INSIDE POLO with Ron Allen
Eight 10 goal players are participating in the first of three 26-goal tournaments now underway in South Florida. Only nine teams signed up for the two-week Whitney Cup competition. It’s a “lose and out” format so every game counts. Several players have changed uniforms for this event since the handicap limit has gone from 20 to 26 goals.
C.V. Whitney Cup
The opening match between defending champion Valente and last years U.S. Open winner Zacara brought together the two best teams in the tournament.
2012 Valiente Team
Lyndon Lea’s Zacara Team
The sidelines were packed as fans turned out for the kick off of the 26 goal series in South Florida. The first goal came two minutes into the match on a penalty shot for Facundo Pieres (10). Zacara shut out Valiente 3 to nothing until late in the second when Adolfo Cambiaso (10) converted a penalty shot. The intensity of the game picked up dramatically in the third with both teams hitting long passes and riding hard on defense. At the half Zacara was hanging onto a one-goal lead 4 to 3.
A penalty shot by Santi Torres (6) tied the game at 4 all in the fourth. Then Cambiaso broke the tie with a penalty shot of his own to put Valiente ahead by one for the first time in the game. Both teams played full throttle in the remaining chukkers with no clear-cut winner to emerge until late in the match.
In the final minute of the game Cambiaso was tossed out and Valiente, with only three players, managed to make a 250-yard run to goal in an effort to tie the game in the waning seconds. A deep angled neck shot from Pelon Sterling (10) went wide and Zacara walked off with a hard fought win. Pieres had four goals to help lead his team to victory.
Adolfo & Facundo
The tournament is being played without a title sponsor and the primary field sponsorship is also absent this year. The two best squads will face off in the finals on Sunday March the third.
Ron Allen reports on high goal polo for Pololine TV and is the commentator for ESPN Television.