After four games and a penalty shoot-out last week, the semifinal matches were set for the Monty Waterbury Cup in the 20-goal polo tournament at the Bridgehampton Polo Club.
In a doubleheader on Sunday, Lechuza Caracas beat Heathcote, 15-11, and Equuleus beat White Birch Farm, 10-8. The results of those games created a three-way tie for first that included Equuleus, Lechuza and White Birch, all of whom had 2-1 records, which created the need for the penalty shoot-out. Equuleus won the shoot-out and was scheduled to play Heathcote (0-3) in one semifinal, while Lechuza and White Birch were scheduled to play in the other semifinal.
The games were slated for Wednesday, July 31, and the final for the Waterbury Cup will take place at Two Trees Farm on Saturday at 4 p.m. A subsidiary final, to determine the third-place team, also was slated to take place at a time that had not been determined as of Monday. Results from all the games will be in next week’s edition of The Press.
Heathcote and Lechuza originally were slated to play in front of the Saturday crowd, but rain caused the game to be postponed to Sunday. Heathcote started the game with its usual 3-0 lead, based on its team handicap of 17 in the 20-goal tournament, but Lechuza took the lead early in the third chukker when six-goaler Tommy Goti scored one of his game-high eight goals. Heathcote six-goaler Tommy Biddle tied the game twice with penalty shots, before a goal by three-goaler Mariano Gracida gave Lechuza a 7-6 halftime lead.
The game remained close into the latter stages of the fifth chukker, when four unanswered goals from Lechuza—including three off the mallet of sponsor Victor Vargas, rated one goal—put Lechuza up, 15-10, with time winding down in the final chukker. Heathcote sponsor Steve Lefkowitz scored his third goal of the game to provide the final margin of victory.
Goti led all scorers with eight goals, while Lechuza, 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero and Vargas each had three goals, and Gracida scored once. Biddle and Lefkowitz led Heathcote with three goals each, while six-goaler Naco Taverna scored once, as did five-goaler Nick Manifold.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Equuleus handed White Birch its first loss of the season, 10-8. Equuleus led nearly wire to wire, but White Birch didn’t make it easy, tying the game once and keeping the deficit to just one goal for most of the game. A goal by White Birch eight-goaler Matias Magrini midway through the fifth chukker cut Equuleus’s lead to 8-7, but Equueleus’s Magoo LaPrida (rated eight goals) and Mariano Gonzalez (also eight goals) scored consecutive goals to give Equuleus a 10-7 lead early in the final chukker. White Birch sponsor Peter Brant scored the last goal of the game, but Equuleus held on for the win.
Gonzalez led all scorers with seven goals, while LaPrida added three. Seven-goaler Joao Paulo Ganon and eight-goaler Magrini each had three goals to lead White Birch, while Brant (rated two goals) and Del Walton (rated three goals) each had one.
On Thursday, July 25, White Birch narrowly escaped with an 11-10 win over Heathcote. White Birch held a 9-8 lead going into the final chukker and scored the first goal of the chukker to go up 10-8, but Heathcote answered with goals by Tommy Biddle and Nick Manifold to tie it at 10-10. Ganon won the game by converting a penalty-two shot. Heathcote played without usual sponsor Steve Lefkowitz, and had three-goaler Juan Redlich filling in for him. Because Redlich’s three-goal handicap brought the team’s total up to 20, the game started at 0-0.
Ganon led White Birch with eight goals, while Magrini, Brant and Walton each scored once. Biddle led Heathcote with six goals, while Manifold had two, and Redlich and Taverna each scored once.
On Wednesday, June 24, Lechuza beat Equuleus, 13-11. Lechuza saw fine play once again from Goti, who scored four straight goals bridging the fifth and sixth chukkers to break a 9-9 tie and put his team up, 13-9. Equuleus added two more goals, but it was not enough to get past Lechuza. Goti finished with a game-high 10 goals, while Nero had three. Gonzalez led Equuleus with six goals, while Martin Pepa (rated five goals) had three and LaPrida had two.