On a mission to defend their 2018 title, SD Farms regrouped following their earlier defeat to challenge Skaneateles in the Northrup Knox Cup Final on Sunday, September 29, at the New Bridge Polo & Country Club in Aiken, South Carolina. Rallying around the power shots of Juan Martin Obregon who delivered goal after goal, SD Farms conquered the day to claim the trophy once again 9-6.
“We were very happy to defend the title. We worked very well together throughout the tournament and especially in the last two games. The idea when going up against Skaneateles for the second time was to play simple and with the man because they are a very tough team.” – Peco Polledo
Heavily dominated by penalty conversions, the first half was a shooting match between Juan Martin Obregon and Joaquin Panelo. Opening up the game with a single Penalty 3 conversion, SD Farms was able to delay Skaneateles from the scoreboard until the second chukker. Taking advantage of their opponent’s aggressive tactics which produced fouls, Obregon was able to create a three-goal lead by the end of the second, scoring three consecutive goals. On a roll headed into the third, Obregon continued his domination adding another field goal to the tally. Falling swiftly behind, Skaneateles caught an advantageous break in the form of a Penalty 2 conversion, but the half ended 5-2 in favor of SD Farms.
Stepping up to assist his team in the fourth, Costi Caset* successfully converted a Penalty 3 as Skaneateles started the slow journey to chip away at the gap. Striking from the field, Panelo brought the game within one just before Obregon countered with calculated precision. Trading goals in the fifth, Skaneateles could not establish the foothold necessary to close the two-goal disparity. Mirroring one another’s plays with two Penalty 2 conversions and two field goals each, SD Farms maintained the lead 8-6 with one chukker separating them from the trophy. Similar to the first, SD Farms extended their lead in the sixth with a final goal by Sayyu Dantata, rendering their opponents scoreless in the remaining minutes of play and maintaining the title 9-6.
“Our strategy for the final was for me to take out Cesar Jimenez,” 16-year-old Parker Daniels said. “This would give Peco [Polledo] and Juan Martin [Obregon] the time to hit the ball to Sayyu [Dantata] and for him to run the ball to goal. I’m very happy we were able to work as a team and win the trophy.”
Most Valuable Player was awarded to SD Farms’ team owner, Sayyu Dantata.
Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Juan Martin Obregon’s Nacida, a 9-year-old mare he played as a spare in the second and again in the fourth chukker. “I bought Nacida this year from Sapo Caset. She is Argentine bred from Miguel Novillo Astrada’s breeding operation. On the field she is quick in short plays and fast on the turns.”
Although losing the Northrup Knox Cup, Skaneateles will be playing in the upcoming National Copper Cup® and the Bronze Trophy®. “The fields at New Bridge were in great condition and allowed us to enjoy the games and play fun, fast polo,” Caset said. “Unfortunately we did not win the final, but playing in this tournament has made us stronger for the remaining two tournaments of the Trifecta.”
*Costi Caset is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.