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ERG Edges White Birch 15-14 To Reach Sunday's Final Of Hall Of Fame Cup At International Polo Club Palm Beach

WELLINGTON, Florida – Before the game, Roberto Gonzalez told his ERG teammates to be patient and the veteran’s advice paid off as they rallied to defeat White Birch 15-14 in a 22-goal Hall of Fame Cup semifinal polo match Friday at International Polo Club Palm Beach. This was ERG’s third consecutive one-goal victory of the tournament, including an 11-10 overtime win over Everglades in the quarterfinals.

ERG plays Bendabout, led by the brother combination of 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada and 5-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada, in the final Sunday at 3 p.m. at the International Polo Club Palm Beach stadium. Bendabout, which defeated Las Monjitas 10-15 in the semifinals, reached the first high-goal final of the season, losing to Catamount 13-10 in the Joe Barry Memorial.

The 29 combined goals tied for the most goals in a game this season. The previous was Las Monjitas’ beating Crab Orchard 15-14 in overtime in the quarterfinals.

“Patience is the name of this sport,” said Gonzalez. “We started out poorly against White Birch, but we never lost confidence. When we tied (at 7-7), we said it’s a new game.”

ERG was behind most of the first half, trailing by as many as four (6-2) with 2:41 left in the second chukker.

“We were leaving too much space on the throw-ins and (White Birch’s) Del (Walton) and Mariano (Aguerre) were able to get the ball and score,” said ERG’s Lucas Monteverde. “When we got control of the throw-ins, we were able to come back.”

Walton scored three of his team-high five goals in the first two chukkers but wasn’t much of a factor late in the game.

ERG countered with three unanswered goals in the third chukker to climb back in the game, culminating with Gonzalez’s breakaway with 48 seconds remaining in the first half to tie the score at 7-7. It was the second and final tie of the game.

ERG opened the second half with a pair of 30-yard penalty shots by Monteverde within a 53-second span to take a 9-7 lead with 4:45 left in the fourth chukker. They held a two-goal advantage much of the rest of the second half until a tap-in by Monteverde game ERG a 15-12 margin with 2:53 left in the game.

White Birch mounted a final comeback. Offen converted a 30-yard penalty with 2:05 remaining to cut the margin to 15-13 but missed a scoring opportunity with 59 seconds left when his shot went wide right. On the ensuing knock-in, after each team stole the ball, Offen scored on a backshot with 11 seconds left.

Monteverde now has a team-high 30 goals while Gonzalez and Spinacci have 15 goals each.

Aguerre scored four goals and finished the tournament with 40 goals in six games. Offen added four goals and White Birch patron Peter Brant scored one goal.

Seventeen teams entered the tournament, the largest number of entrants of any tournament during the inaugural season.

The polo matches are open to the public. Tickets for the Sunday games at the International Polo Club Palm Beach are available at the gate, beginning at $10 each. For information or tickets, call (561) 204-5687 or visit the club website at

International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. From I-95, take the Forest Hill Boulevard exit and go west approximately 12 miles. Turn left onto South Shore Boulevard and go two miles. Turn left onto Pierson Road, travel about one mile and then make a right onto 120th Avenue South. The club is on the right. From Florida’s Turnpike, take Exit 93 (Lake Worth Road) and go west about six miles. Make a right onto 120th Avenue South. The club is on the left.


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