WELLINGTON, FL Isla Carroll, the defending U.S. Open champion, used a balanced attack en route to a successful season debut, rallying past Catamount 12-10 in the first round of the single-elimination 26-goal Hall of Fame Cup Thursday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
In other action, Alejandro Novillo Astrada scored 54 seconds into overtime to lift Bendabout over Millarville 11-10 and Lucas Criado scored nine goals to lead White Birch over ERG 15-13.
Isla Carroll plays the winner of Thursday’s Old Pueblo-Skeeterville game on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the featured match at the International Polo Club stadium.
Isla Carroll scored four unanswered goals in the fifth chukker, two by Nicolas Roldan, to overcome a 9-7 deficit. Goals by Sugar Erskine and Pancho Bensadon in a 37-second span tied the game at 9-9 with 2:11 left in the fifth. Roldan put Isla Carroll ahead for good with 1:10 left in the fifth and increased the margin to 11-9 with four seconds remaining.
Catamount patron Scott Devon cut the margin to 11-10 with 4:26 remaining, but it could not get the equalizer. Isla Carroll patron John Goodman clinched the victory when he scored on a backshot with 35 seconds left.
Bensadon led Isla Carroll (1-0) with four goals while Roldan and Erskine finished with three goals apiece and Goodman had two goals.
Carlos Gracida led Catamount (0-1) with five goals while Mike Azzaro added four goals and patron Scott Devon had one goal. Mike Matz did not score.
Millarville scored two goals within 35 seconds early in the sixth chukker to take a 9-8 lead; both by Luis Escobar. He tied the game at 8-8 when picked up Miguel Novillo Astrada’s clearing shot that bounced off a pony in front of the open goalmouth and a 60-yard penalty shot with 5:20 left in the sixth chukker.
Tommy Biddle tied the game at 9-9 when he dribbled through traffic with 3:41 left and sent the game into overtime when he converted a 60-yard penalty shot with 42 seconds remaining.
Following the throw-in to begin overtime, a clearing shot by Fred Mannix Jr. was intercepted by Alejandro Novillo Astrada, who passed it to patron Gillian Johnston. Johnston left it for Astrada who easily tapped in the game-winner.
Biddle scored a game-high six goals while Alejandro Novillo Astrada finished with three goals. Johnston and Miguel Novillo Astrada scored one goal each for Bendabout (1-0).
Escobar led Millarville (0-1) with five goals while Mannix Jr. added three goals and Brandon Phillips scored two goals. Daniel Roenisch did not score.
White Birch quickly erased an early 1-0 deficit and coasted to victory as it led 15-8 going into the final chukker.
Julio Gracida added three goals for White Birch (1-0) while 10-goaler Mariano Aguerre scored two goals and patron Peter Brant had one goal.
Ten-goaler Nachi Heguy, in his first game of the winter season, led ERG (0-1) with five goals.
The Hall of Fame Cup in named in honor of the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, located in Lake Worth.
International Polo Club
For ticket information, call (561) 204-5687
Club website at www.internationalpoloclub.com.
For information about the upcoming 2005 high-goal season, including the Stanford Financial Group U.S. Open, call the club at (561) 204-5687
International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South, between Pierson Road and Lake Worth Road, in Wellington.