White Birch to face Heathcote in the Waterbury Cup Final
Story by Alex Webb Photography by Alex Pacheco
It was only fitting that the best polo of the 2011 Monty Waterbury Cup at the Bridgehampton Polo club would take place in the semifinals, and with a one-goal victory in one semifinal and an overtime win in the other, there was no question as to the balance of the competition.
In the early game Tommy Biddle’s game high 11 goals led Heathcote to a 13-12 overtime win over a spirited Circa lineup.
Averaging over eight goals per game, Biddle scored in double figures for the second time as he set the opened the semifinal contest against Circa by scoring the first two goals of the game.
Heathcote received two goals by handicap from the 19-goal Circa team, and ended the first chukker with a 4-0 lead.
Magoo Laprida supplied some much-needed offense for Circa, converting a pair of penalty shots for goals and adding another from the field. Biddle added two more penalty goals to the Heathcote total and the period ended with Circa trailing, 6-3.
“It had rained the day before,” offered Biddle, “and the ground cut up a lot. The ground was heavy and it was difficult to carry the ball. My teammates drew a handful of penalties and I was fortunate enough to convert the penalty shots,” he added.
In Biddle’s words, Heathcote “lost focus” in the third chukker, allowing consecutive, unanswered goals from Laprida, Martin Pepa and Guille Aguero. At the end of the first half it was all even at 6-6.
With five goals scored in the course of the fourth chukker, none were scored from the field. Laprida accounted for a pair of penalty conversions for Circa, but three solid foul shots from Biddle had Heathcote back on top, 9-8.
Biddle’s eighth goal of the game opened the scoring in the fifth period to give Heathcote a 10 - 8 lead. Pepa managed to cut the lead to a single goal, 10-9, as he scored from the field, and Heathcote carried a narrow one goal lead into the sixth chukker.
Laprida scored a goal from the field to set the pace for Circa’s offense, tying the game at 10-10, and then gave Circa its first lead of the game, 11-10, on a penalty goal. Biddle evened it at 11-11 on his ninth penalty goal of the afternoon, but Circa wasn’t thru. Laprida broke through
the Heathcote defense and put his team back on top, 12-11 with a goal from the field. Biddle returned the favor with a field goal of his own for Heathcote, and the game was forced into sudden-death overtime.
“They had a couple of early shots at goal to win the game, when we finally came back,” said Biddle. “We knocked-in and carried the ball the length of the field for the goal.”
Biddle’s game-winning effort came following a 100 yard shot of his that he picked up and scored while barreling through both Aguero and Laprida for the deciding goal.
“It was the seventh chukker of a game played on a very heavy field (previous rain),” said Biddle, “it seemed as if all three of us were going in slow motion. It seems that my horse had just a little bit more in it than either of theirs did,” he laughed.
Heathcote received two goals by handicap, with Biddle scoring the balance of the team’s thirteen goal total.
“It was a total team effort,” said Biddle. Every member of the team went all out for the win today.”
Laprida scored a remarkable nine times for Circa. Pepa added two goals and Aguero scored once in the loss.
WHITE BIRCH 11, EQUULEUS 10
White Birch locked up the second Monty Waterbury finalist position with an exciting 11-10 win over a persistent Equuleus foursome at the Bridgehampton Polo Club.
Kris Kampsen converted a penalty goal for the only Equuleus score of the first chukker. White Birch picked up four goals with Mariano Aguerre and Fred Mannix scoring two goals apiece for an early 4-1 lead.
Mannix opened the second period with a goal from the field for a 5-1 White Birch lead before Equuleus responded. Mariano Gonzalez cut the White Birch lead to three goals with his first goal of the match, but Mannix’s fourth goal of the game had Equuleus down by four goals, 6-2. Kampsen ended the chukker with a goal from the field. White Birch continued to dominate
with a 6-3 advantage.
Defense was the theme of the third period with Mariano Obregon accounting the only goal. The score cut the White Birch lead to 6-4 after the first half of play. A renewed Equuleus attack took the field in the fourth chukker. A goal from the field from
Obregon was followed by a game tying goal, 6-6, from Kampsen to make a game of it again.
Aguerre closed out the scoring, however with his third goal of the match and a 7-6 White Birch
lead. “We had some bad calls early in the game,” said Kampsen, but we have a really good team, and
were determined to make a comeback.”
Kampsen converted a 60-yard penalty shot to open the fifth period and knot it up again at 7-7. Mannix broke the tie with his fifth score of the day, but Kampsen persisted and had it all even at 8-8 with another goal from the field. Scores from Mannix and White Birch team captain Peter Brant ended the chukker with White Birch gaining a two goal 10-8 lead with one chukker
Gonzalez cut the White Birch lead to a single goal, 10-9 with Equuleus scoring the first goal of the final period. Mannix put White Birch back on top by two with a penalty goal, but Equuleus showed no quit, as they continued to press the attack. Kampsen’s sixth goal of the game had Equuleus within a goal when Aguerre deftly averted a final Equuleus attack by driving the ball
over the sideboards to end the game, giving White Birch a hard earned 11-10 win and a date in Saturday afternoon’s finals against Heathcote.
Mannix led the White Birch offense with seven goals. Aguerre scored three times and Brant
added a goal for the win.
Kampsen scored six times for Equuleus. Teammates Obregon and Gonzalez added two goals
Photography by Alex Pacheco
Photography by Alex Pacheco