By Alex Webbe, US Senior Correspondent.
La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Nic Roldan, Agustin Merlos and Luke Tomlinson) had a storybook season last year that began with a win in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge and carried them to the finals of both the Queens Cup and the British Open, but they weren’t going to sneak up on anyone this year.
Returning with three of last year’s four players and adding a solid Back in English internationalist Luke Tomlinson, they had been on everyone’s radar since the beginning of the season.
Talandracas (Edouard Carmignac, Guillermo Caset, Pelon Stirling and Jack Hyde) had suffered a tournament-opening 12-9 loss to El Remanso (Charlie Hanbury, Oliver Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) despite a power-packed lineup that included Pelon Stirling and Sapo Caset, and desperately needed a win to stay in the tournament.
In a tightly-played opening chukker both defenses were in top form and goals were scarce. Caset scored the first and only goal of the period as Talandracas took a 1-0 lead after the opening chukker.
Caset made it 2-0 in the second before American 8-goaler Nic Roldan converted a 40-yard penalty shot, 2-1. Consecutive goals from Caset ended the period with Talandracas in control of a 4-1 game.
Caset added two more goals in the third with the Talandracas defense holding La Indiana to a single goal from the field from Roldan. At the end of the first half it was all Talandracas, 6-2.
Jack Hyde’s first goal of the day extended the Talandracas lead to five goals, 7-2, as the fourth chukker got underway, when the La Indiana offense awoke. Consecutive goals from Merlos, Roldan, Michael Bickford and Luke Tomlinson had La Indiana within a goal of the lead, 7-6. Roldan’s second goal of the chukker and fourth of the day leveled the score at 7-7, and had the Talandracas team rattled.
Talandracas regrouped and returned to the field for the fifth period. The Talandracas defense stepped up and shut down the La Indiana rally while Caset added two more goals for a 9-7 advantage and one chukker left in regulation play.
Caset’s ninth goal of the afternoon came on a 30-yard penalty conversion and stretched the Talandracas lead to three goals, 10-7, and that was when Merlos came to life. The former 10-goaler who had set a record for the most goals ever scored in a single game in the Argentine Open (19) took control of the game. Merlos scored four consecutive goals while his teammates held Talandracas scoreless for the balance of the game! La Indiana celebrated their only lead of the game with the 11-10 win.
Merlos led the La Indiana attack with five goals. Roldan scored twice and Bickford and Tomlinson each added a goal for the victory. Caset’s nine goals led all scoring on the day. Teammate Hyde scored once in the Talandracas loss.
The loss was the second for Talandracas and eliminates them from the tournament while La Indiana will have to beat El Remanso on Wednesday if they hope to return to this year’s final.
King Power Foxes 9, La Bamba de Areco 8
In an earlier Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge match, King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Charles Cooney, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) managed to edge a troublesome La Bamba de Areco foursome (Ned Hine, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr.), 9-8, after trailing for much of the game.
With Ned Hine substituting for La Bamba de Areco team captain Jean Francois Decaux, the King Power Foxes found themselves trailing 3-0 in the first chukker. Magoo Laprida scored the first goal of the contest followed by a pair of goals from Rodrigo Rueda. A disciplined defense held the King Power Foxes scoreless and saw La Bamba de Areco with the early lead.
The King Power Foxes displayed a solid defensive effort of their own in second period play, but were unable to unleash the powerful attack that should have generated from the Pieres brothers. A single goal from Gonzalito Pieres was the only score in the chukker, with La Bamba de Areco riding off the field after two periods with a 3-1 advantage.
La Bamba de Areco got back to work in the third. Single goals from Laprida and Rueda had La Bamba de Areco in front by four goals, 5-1. Top Srivaddhanaprabha closed out the scoring with his first goal of the day, but it was La Bamba de Areco with the 5-2 halftime lead.
The King Power Foxes ratcheted up their offensive efforts in the fourth period, with opening goals from Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres that brought them to within a goal of the lead, 5-4. Diego Cavanagh and Srivaddhanaprabha traded goals to end the chukker with La Bamba de Areco remaining in possession of the lead, 6-5.
A solid defensive push by the King Power Foxes kept La Bamba de Areco off of the scoreboard in the fifth. A 60-yard penalty conversion from Facundo Pieres tied the game at 7-7, and Srivaddhanaprabha’s second goal of the match had them in front for the first time all day, 7-6.
There was no quit in the La Bamba de Areco lineup, with Cavanagh scoring the first goal of the sixth chukker and tying the game at 7-7. Gonzalo Pieres scored for the third time and pushed the King Power Foxes back on top, 8-7. Another Cavanagh goal leveled the score, again, at 8-8 as both teams fought valiantly in the waning minutes of play. Facundo Pieres scored the final goal of the match for the 9-8 win while La Bamba de Areco let the game slip away from them after leading for five chukkers.
Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres scored three goals apiece for the win. Cavanagh and Rueda each scored three times for La Bamba de Areco with Laprida adding a pair in the loss.
Play continues in the 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge on Wednesday, May 17th with a 4:30pm game between El Remanso and La Indiana.
Two final preliminary matches are scheduled to be played on Thursday, May 18th, with King Power facing Sommelier (George Hanbury, Juan Gris Zavaleta, Fred Mannix and Alec White) at 11am followed by a 1pm meeting between Murus Sanctus (Corinne Ricard, Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Sola and Dirk Van Reenen) and La Bamba de Areco. The tournament final is set to be played on Sunday, May 21st.