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ERG Defeats Bendabout 11-9 To Capture Hall Of Fame Title
Sunday At International Polo Club Palm Beach

WELLINGTON, Florida – A patient, confident ERG continued its magnificent run, defeating Bendabout 11-9 in the 22-goal Hall of Fame Cup championship match Sunday at International Polo Club Palm Beach played under cool, windy conditions with occasional showers.

It was ERG’s fifth consecutive victory and snapped Bendabout’s five-game winning streak. ERG’s previous high-goal titles include the 20-goal Texas Open in 2003 and the 2002 Silver Cup, both at the Houston Polo Club.

ERG celebrates its victory in the 22-goal Hall of Fame Cup title match flanked by Hall of Fame Chairman Steve Orthwein (left) and
Brenda Lynn, Director of Development and George DuPont, Executive Director of the Hall of Fame.
Photo Credit: Shelley Heatley

“They (Bendabout) always play free, so we always had to put pressure on them, mano a mano,” said 6-goaler Roberto Gonzalez of ERG, who was named MVP. “We were always waiting for a mistake. Miguel (Novillo Astrada of Bendabout) is clever. When we got on top, we had to keep attacking.”

ERG seemed to take control, scoring two goals in the final 51 seconds of the fifth chukker to take a 9-7 lead. Bendabout rallied to tie the game at 9-9, the sixth and final tie when Miguel Novillo Astrada stole the ball, split two defenders and dribbled past a third to put in a 10-yard near side shot with 3:09 left in the game.

But ERG came back when Gonzalez stole the ball, dribbled past the goal and knocked in a belly shot with 2:04 left. Eight-goaler Lucas Monteverde scored on a breakaway on the ensuing throw-in to give ERG an 11-9 advantage with 1:21 left.

Then Bendabout’s 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada missed his second 60-yard penalty shot in the final chukker with 51 seconds left.

“It was pretty windy on both of them,” Novillo Astrada said. “It was not a great day. ERG played well. They controlled most of the game. They are a well-balanced team.”

Pablo Spinacci of ERG tries to control the ball in the middle of the pack while Boone Stribling (right) of Bendabout looks back and waits for a chance to steal it during action of the 22-goal Hall of Fame Cup championship match at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Photo Credit: Shelley Heatley

Gonzalez led ERG with six goals while Monteverde finished with four and Pablo Spinacci added one goal. Patron Scott Wood did not score. Monteverde finished with a team-high 34 goals, second most in the tournament behind Mariano Aguerre of White Birch, who had 40 goals in six games. Gonzalez finished with 21 goals and Spinacci had 16 goals in the tournament.

Miguel Novillo Astrada and patron Gillian Johnston scored four goals each for Bendabout, which received one goal by handicap to start the game. Astrada finished the tournament with 22 goals and Johnston ended with 15 goals. Alejandro Novillo Astrada, who led the team with 19 goals coming into the final, was held scoreless, as was Boone Stribling.

Johnston’s Magica was named Best Playing Pony and took home the Babs Haas Memorial Perpetual Trophy.

ERG reached the final with a 15-14 victory over White Birch, tying the season-high record for most goals in a game. Bendabout advanced to the final with a 10-5 over Las Monjitas. Bendabout also reached the final of the season’s first 22-goal tournament, the Joe Barry Memorial, and dropped a 13-10 decision to Catamount.

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

The tournament is named in honor of the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation of the history and tradition of the sport of polo. The Museum houses an extensive collection of historic documents and treasures that include important trophies, artifacts, books, works of art and other memorabilia. The Hall of Fame, located in Lake Worth, Florida, was created to honor the heroes of the sport.

The high-goal polo season continues with the 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup. Thirteen teams are entered with the final scheduled for Sunday, March 21.

The polo matches are open to the public. Tickets for the Sunday games at the International Polo Club Palm Beach are available in advance by calling (561) 204-5687 or visit the club website at Tickets are also available at the gate on the day of the game.

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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