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Palm Restaurant Invitational

Grand Champions wins Palm Restaurant Invitational

By Alex Webbe


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Grand Champions Polo Club (Melissa Ganzi, Glen Straub, Julio Ezcurra and Juan Bollini) trailed 5-4 at halftime but rallied to score an 11-10 win over Newport (Michael Bellissimo, Wes Finlayson, Gene Goldstein and Michel Dorignac) in the finals of the 2013 Palm Restaurant Invitational Sunday morning at Wellington’s Grand Champions Polo Club. polo tournament, polo magazine


Julio Ezcurra scored the first two goals of the game (one on a penalty shot) and Juan Bollini added a goal from the field for a 3-0 lead.  Newport’s Wes Finlayson scored with 30 seconds on the clock to end the first chukker, but it was Grand champions with the early 3-1 lead.


Newport stepped it up in the second period as they shut down the Grand Champions attack while picking up two goals of their own.  Gene Goldstein converted a 40-yard penalty shot followed by a tying goal from the field from Michael Bellissimo, 3-3. 


Goldstein added another penalty goal in the third to edge Grand Champions, 4-3.  Bollini’s second goal of the game had it all even again at 4-4 at the four minute mark.  Finlayson scored the final goal of the first half to put Newport in front, 5-4.


Ezcurra converted a penalty shot to open the second half, 5-5, and added a goal from the field just a minute later for a 6-5 Grand Champion’s lead.   Bollini drove the ball through the Newport goalposts to put Grand Champions ahead by two goals, 7-5.  With 1:21 left in the chukker Ezcurra’s third goal of the period had Newport trailing by three goals, 8-5. A Grand Champion’s foul in the closing seconds of the period sent Newport to the penalty line where Michel Dorignac converted a 60-yard safety, 8-6.


The two teams matched one another goal for goal in the fifth.  Ezcurra added two more goals for Grand Champions and teammate Bollini scored a goal from the field while Newport got single goals from Goldstein, Dorignac and Finlayson.  After five chukkers of play, Grand Champions maintained their two goal lead, 11-9.


Goals were hard to come by in the final chukker with Finlayson accounting for the only goal of the period in the final 15 seconds of the game.  It was Grand Champions who celebrated the fast-paced 11-10 victory.


Ezcurra led all scoring with seven goals (three on penalty shots).  Bollini scored four times in the win.  Finlayson set the pace for Newport with four goals.  Two of Goldstein’s three goals came on penalty conversions.  Dorignac added two goals (one on a penalty conversion) and Bellissimo added a goal in the loss.


Michael Bellissimo was named MVP for his efforts in the match while Halo Polo’s stallion, Quarzo (played in two chukkers by Straub), was honored as Best Playing Pony.




A second Grand Champions team (Juan Forero, Juancito Bollini, Hector Galindo and Tommy Biddle) downed Berlin Polo (Moritz Gaedeke, Ricky Marshad, Sugar Erskine and Martin Estrada) 9-6 to win the subsidiary round of play in the Palm Restaurant Invitational.


Hector Galindo accounted for the only goal of the opening chukker for the early 1-0 Grand Champions lead.


Tommy Biddle extended the Grand Champions’ lead to two goals, 2-0 in the second before Moritz Gaedeke got Berlin Polo on the scoreboard with a goal, 2-1, to end the chukker.


Galindo and Gaedeke traded goals in the third as Grand Champions held on to a low scoring 3-2 halftime advantage.


Biddle put Grand Champions on top, 4-2, with a goal from the field in fourth chukker action.  Ricky Marshad cut the lead back to a single goal with his first score of the game, 4-3, and Gaedeke tied it up at 4-4 on a penalty conversion, 4-4.


Biddle took control of the game in the fifth scoring three consecutive goals including an impressive 300 yard run following a defensive clearing from his own goal.   Berlin Polo was unable to mount an attack of its own and fell behind, 7-4.


The two Grand Champions and Berlin Polo traded goals in the final seven minutes of play with Gaedeke and Estrada scoring for Berlin Polo while Juancito Bollini and Biddle scored single goals for Grand Champions in the 9-6 win.


Biddle was credited with six goals on the day and received MVP honors for his efforts.  Galindo scored twice and Juancito Bollini added a goal in the Grand Champions victory.  Gaedeke scored four goals (one penalty goal) for Berlin Polo.  Estrada and Marshad each added a goal in the loss.

Halo Polo’s Bosh, an eight-year-old Bay American TB mare was named Best Playing Pony. polo tournament, polo magazine polo tournament, polo magazine polo tournament, polo magazine polo tournament, polo magazine