Wellington. FL – One point made all the difference Wednesday, earning Villa del Lago a seat at the dinner table next Sunday in the Joe Barry Cup Finals at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. Villa del Lago beat Enigma in the semifinals, maintaining a razor-thin lead in the last two chukkers to win 11-10. Villa Del Lago Enigma Jim Zenni A Jerome Wirth 1 Agustin Obregon 5 Jeff Hall 7 Polito Pieres 9 Matias MacDonough 7 Julian de Lusarreta 6 Carlucho Arellano 5 Even legendary sports oddsmaker Jimmy the Greek couldn’t have predicted this one. Enigma owned the field from the get-go all the way until the fifth chukker, smacking in one goal after another and foiling its opponent at nearly every turn. Patron Jerome Wirth and his posse seemed unstoppable, charging ahead of Villa del Lago and keeping them on the run for the first two-thirds of the game – not an easy thing to do to a team powered by 9-goaler Polito Pieres.
|Jerome Wirth, Polito Pieres, Matias MacDonough, Jeff Hall, Julian de Lusarreta, Carlucho Arellano and Agustin Obregon. Photo: Liz Lamont/Phelps Media Group.|
Pieres made the first goal of the day but then seem off his stride for a while. In the first half some of his shots on goal went uncharacteristically wide, and he was repeatedly ridden off the ball by the Enigma machine. Jeff Hall, Matias MacDonough and Carlucho Arellano each scored a goal from the field in quick succession, with the first chukker ending 3-1 for Enigma. Pieres popped in a couple of penalty shots in the second chukker, as did MacDonough and Arellano. A MacDonough-Pieres sword fight spiced things up for a while, and then MacDonough ran off with the ball. It ended up ping-ponging between Pieres and Hall as they thundered down the field. Pieres swiped it and headed downfield, where he made one of his trademark neckshots, but it went wide of goal. Villa del Lago’s patron, Jim Zenni, scored from the field, tightening Engima’s lead to one point.
|Jerome Wirth. Photo: Liz Lamont/Phelps Media Group.|
The third chukker began 5-4 for Enigma, which promptly reasserted itself, putting two more points on the scoreboard courtesy of MacDonough and Arellano. Enigma displayed some quick and crafty moves, almost toying with Villa del Lago – which remained scoreless in the chukker – like a cat with a mouse. Villa del Lago managed to rally in the fourth chukker, with Pieres and Agustin Obregon each scoring. But Enigma puts its foot down pronto with goals from the field by Hall, MacDonough and Arellano. Going into the fifth chukker, Enigma held a commanding four-point lead (10-6). Just when it looked like the final scene had been written, the plot changed as fast as in a Fellini movie. Inexplicably (to anyone other than himself), Pieres suddenly sprang into life and stopped Enigma in its tracks. Before the end of the chukker, Pieres and company had scored five goals – five. Enigma, no doubt as stunned as the crowd of spectators, was scoreless.
|Matias MacDonough. Photo: Liz Lamont/Phelps Media Group.|
The fifth chukker ended with Villa del Lago in the driver’s seat, 11-10. And that’s how the game ended, with neither team scoring in the last chukker. Pieres conceded that Ville del Lago’s game was sub-par for the first half. “At the beginning we played really bad. The worst three chukkers we played,” he said. How did they turn things around? “We kept on playing, and we said, ‘We’re going to win; we’re going to win.’ We trusted ourselves. I think we made a hell of a comeback in the fifth chukker. And we’re happy that we won playing bad.” The Joe Barry Cup semifinals resume Thursday, with Orchard Hill playing Lucchese at IPC at 11 a.m. The Bobby Barry Semifinals take place in the afternoon, with Tonkawa playing Lechuza Caracas at 1 p.m. at Everglades Polo Club and FlexJet opposing Audi at 3 p.m. at IPC.
|Julian de Lusarreta and Jeff Hall. Photo: Liz Lamont/Phelps Media Group.|
#IPCsundaypolo #EVfield International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts: What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport. Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games. Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion. Designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends. Featured Highlights: Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal Jan. 1 – 4, 2015 Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal Jan. 4 – 25, 2015 Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015 Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015 USPA C.V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015 Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal March 4 – March 22, 2015 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal March 25 – April 19, 2015