A new Granite Bay lineup (Cameron Smith, Eric Hammon, Victor Soto and Alonso Andrade) made immediate waves in the opening two chukkers of Saturday’s opening round of round-robin play in the 2017 Jackalope Cup at the Eldorado Polo Club by playing Hanalei Bay (Krista Bonaguidi, Ron Bonaguidi, Ashton Wolf and Alvaro Tadeo) to a 3-3 tie.
Krista Bonaguidi scored the first goal of the day on a 30-yard penalty conversion, 1-0, that was countered by a goal from the field from Granite Bay’s Eric Hammon, 1-1. Alvaro Tadeo took the lead back for Hanalei Bay with his first goal of the day, 2-1, but Granite Bay continued to battle. Hammon’s second goal of the chukker had the teams all even at 2-2 after the opening seven minutes of play.
Tadeo scored the first goal of the second period as Hanalei Bay see-sawed their way back into the lead, but it was not to be. A determined Granite Bay attack managed to break through the Hanalei Bay defenders, with Cameron Smith scoring the final goal of the wo-chukker mini-match for a 3-3 draw.
The addition of Alonso Andrade appeared to be just what the Granite Bay team needed as a concerted offensive effort resulted in a goal from the field from Victor Soto for the early lead against defending champion, Pheasant Hollow (Deb Vermoch, Eileen Duffy, Carlos Galindo and Tim Rudy), 1-0. Consecutive goals from Debra Vermoch, Tim Rudy (60-yard penalty conversion) and Carlos Galindo, however, had Pheasant Hollow on top of a 3-1 score as the chukker ended.
Soto and Galindo traded goals in the fourth period of the day, as Pheasant Hollow continued to hold a two-gal advantage, 4-2, when the momentum shifted. After having suffered late loses in last week’s competition, Granite Bay supported back-to-back goals from Andrade with a solid defensive effort that left the game all even at 4-4 at the end of the contest.
The final two periods of the day saw Hanalei Bay securing their first win of the season over Pheasant Hollow in a nip-and-tuck match. Rudy scored the first goal of the final mini-match of the day, 1-0, when the Hanalei Bay defense stepped it up. A single goal from Ashton Wolf was the only other score in the chukker, 1-1, and both teams rode off the field for fresh mounts for the final period of the day.
A goal from Ron Bonaguidi opened the last chukker of the afternoon with Wolf adding two more goals. Granite Bay got single goals from Rudy and Galindo, but it was Hanalei Bay with the 4-3 lead as the chukker ended.
Granite Bay had their best showing of the young season as they tied both Hanalei Bay and Pheasant Hollow in head-on-head competition on Saturday. Hanalei takes a 4-3 lead (against Pheasant Hollow) and a 3-3 tie with Granite Bay into Sundays finals round of play. Pheasant Hollow, the winner in the first two tournaments of the month (Desert Challenge and Coyote Classic) finds itself on unfamiliar ground with one tie and one loss after the first day’s action.
In Round-robin play, all the teams will play one another for another two chukkers with the totals from Saturday being added to the goals scored on Sunday. The team with the best record will take the cup.
Jackalope Cup play is scheduled to get underway in a round-robin format, once again. Competition will kick-off on the Empire Polo Club’s Field 7 at 11:30AM.
The final four-goal tournament of the month, the Holiday Cup, is scheduled to be played at the Empire Polo Club on Saturday, December 23rd. The two-day competition will conclude on Saturday, December 24th
The 2017-2018 Empire Polo season attracts players from across the country and around the world and offers fourteen weekends of fast-paced polo in the beautiful and relaxed setting of California’s winter playground.
The Empire Polo Club is located at 81-800 Avenue 51 in Indio, CA. For further information go to the club website at http://www.empirepolo.com or call 760-342-7755.