By Alex Webbe
Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Malcolm Borwick and Stewart Armstrong) received three goals by handicap from the 16-goal SD Farms polo team (Sayyu Dantata, Peco Polledo, Andres Weisz and Allen Martinez) in the opening round of play in the 16-goal Santa Rita Abierto and managed to hold on to the lead through the third chukker before losing steam in the second half in the 13-11 SD Farms victory.
Andres Weisz scored the first goal from the field that cut the Casablanca lead to two goals, 3-1. English 6-goaler Malcolm Borwick countered with a 60-yard penalty conversion to make it 4-1. Peco Polledo scored the final goal of the opening chukker leaving Casablanca with the lead, 4-2.
Borwick converted a 60-yard Safety to open the second period, 5-2. Three straight goals from SD Farms tied the game at 5-5 with Allen Martinez scoring once followed by back-to-back goals from Sayyu Dantata. Stewart Armstrong closed out the chukker with a pair of goals that gave Casablanca a 7-5 advantage.
SD Farms cut back into the Casablanca lead in the third period. Martinez converted a 30-yard penalty shot, 7-6. Casablanca responded with a goal from the field from Grant Ganzi, 8-6. Martinez ended the first half with a goal from the field that had SD Farms trailing by a single goal, 8-7.
A refocused and refreshed SD Farms took the field in the fourth chukker with renewed vigor. Polledo tied the game with the first goal of the chukker. Martinez scored on a 40-yard penalty shot that he followed up with a goal from the field. The SD Farms held Casablanca scoreless in the fourth as they charged out to a 10-8 lead.
Three more fifth period goals stretched the SD Farms lead to 13-9 on two more goals from Weisz and a goal from Dantata. Casablanca was held to a single penalty goal from Armstrong.
Casablanca continued to have difficulties coordinating their offensive attack in the final chukker of the game and were limited to a pair of penalty goals from Borwick. SD Farms didn’t put a single goal on the scoreboard in the final seven minutes of the game, but again, they didn’t need to as they coasted to the 13-11 victory.
Martinez scored two of his game-high five goals from the field. Weisz and Dantata added three goals each with Polledo scoring twice for the win. Borwick scored four penalty goals. Armstrong accounted for three goals; Ganzi scored once and the team received three goals by handicap.
Santa Rita Abierto play will continue on Saturday, March 19th with a 3pm game between Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Tommy Collingwood, Brandon Phillips and Jeff Blake) and Dutta Corp. (Timmy Dutta, Carlitos Gracida, Piki Alberdi and Mariano Gracida).
The Grand Champions Polo Club is located at 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414. The matches are free of charge and the public is invited to attend. The Grand Champions Polo Hotline is 561-373-0073.