Westchester Cup: 28th April 2019 at 3pm International Polo Club, Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
After their defeat on English turf at the Royal Berkshire Polo Club last summer, the USA team were eager to win. The perseverance of the American team paid off and they reclaimed the title for the first time since 1992 with a final score of 9-8. This takes the total amount of wins since the tournament began to 11-8 to the USA, their first win in 27 years and the first on American soil for 80 years. A long overdue win for team USA.
The USA team was made up of Mike Azzaro, Peke Gonzalez, Geronimo Obregon, and Jared Zenni, kitted out by US Polo Assn. Whilst the Flannels England team consisted of Henry Porter, Ollie Cudmore, Jack Richardson and Tommy Beresford sporting bespoke team shirts made by Hurlingham Polo.
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Now back to business with the excitement of the match between the two nations. The game was a faced paced one for both teams and goals started to arise thick and fast. The first chukka ending in a 2-1 lead to USA. England were determined not to fall behind despite losing the battle for a couple of penalty shots. The second chukka ended in a 3-3 draw. Gonzalez retaliated against the draw by scoring from two consecutive penalties in the third to allow them to take the lead once more, 5-3.
As the second half began spirits were high and the exhilaration of the sport took full swing. USA maintained their lead after the fifth chukka with a score of 8-6, but the English team had not given up yet, working seamlessly as a team to pressurise the Americans. Cudmore was determined to catch up with the American’s with a powerful shot on goal followed by scoring from a Penalty 2 to level the score to 8 all. Propelling the game into an extra chukka.
With the golden goal up for grabs for both teams it was all to play for. With several close calls, rebounding from the defence, Cudmore once again carried the ball powerfully towards the goal, only to have it cleared off the line by Mike Azzaro. USA gained the momentum back on the break as Zenni picked up the ball from the half way line and assisted with a perfect downfield pass to Obregon who scored the winner. Unfortunately for Flannels England it saw USA win the Westchester Cup by a golden goal.
Awards for the game were as follows;
Best playing pony was awarded to Captain of the USA team, Mike Azzaro’s Allie, who he played in the second fifth and overtime chukkas.
The Retired Racehorse Project Off the Track Thoroughbred Best Playing Pony blanket was awarded to Peke Gonzalez’z mare Geisha, who he played in half of the first, sixth and overtime chukkas,
Congratulations to Flannels England team for their efforts and to our own Tommy Beresford who was the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award.
(Photo credit: PoloPeoplePlaces.)