In a thrilling first game of the 2017 East Coast Open, newcomer GSA fought hard to secure their first win of the tournament, defeating Audi 16-12 on Sunday, August 27. Held at the prestigious Greenwich Polo Club since 2005, the East Coast Open will run until September 10 with four team vying for the Perry Trophy.
Henry Porter 1
Santino Magrini 3
Toro Ruiz 5
Matias Magrini 8
Chris Brant A
Nick Manifold 4
Mariano Aguerre 9
Mariano Gonzalez 7
Fresh and eager to capitalize on the three point lead due to handicap, GSA played an aggressive first chukker, resulting in several early penalties. Audi successfully converted two penalties and scored a goal by Mariano Gonzalez before Toro Ruiz responded with a single goal of his own. Gonzalez converted Ruiz’s Penalty 3, leveling the game 4-4 to end the first chukker. Relentlessly fighting for control, the teams traded goals back and forth three times in the second as penalties continued to rain down on GSA. Two additional penalty conversions by Gonzalez and a pony goal continued the tie 7-7 heading into the third chukker. Deciding to kick things up a notch, GSA silenced Audi completely for two consecutive chukkers as they racked up points on the scoreboard. Picking up four goals in the third, GSA secured a significant lead for the first time, ending the half 11-7.
Matias Magrini added two goals back to back to widen the gap, but Audi was still unresponsive in the fourth. With a strong defensive strategy, GSA was able to separate themselves by an impressive margin against their formidable opponent. As Henry Porter made yet another goal for GSA, Gonzalez took advantage of Santino Magrini’s Penalty 2 and converted it, his sixth goal in a row. Mariano Aguerre quickly struck with another goal, and the fifth ended with a final Penalty 2 conversion by Santino Magrini. Needing six goals to even tie, Audi had their work cut out for them and had to act immediately. Nick Manifold put one through the goal posts first, followed by Aguerre with a Penalty 3 conversion. Ruiz put one last nail in the coffin, making a goal and ending Audi’s chances of catching up in time. A reliable teammate, Gonzalez easily added one penalty 4 goal to their tally, but even his strong contribution was not enough to make up for the earlier chukkers. The clock ran out, concluding the game with a final score of 16-12 in favor of GSA.
Toro Ruiz was named MVP and his horse Rosita, which he played in the first chukker, received the Best Playing Pony award. Audi will have a second shot against Postage Stamp Farm on Thursday, August 31 in game two. Tune into the USPA Polo Network for livestreamed coverage of all East Coast Open games.
All photos courtesy of Chichi Ubina.