from Bickford and fell behind Evergreen, 9-8.
Deltour tied the game at 8-8 with the opening goal of the fifth, but goals from Evergreen’s Tom Sprung and Gonzalez put Evergreen in front, 11-9. Luis Saracco scored for Spindrift with Rice converting another 40-yard penalty shot that ended the chukker with Evergreen on top, 12-10.
The two teams traded goals in the sixth with Saracco scoring first for Spindrift, 12-11 and Gonzalez countering with a goal for Evergreen, 13-11. An Evergreen foul sent Saracco to the penalty line where he converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal, cutting the Evergreen lead back to a single goal, 13-12, but Galindo closed the door on them with his third goal of the game for the 14-12 victory
Constitution cup play is scheduled to resume on Friday, March 16th with Evergreen (1-0) facing Granite Bay (1-1) and REMAX (1-0) meeting Spindrift (1-1).