The second half of the high-goal polo season got under way last week at the Bridgehampton Polo Club, and perennial favorite White Birch saw the return of star player Mariano Aguerre, who had missed the first half of the season with an injury.
Aguerre (rated nine goals) made the most of his return on Saturday at Two Trees Farm, scoring five goals for White Birch in an 11-8 win over Heathcote in the Hampton Cup tournament. Teammate Matias Magrini (rated eight goals) also added five strikes, while sponsor Peter Brant (rated two goals) scored once.
The game was close in the first half, with the score knotted at 6-6, when the spectators went out to stomp the divots. Heathcote scored only three goals from the field in the first half but began the game with a 3-0 lead because of its team handicap of 17 in the 20-goal tournament. Heathcote six-goaler Tommy Biddle had two of those goals, while teammate and fellow six-goaler Naco Taverna scored once.
White Birch took control of the game in the second half by keeping Heathcote off the scoreboard in both the fourth and fifth chukkers. In the fourth, Aguerre scored twice, while Brant added a goal, and going into the sixth and final chukker, White Birch owned a 10-6 lead, thanks to a goal by Magrini. Aguerre added his final goal of the game to start the sixth, increasing the lead to 11-6, before Heathcote sponsor Steve Lefkowitz scored, and Taverna added a goal for the final margin.
A day earlier, the other two teams in the tournament, Equuleus and Lechuza Caracas, squared off in the first game of the Hampton Cup, with Lechuza winning, 14-8. Balanced scoring was the name of the game for Lechuza, which saw four goals from both 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero and three-goaler Mariano Gracida, while getting three goals from sponsor Victor Vargas (rated one goal) and Tommy Goti (rated six goals). Lechuza also kept Equuleus off the scoreboard in both the second and fourth chukkers. The fourth chukker was where Lechuza pulled away, as it scored four goals, including three off Nero’s mallet. In the fifth chukker, Gracida scored three of his team’s five goals. Lechuza had a 14-6 lead early in the final chukker before Equuleus added the last two goals of the game.
Mariano Gonzalez (rated seven goals) led Equuleus with seven goals, while Martin Pepa (rated five goals) scored once. Eight-goaler Magoo LaPrida was held scoreless.