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12-Goal Series Grand Champions At PB Polo

Far Niente Wins The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series Grand Champions At PB Polo Featured Game; Dorignac Named MVP

Hawk Hill's Gringo Colombres (3) drives the ball downfield as Michel Dorignac (4) of Far Niente marks his man. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-Jan. 25, 2014----Far Niente won its first game of The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series with an impressive 12-8 victory over Hawk Hill Saturday in front of a packed house at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Far Niente (Gene Goldstein, Michael Bellissimo, Michel Dorignac, Tommy Collingwood) led from start-to-finish and quickly built a 6-1 lead after two chukkers.

Winning Far Niente team Tommy Collingwood, Michel Dorignac, Gene Goldstein, Michael Bellissimo. Photo by Scott Fisher

"I couldn't be more happy," Dorignac said. "We took it really serious and played well as a team. We were focused from the beginning. Everyone did a great job out there."

Hawk Hill (Phillip MacTaggart, Gringo Colombres, Juan Monteverde, Agustin Arellano) rallied to come within two goals to finish the third chukker trailing by only two, 7-5, at the half.

"I figured that they were going to get their momentum which they did," Dorignac said. "We just calmed down and never lost our patience. We played hard for the rest of the game. That was the key, we never gave up."

Most Valuable Player Michel Dorignac of Far Niente. Photo by Scott Fisher

Dorignac was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high seven goals, including five on penalty shots.

"This was great fun," Dorignac said. "This was our first time with a full team. This is such a competitive league. It's a combination of the players, horses and fields.

"I have to say thank you to Marc and Melissa Ganzi, thanks to them we wouldn't be here, they have done a great job," Dorignac said. "We all have to be very grateful."

Bellissimo added two goals for Far Niente and Goldstein and Collingwood each had one goal.

Far Niente's Michael Bellissimo (1) chases down Juan Monteverde (4) of Hawk Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

After missing the first two games, Bellissimo rejoined the lineup and had one of his career-best games, playing well on both ends of the field.

"It was great fun," Dorignac said. "I am so happy we could finally get to play with our full team. Unfortunately, Michael couldn't play the first two games so we had to use two different substitutes. This was the first time we played together and it worked out good."

Collingwood and Bellissimo have played together for five years. The team chemistry was evident from the opening chukker.

Far Niente's Tommy Collingwood (3) controls the ball despite defensive pressure from Gringo Colombres (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

"I am very happy with the game, we know each other really well and we have been playing team practices a lot," said Collingwood, a 2009 Wellington High alum. "He played a hell of a game today.

"The idea was to get Michael the ball as much as we could," Collingwood said. "Michel and I play more together, we take our time and release the ball when we need to and it worked. It's great playing with Michel, he is a great sportsman and great team player and he uses you no matter what your handicap is."

Michel Dorignac (4) of Far Niente works the ball out of the air behind his defender Gringo Colombres (3) of Hawk Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

For Hawk Hill, MacTaggart was given the Sportsmanship Award and was thrilled walking off with a new saddle.

"It was fun," MacTaggart said. "If we played like we did in the third and sixth chukker we would have won. We always have fun. It was a good, well-played match. You always play like it's 0-0."

Far Niente's Gene Goldstein (2) trying to slow down Hawk Hill's Juan Monteverde (4). Photo by Scott Fisher

Teammates Monteverde and Arellano each scored three goals and Colombres added two goals.

The semifinals of The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series will be played on Wednesday.

For the second consecutive weekend, instant replay was used. Both teams used their one challenge with Hawk Hill winning its challenge in the fifth chukker at the 3:07 mark and Far Niente losing its challenge with 2:58 left in the fourth chukker.

Eric Monahan operates one of the on-field cameras for Grand Champions' state-of-the-art instant replay system. Photo by Scott Fisher

Grand Champions is the first polo club worldwide to utilize the state-of-art instant replay to help improve officiating.

Grand Champions also live-streamed the game for fans at polonow.com.

After the game, Grand Champions provided an asado by Cilantro's owner Herman Moreira for all tournament participants and fans.

Cilantro's owner Herman Moreira fires up the charcoal for the weekly asado at Grand Champions. Photo by Scott Fisher

In other Grand Champions at PB Polo games:

The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series: Las Monjitas 10, TLC Development 8. Alejandro Novillo Astrada led scoring with six goals.

The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series: Casablanca 15, KIG 6. Miguel Novillo Astrada led scoring with seven goals for Casablanca that led the entire game including 7-3 at the half.

Fans check out the latest in polo fashion at the Grand Champions Boutique. Photo by Scott Fisher

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: KIG 6, TLC Development 4. Wesley Uys and Chris Nevins each had two goals. Nevins scored the tying and winning goals. Kris Kampsen had three goals for TLC.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: Tonchala 13, PB Equine/Odosan 11. Tavi Usandizaga scored six goals including his team's final three goals. Matt Coppola scored a game-high seven goals.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: PB Equine/Odosan 13, Tuff Riders 9. Matt Coppola led scoring with eight goals for the winning team. Jared Zenni had five goals for Tuff Riders.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: La Casa Hermosa 14, Tonchala 9. Hector Galindo led La Casa Hermosa with eight goals. Tavi Usandizaga had six goals for Tonchala.

Metropolitan Cup 5-Goal: Pony Express 9, Santa Clara 8. Benjamin Daniels scored three goals including the game-winner. Nico and Luis Escobar each had three goals for Santa Clara.

Metropolitan Cup 5-Goal: Grand Champions 12, Patagones 7. Julio Ezcurra scored seven goals to lead Grand Champions. Juan Olivera added four goals.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

Far Niente's Gene Goldstein (2) drives downfield for a goal.
Photo by Scott Fisher


JANUARY 26: Bobby Barry Cup Final, Flight Options vs. Orchard Hill, Field 2, noon; Joe Barry Memorial Cup, Valiente vs. Tonkawa, 3 p.m.

JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 23: Ylvisaker Cup

FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup

FEBRUARY 14: National Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

FEBRUARY 16-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup

MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup

MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships

Michael Bellissimo (1) of Far Niente pursues the ball despite Gringo Colombres (3) of Hawk Hill pressuring. Photo by Scott Fisher