Adolfo Cambiaso made it clear that he’s back in town and he’s still the king as he led his Crab Orchard team to an 18-11 shellacking of an Audi team that won the US Open Championship last year-in his absence. The win came in the opening round of the 2010 USPA Piaget Gold Cup Saturday at the International Polo Club in Wellington.
Crab Orchard 8-goaler Hilario Ulloa scored the first two goals of the game before Audi responded with goals from Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres to tie it at 2-2. Cambiaso and Julio Arellano each added a goal to end the first chukker with Crab Orchard holding a 4-2 lead.
A new Audi team took the field in the second chukker, scoring five times while holding Crab Orchard to single goals from Ulloa and Arellano. Facundo Pieres scored three goals for Audi, Marc Ganzi and Gonzalo Pieres each added a goal. Audi left the field with a 7-6 advantage.
Foul trouble gave Arellano and Cambiaso opportunities to cash in, and each of them did, Cambiaso added two more from the field. Audi was held to a single penalty goal from Facundo Pieres and a high-scoring first half ended with Crab Orchard on top of a 10-8 score.
“We tried to put it away in the fourth chukker,” admitted Cambiaso after the game, “but we couldn’t,” and the game wore on.
The fast pace increased as the game wore on, and Audi got another goal from team captain Ganzi while Facundo Pieres added two more. Arellano accounted for the only Crab Orchard goal on a penalty conversion and the teams were all even after four chukkers at 11-11.
But just when it looked to be a classic battle to the end, Cambiaso and Crab Orchard took over. Two penalty conversions by Cambiaso were followed by a goal from the field from Arellano while Audi struggled to find the goal. Crab Orchard took a 14-11 lead into the last chukker and proceeded humiliate the Audi team.
Cambiaso added three more goals from the field with Arellano converting his fourth penalty shot of the day. A frustrated Audi team that played so well for most of the game left the field disheartened. Crab Orchard was elated with the 18-11 win.
Crab Orchard rebounded from the 11-11 tie to score seven unanswered goals for the win, with Cambiaso accounting for five of them, and leading the field with nine goals on the day.
ORCHARD HILL 11, PONY EXPRESS 10
Bautista Heguy scored nine times for Pony Express, but it was a three goal chukker and a last second score by Lucas Criado that lifted Orchard Hill to an 11-10 win over a Pony Express team in the day’s second game of the Piaget Gold Cup.
After a 5-5 halftime tie, Pony Express fought its way back into the game with Bautista Heguy scoring five goals in the course of the fourth and fifth chukkers to take a 108- lead, but Orchard Hill wasn’t out of gas yet.
Showing the character of champions in the sixth and final chukker of play, Orchard Hill relied on shutout defense and single goals from Hector Galindo, 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough to tie it up at 10-10 and a last second scoring drive by Criado to take the game, 11-10.
Heguy led all scorers with nine goals for Pony Express, but it was Criado who delivered the winning goal just seconds before the final horn sounded.
LECHUZA CARACAS 10, VALIENTE 9
Lechuza got off to a good start in the final Gold Cup match of the day, running up a 6-3 halftime score in the opening three chukkers of play before hanging on for the narrow 11-10 win.
Lechuza got goals from every member of the team in the first half of play, and held a 7-4 lead after four chukkers of play when Valiente managed to wake up and play the aggressive brand of polo that carried then into last week’s C. V. Whitney Cup finals.
Single goals from Magoo Laprida, Miguel Astrada and Nacho Astrada had Valiente within a goal of Lechuza after five chukkers, with momentum looking to shift.
Sapo Caset scored twice in the final frame while Valiente got goals from Laprida and Nacho Astrada to stay within striking distance. A final run at the Lechuza goals went awry when a 100 yard shot at goal from Miguel Astrada went just wide of the goal as the game ended with Lechuza on the winning end of a 1-9 game.
2010 USPA Piaget Gold Cup action will continue on Sunday with a noon match between Las Monjitas and Bendabout/Wanderers followed by the stadium feature match of Piaget vs. the Hawks.