Tense matches highlighted Day 5 in the 2020 C.V. Whitney Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, with two of the three games needing overtime to determine the winner. The day began with Postage Stamp Farm overwhelming Old Hickory Bourbon 12-5, while Pilot defeated Tonkawa 12-11 in a thrilling overtime game that was quickly followed by another overtime game between Dutta Corp and Santa Clara, with Dutta Corp capturing the 12-11 victory.
In the first game of the day, Postage Stamp Farm had a lightning quick start, winning 6 of the first 7 throw-ins and producing a relentless attack with multiple runs directly to goal. Old Hickory Bourbon was unable to slow the potent attack of Postage Stamp Farm that outscored them 9-4 from the field, in part due to Old Hickory Bourbon shooting just 27% in the defeat. End-to-end action was seen in the opening chukker with nine shots between the two teams, but Postage Stamp Farm took a commanding three-goal lead behind the duo of Peke Gonzalez and Lerin Zubiaurre, while Old Hickory Bourbon missed all four shot attempts. Failing to score a field goal in the opening half, Old Hickory Bourbon managed just one penalty goal from Steve Orthwein, while Zubiaurre helped extend his lead’s team to four, leading 5-1 leading into halftime.
Victorino Ruiz Jorba looked to bring his team back into the game, providing an offense spark, scoring consecutive goals for Old Hickory Bourbon, but Zubiaurre was a difference maker for Postage Stamp Farm, responding with his third and fourth goals of the game to maintain the four-goal lead. In what had been an otherwise clean game, four fouls from Old Hickory Bourbon resulted in two penalty goals for Postage Stamp Farm in the fifth chukker, all but securing the victory with one chukker remaining and a commanding seven-goal lead. Old Hickory Bourbon’s stagnant offense kept them from keeping pace with Postage Stamp Farm, who remained undefeated with the 12-5 victory.
The second match was a highly-anticipated clash between Tonkawa and Pilot in a game featuring three 10-goalers. Living up to the hype, the game needed overtime to decide the victor and it was Pilot, who once again escaped with the victory on the game-winning goal from Gonzalito Pieres. Finishing a perfect 7 for 7 from the penalty line, Facundo Pieres took advantage of each opportunity from the penalty line as Tonkawa committed six more fouls in the narrow defeat. A quick pace was set in the opening half, with Tonkawa grabbing the early lead on goals from Caset and Matias Gonzalez, making his first appearance in the Gauntlet of Polo™ against his former team. Pilot responded with an impressive run, scoring seven of the next eight goals, four of which came from the penalty line to take a commanding 7-3 lead. Unwilling to back down to Pilot, Tonkawa produced a strong finish to the first half, led by Gonzalez’s two goals to pull Tonkawa within one, trailing 7-6 at halftime.
Pilot continued to rely on offense from the penalty line, while all of Tonkawa’s goals through the fourth chukker came from the field, completing the comeback to retake the lead at 8-7. Held off the scoreboard, Pilot conceded two field goals to Caset on back-to-back plays, as the excitement rose heading into the final two chukkers. Despite the possession advantage, Tonkawa sent Facundo Pieres to the penalty line for two more attempts, which he converted to restore the tie at 10-10, in a battle that was destined for overtime. Trading penalty goals late in the game, both from the 30-yard line, the game went into overtime with both teams having their chances to capture the victory. A missed penalty 4 from Caset set the scene for Pilot, as Gonzalito Pieres found an opening and converted the run, narrowly missing the hook from Caset to continue Pilot’s undefeated streak and capture the 12-11 victory.
The final game of the day provided the same level of excitement, as Dutta Corp and Santa Clara fought until the final whistle, in a second straight overtime game. A dominant first half from Santa Clara had them a step ahead of Dutta Corp across the field, in a dynamic attack that shot 9 for 13 from the field, but a comeback from Dutta Corp highlighted the balance across the field. All eight players contributed at least two goals each, with none more important than a penalty 3 conversion from Facundo Obregon to secure the overtime victory. Racing out to a 2-0 lead, Dutta Corp seemed to be in control early, but in the blink of an eye Santa Clara scored four goals on just minutes, running each throw-in straight to goal to hold the 4-2 lead. Scoring his third consecutive goal, Henry Porter extended Santa Clara’s lead further, leaving Dutta Corp stunned as their deficit continued to grow. Scoring all nine goals from the field in the first half, Santa Clara finished the opening half on a goal from Ignatius du Plessis, while a late push from Dutta Corp, receiving two goals from Lucas Diaz Alberdi, kept them within reach, trailing 9-5.
The game changed in the second half, with the pressure of Dutta Corp holding Santa Clara to just one field goal in the second half, a large difference from their nine scored in the first half. In the crucial chukker of the game, Dutta Corp began to display a balanced attack that saw four straight goals, one from each player to quickly erase their deficit and tie the score at 10-10. A penalty 2 conversion from Plessis gave Santa Clara the lead with just minutes remaining, but with time expiring, Alberdi found the goal to send the game into overtime. A start and stop overtime left the ball in Santa Clara’s defensive half, resulting in a foul that sent Dutta Corp to the 40-yard line. With the game on the line, Obregon found the goal, giving Dutta Corp the thrilling 12-11 win to conclude an exciting day at IPC.
All photos credit Alex Pacheco.