By Alex Webbe
Tuesday wins by Enigma (Jerome Wirth, Jeff Hall, Matias MacDonough and Carlucho Arellano) and Palm Beach Illustrated/TechnoGym (Nacho Badiola, Jared Zenni, Facundo Obregon and Jesse Bray) ended the first round of play in the 2016 Ylvisaker Cup at the International Polo Club Tuesday afternoon in 20-goal tournament action.
In the opening match of the day it was Villa del Lago (Jim Zenni, Guille Aguero, Hilario Ulloa and Agustin Obregon) with the opening three goals of the match with Argentine 9-goaler Hilario Ulloa scoring in the first 36 seconds of the game on a 40-yard penalty conversion followed by a goal from the field from teammate Agustin Obregon, 2-0. With just 2:38 on the clock, Ulloa added a goal for a 3-0 advantage over a u focused Enigma lineup. Enigma team captain Jerome Wirth finally got his team on the scoreboard with just 1:31 left to play. At the end of the first chukker Enigma trailed by two goals, 3-1.
Second period action saw a different Enigma team on the field as they continued to press the Villa del Lago defense. Carlucho Arellano scored the first goal of the chukker from the field, 3-2, and followed it up with a 30-yard penalty conversion three minutes later that tie the game at 3-3. Jeff Hall scored the final goal of the chukker with less than a minute on the clock that had Enigma in the lead, 4-3 with Villa del Lago unable to score.
The third chukker was almost a carbon copy of the second with Arellano scoring the first two gals of the chukker (on successive penalty conversions from the 40 and 60-yard line). Hall closed out the chukker with his second goal of the game with 48 seconds left in the chukker. For the second straight chukker Villa del Lago was held scoreless and Enigma left the field at the end of the first half on top of a 7-3 lead.
In a defensively-oriented fourth chukker, Arellano’s fifth goal of the game came from the field and extended the Enigma lead to five goals, 8-3. Ulloa responded with a goal for Villa del Lago in the final seconds of the chukker, but it was an unfamiliar Villa del Lago that left the field at the end of the period trailing by four goals, 8-4.
Villa del Lago showed sparks of life in the fifth, but an aggressive Enigma defense held them in check. Ulloa converted a 30-yard penalty shot that cut the Enigma lead down to three goals, 8-5, but Enigma wasn’t willing to let them back into the game. Consecutive goals from Arellano and Hall closed out the chukker with Enigma sailing along with a five goals advantage, 10-5.
Ulloa opened the sixth chukker with a goal from the field before a swarming defense shut down the Villa del Lago attack. Arellano made it 11-6 with only two minutes on the clock, with Ulloa scoring the final goal of the game with 1:02 on the clock for the 11-7 Enigma victory.
Arellano led all scoring with seven goals (three on penalty conversions). Hall added three goals and Wirth scored a goal for the win. Ulloa’s six goals (two on penalty shots) led an anemic Villa del Lago attack that was unable to score in two of the six chukkers. Obregon was credited with the team’s other goal in an uncharacteristic loss for the team.
Palm Beach Illustrated/TechnoGym 12, Dubai 11
In the second Ylvisaker Cup match of the day a balanced Palm Beach Illustrated/TechnoGym lineup (Nacho Badiola, Jared Zenni, Facundo Obregon and Jesse Bray) outlasted a talented Dubai polo team (Rashid Albwardy, Carlos Gracida, Diego Cavanagh and Alejo Taranco) to take the game in a 12-11 battle at the International Polo Club.
Palm Beach Illustrated team captain Jared Zenni scored the first goal of the game at the 5:08 mark followed by a goal from teammate Nacho Badiola at 3:21. Facundo Obregon converted a 60-yard penalty shot with just 44 seconds on the clock. A stunned Dubai team was held without a goal for the opening chukker and trailing, 3-0.
The opening chukker was a wake-up call for the Dubai players who stormed back into the game in the second period. The Palm Beach defense held Dubai scoreless for the first three minutes of the second chukker before Diego Cavanagh scored Dubai’s first goal, 3-1. Alejo Taranco followed up with a goal at the 3:01 mark with Palm Beach Illustrated having difficulties on both offense and defense. Cavanagh converted a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal that had the score all even at 3-3 after two periods of play.
The Dubai offense appeared to be back at full strength in the third period. Despite an opening penalty goal from Obregon that pushed Palm Beach Illustrated back into the lead, 4-3, the Dubai attack was back in focus. Cavanagh made Palm Beach Illustrated pay for fouling, converting penalty shots from the 60 and 40-yard markers to move ahead, 5-4. Obregon tied it, 5-5, with a 60-yard penalty goal of his own, but Dubai wasn’t through. Dubai team captain Rashid Albwardy scored on a pass from Taranco and Cavanagh scored on his third penalty shot of the chukker to give Dubai a 7-5 halftime advantage.
Palm Bach Illustrated went back to work in the fourth period but both defenses held their ground. With 3:22 left in the chukker Jesse Bray scored his first goal of the day, cutting the Dubai lead to a single goal, 7-6. Two minutes later Obregon punished a Dubai foul by converting a 60-yard penalty shot for the tying goal, 7-7, and the final score of the chukker.
Dubai wasn’t ready to roll over and charged back into the fray in the opening seconds of the fifth period. A Palm Beach Illustrated goal sent Cavanagh to the penalty line where he converted from 30-yards out to edge Palm Beach Illustrated, 8-7. Two minutes later Cavanagh stretched the Dubai lead to two goals, 9-7, with another penalty conversion. Obregon’s fifth goal of the day cut the Dubai lead down to a single goal, 9-8, but Taranco got it back twenty seconds later with his second goal of the game, 10-8. A late Dubai foul allowed Palm Beach Illustrated to climb back into the game with Obregon scoring on a 30-yard penalty shot and ending the chukker trailing, 10-9.
Zenni tied the game for Palm Beach Illustrated at 10-10 in sixth chukker play, but Dubai stormed back. Cavanagh converted a 60-ayrd penalty shot for an 11-10 lead and 4:25 left in regulation play. Badiola scored his second goal of the day at the 3:36 mark and tied the game, 11-11, as Palm Beach Illustrated continued to press the attack. With 2:24 on the game clock, Bray took possession of the ball deep in the Palm Beach Illustrated end of the field and raced over 240-yards down the field to score. Dubai fought to break through the Palm Beach Illustrated in the final seconds of the game but the lead held and Palm Beach Illustrated rode off with a hard-fought 12-11 victory.
Obregon led the Palm Beach Illustrated offense with six goals (five on penalty conversions). Badiola, Bray and Zenni added two goals apiece for the win. Cavanagh scored seven of his game-high eight goals on penalty shots. Taranco added two goals and Albwardy was credited with a single goal in the loss.
Ylvisaker Cup action will resume on Friday, February 12 with three games scheduled to begin the second round of lay. In a 10am game Horseware/5Star/Tackeria (Matt Coppola, Hugo Lloret, Mike Azzaro and Brad Mallett) I scheduled to face Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Gonzalo Deltour, Sebastian Merlos and Mason Wroe) followed by a 1pm game between Dubai and La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Joao Paulo Ganon, Ruki Baillieu and Tommy Collingwood). A final 3:30 game between Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Facundo Pieres, Peke Gonzalez and Lucas Criado) and Palm Beach Illustrated/TechnoGym will cap off the day’s competition.