White Birch takes 2011 Monty Waterbury
Story By Alex Webbe Photography by Alex Pacheco
The finals of the 2011 Monty Waterbury Cup at the Bridgehampton Polo Club Saturday afternoon had all the makings of a classic championship match. The 17-goal Heathcote team with tournament high scorer Tommy Biddle facing off against the formidable 20-goal White Birch foursome with field general Mariano Aguerre and the second highest scorer in the tournament in Canadian 6-goaler Fred Mannix, Jr.
Heathcote started with a 3-goal handicap, but it was White birch’s Fred Mannix, Jr. who scored the opening goal of the match with a 40-yard penalty shot. Heathcote held up, however, and after Biddle responded with a goal, left the field with a 4-1 lead.
Both defenses stiffened in the second chukker with Mannix accounting for the only scoring on a pair of penalty goals. White Birch cut the lead to a single goal, 4-3.
White Birch flexed its muscles in the third frame as Marianno Gracida scored twice. Mannix added another goal from the field. Biddle converted a penalty shot for Heathcote’s only score of the chukker with White Birch sitting on top of a 6-5 halftime score.
Gracida and Mariano Aguerre opened the fifth period with single goals from the field to give White Birch an 8-5 lead. Nick Manifold answered with a goal for Heathcote, followed by a penalty goal from Biddle. White birch was still on top, 8-7. Mannix scored on a penalty shot to end the chukker with Heathcote trailing 9-7.
Naco Taverna opened the fifth period with a goal from the field for Heathcote, cutting the White Birch lead to a single goal, 9-8. Both teams played tough through the first half of the period before White Birch broke loose. Mannix converted a penalty shot and scored another goal from the field. White Birch team captain Peter Brant scored his first goal of the game to end the period with a four goal, 12-8 advantage.
“We played them tough through most of the game,” offered Biddle. We were only trailing by a single goal at halftime and were down 9-8 through half of the fifth. We’ve had a good season, “he added, “and there no shame in losing to a team like White Birch.”
Biddle had played on winning Waterbury Cup teams in 2009 and 2010 and was hoping for a third in a row, but it was not to be.
White Birch just added icing to the cake in the sixth and final chukker, getting a pair of goals from Aguerre and single goals from Gracida and Mannix for the 16-8 championship win.
Mannix led all scoring with eight goals. Gracida added four and Aguerre chipped in three goals. Brant scored once in the win.
Biddle scored three times for Heathcote. Taverna and Manifold added single goals and the team received three goals by handicap.
Aguerre was honored as MVP while Taverna’s Safiro was honored as Best Playing Pony.
CERTIFIED 11, YELLOW CAB 10
In earlier action, the first chukker proved to be the undoing of the Yellow Cab team in the consolation round of the Monty Waterbury Cup as Certified ran out to an early 2-0 lead and held on for an exciting 11-10 win.
Certified’s Adam Snow scored the first goal of the match followed by another goal from the field by Marcos Garcia Del Rio while shutting out the Yellow Cab Offense. At the end of the first chukker of play, Certified was ahead by two goals.
Team captain Michael Borrico made it 3-0, Certified, in the second before goals from Yellow Cab’s Michel Dorignac (penalty shot) and Nacho Figueras cut the lead to a single goal, 3-2.
The action heated up in the third, with Dorignac converting a pair of penalty shots while Figueras added another goal from the field. Certified added three goals of their own, however, getting a pair of goals from Tomas Garcia Del Rio (one from the field and one on a 60-yard penalty shot) and a goal from Snow. At the end of the first half of play, Certified held on to a narrow one goal lead, 6-5.
Snow and Tomas Garcia Del Rio added single goals in the fourth chukker while limiting the Yellow Cab attack to a single penalty goal from Dorignac. Yellow Cab trailed by two goals, 8-6.
Bash Kazi had been playing the number one position for Yellow Cab, and seemed to come to life in the fifth period. Stretching the lineup at the front end, Luis Escobar was allowed to break through and score his first goal of the day. Dorignac added a penalty goal. The Yellow Cab defense held, and at the end of the fifth chukker it was all even at 8-8.
A 60-yard penalty shot for a goal from Dorignac gave Yellow Cab its first lead of the game, 9-8, but Certified wasn’t ready to cave in yet. Snow scored his fourth goal of the match to even it at 9-9. Yellow cab regrouped and pressured the Certified defense once again. Escobar’s second goal of the game put Yellow Cab back on top, 10-9, but there was plenty of time left on the clock. Certified pressured the Yellow Cab goal, resulting in a pair of penalties that resulted in Certified goals. Tomas Garcia Del Rio scored on one 40-yard penalty shot to tie it up at 10-10 and then converted a 60-yarder for the win.
Dorignac’s six goals let the scoring in the match. Teammates Figueras and Escobar added two goals apiece.
Five goals from Tomas Garcia Del Rio were complimented by fur scores from Snow. Marcos Garcia Del Rio and Borrico added single goals in the win.
Twenty-goal action will continue on Monday at the Bridgehampton Polo Club with the opening round of the Hampton Cup.