Pony Express Wins USPA Sun Cup At Grand Champions Polo Club; Pancho Eddy Named MVP
WELLINGTON, FL-May 12, 2013---Looking to finish strong the final three weeks of the spring season, Pony Express won its first tournament Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
|Winning team Pony Express, from left to right, Wesley Finlayson, MVP Pancho Eddy, Tomas Goti, Bob Daniels. Photo by Scott Fisher|
|From left to right, runner-up team Longfield Lucas Lalor, Brandon Phillips, Grant Ganzi, Hannah Buchan; champion team Pony Express, Bob Daniels, Wesley Finlayson, MVP Pancho Eddy, Tomas Goti. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Pony Express jumped out to a three-goal advantage in the opening chukker, never relinquished its lead and went on to defeat Longfield,13-9, in the championship final of the USPA Sun Cup.
Pancho Eddy, making his Grand Champions debut this season, played well on both ends of the field and was named Most Valuable Player.
|Pony Express' Tomas Goti fights for the ball against defenders Brandon Phillips and Lucas Lalor with MVP Pancho Eddy coming in to help out. Photo by Scott Fisher|
It was Pony Express teammate Tomas Goti who convinced the Argentine 4-goaler to join the Pony Express lineup. Eddy and Goti have played together for several years and that on-field chemistry was evident against Longfield.
"We were very comfortable with each other in the game," Eddy said. "Playing with Tomas makes getting the ball easy to go forward.
"The plan was to get in the lead early and hold on to it until the end," Eddy said. "This is a good team and we are all friends so it's always fun to play with them. Usually, I go back to Argentina to play but Tomas offered me this chance and it was nice. I have been playing all my life and I love it."
|Pony Express' Wesley Finlayson defends Longfield's Brandon Phillips going for the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Joining Eddy and Goti on the winning team was ageless team captain Bob Daniels and 17-year-old Wesley Finlayson filling in for Justin Daniels, who was spending Mother's Day with his mother.
"I am very happy with the win," Daniels said. "It was really nice to get the early lead. It gets your confidence up. When you are playing with a little bit of margin it always helps.
"Everyone played well, all three of them, Pancho, Tomas and Wes," Daniels said. "I am very happy with my team and how they played today. Everybody was on today. The chemistry was good. I think our horses were good today."
|Pony Express' Tomas Goti (4) goes for the hook on Longfield's Nic Roldan (4). Photo by Scott Fisher|
Longfield featured Nic Roldan, Brandon Phillips, teenager Grant Ganzi and Hannah Buchan, presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers as the tournament's Most Valuable Mom on Mother's Day.
The one-two punch of Eddy and Goti frustrated Longfield, making its finals debut, for most of the game.
"There were parts of the game that got really competitive," Eddy said. "We got a cushion lead and were able to play our game."
Goti led scoring with five goals, Finlayson had four goals, Eddy added three and one goal was awarded on handicap.
|Pony Express' Tomas Goti (4) tries to keep ball possession despite pressure from Longfield's Grant Ganzi. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Ganzi led Longfield's scoring with four goals and Roldan had three. Buchan and Lucas Lalor each had one goal.
The 12-goal rated Pony Express team, buoyed by its horsepower, had a five-goal lead four different times (7-2, 9-4, 10-5,11-6) during the game. Pony Express led 9-5 at the half.
|Pony Express' Tomas Goti (4) balances the ball in the air during a scoring drive. Photo by Scott Fisher|
"We are very happy to win," Goti said. "I always play with Bob, Pancho is a good friend and very good pro player. Wesley played well today with us.
"We started quite strong and maintained the lead," Goti said. "At the end they played better but we still controlled the game."
Longfield lost Roldan, its 8-goaler, for the final two chukkers when he was forced to leave the game with an injured rib. Lalor went in for Roldan in the final two chukkers.
Roldan aggravated the rib injury while playing with Phillips in Saturday's Mexico vs. The Rest of the World game in Mexico City, which Mexico won 12-11 in overtime. Roldan, who returned on an early morning flight with Phillips, was still bothered by the injury during Sunday's game.
|Longfield's Grant Ganzi takes possession of the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Xbox, ridden by Grant Ganzi, was named Best Playing Pony.
In round robin action earlier in the day, ELG defeated Palm House, 5-3, in a hotly-contested final round robin game, that featured two technical fouls, to win the subsidiary title.
Teenager Juancito Bollini and Carlucho Arellano each had two goals, Lucas Lalor added one and Avery Chapman played well defensively for ELG. Glenn Straub led Palm House with two goals.
In the other two round robin games, KIG and Palm House tied, 3-3 and ELG defeated KIG, 3-2.
The 2013 spring circuit at Grand Champions continues to be one of the most competitive in tournament history with four different team champions.
The other three tournament winners were ELG/Psycho Bunny (Palm City Open), Power Horse (Polo Gear Invitational) and Audi (USPA Spring Challenge).
The remaining two Grand Champions spring tournaments are the May 17-19 USPA Eastern Challenge and May 24-27 Memorial by Piaget.
GRAND CHAMPIONS SPRING SCHEDULE
May 17-19: USPA Eastern Challenge
May 24-27: The Memorial by Piaget
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.