Pilot Remains Undefeated in Victory Over Daily Racing Form
The USPA Gold Cup® continued with Pilot remaining undefeated in their quest for the GAUNTLET OF POLO™ with a 10-9 victory over Daily Racing Form in one of Pilot’s toughest challenges to date at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, while SD Farms held off Old Hickory Bourbon in the narrow 9-8 victory at Everglades.
A fast, open flowing game between Pilot and Daily Racing Form (DRF) saw both teams pass into space, running onto the ball with speed. DRF crowded Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres throughout the game, with the duo for Pilot executing their lay-off strategy with precision. The high-pressure defence from DRF led to foul trouble, where Pilot separated themselves in an otherwise close game. The discipline issues began in the opening chukker with Facundo Pieres converting two of his four penalty attempts to give Pilot the 3-1 lead. DRF slowly reduced the deficit behind the efforts of Jared Zenni and Santiago Cernadas, who scored two goals over the second and third chukkers, including perfect 3 for 3 shooting in the third chukker to trail by one at halftime.
Using their dominance in the throw-in line, DRF kept additional possessions away from the Pieres brothers, allowing them to complete the comeback with a balanced team offense that tied the score at 7-7 after a goal from Geronimo Obregon. In a crucial fifth chukka, Facundo Pieres scored back-to-back goals from the field, while heavily controlling possession to keep DRF off the scoreboard. Trading penalty goals to begin the sixth chukker, Pilot maintained their two-goal lead until Cernadas scored his fourth goal of the game with 40 seconds left. Winning the following throw-in, Pilot ran out the time to claim the 10-9 victory and remain undefeated to claim the #1 seed in Bracket 4. With the loss, DRF still qualifies for the quarter-finals, where they will meet Iconica.
The second match of the day featured a scrappy game between Old Hickory Bourbon and SD Farms, with little offense generated from the field late in the game and the outcome decided on the penalty line. Miguel Novillo Astrada and Jason Crowder generated some effective passing combinations on Old Hickory Bourbon’s attack, but their inability to convert around goal, shooting just 33% proved to be the deciding factor. The duo of Astrada and Crowder began the game strong, leading Old Hickory Bourbon to six goals over the opening two chukkers, with all four players finding the scoresheet. A good performance on their set plays helped SD Farms get back within one goal by halftime, led by three field goals from patron Sayyu Dantata.
The second half turned into a back and forth defensive style of play, with zero combined field goals on eight shots between the two teams. Receiving six penalty attempts in the final three chukkers, SD Farms gained the advantage, claiming the lead on penalty goals from Peco Polledo and Pelon Escapite in the fourth chukker. A lone safety conversion from Astrada was all Old Hickory Bourbon could muster, with SD Farms holding the one-goal lead. A scoreless final chukker resulted in SD Farms hanging on for the 9-8 win for their first win of the tournament.