|Tue 26th Feb 2019|
C.V. Whitney Cup Final
Pilot secure pole position
On Thursday 21 February the C.V. Whitney Cup finalists were decided at International Polo Club, Palm Beach. Pilot were the first team to secure their place in Sunday’s Final after they defeated La Indiana 14-9. Las Monjitas was the second team to gain their place in the Final, following their 10-8 defeat of Cessna on Thursday.
The C.V. Whitney Cup Final, the first Gauntlet of Polo Final, was played on Sunday 24 February at International Polo Club Palm Beach with Pilot dominating Las Monjitas with a final score of 13-6 and with it the $125,000 prize money. By capturing the first stage of The Gauntlet of Polo, Pilot are also now in with a chance to take home the $1,000,000 US Triple Crown prize money.
Pilot came out strongly, effectively using the deadly duo of Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres, who both scored a goal apiece in the first chukka, and the brothers continued to play the two-man game they are famous for during the rest of the Final. The combination of accurate passing teamed with strong horsepower meant that Pilot led 5-3 at half-time. Although Pilot had shown their skill as a team, controlling possession throughout the first half, it was the fourth chukka that they really began to storm ahead. As the Las Monjitas defence struggled to contain the attack, Pilot secured an impressive five goals in the fourth chukka, to no goals in reply from Las Monjitas.
Two goals and two assists for both Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres left Las Monjitas searching for answers defensively. Hilario Ulloa received his second yellow card in the chukka as his frustration boiled over, and to make matters worse he then rode onto the field before the two minute penalty was complete, resulting in a red card that forced him out of the game. Santiago Toccalino came on to replace the 10 goaler, but Pilot had built a large lead with the result all but confirmed with two chukkas to go. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Pilot, as they only managed to convert two out of seven field goal opportunities in the first half; but after some half-time pep talks, the team managed to bring this conversion rate up to an impressive seven out of seven in the second half.
The statistics said it all, with Pilot converting 4/4 penalties and only committing five fouls, compared to 12 fouls from Las Monjitas. La Monjitas’ field goal conversion rate wasn’t any more convincing, with only one of their first 12 attempts at goal finding the posts.
The Most Valuable Player was awarded to Pilot’s Matias Gonzalez, while the Best Playing Pony went to Facundo Pieres’ pony Open Pennsylvania. The second stage of the Gauntlet of Polo begins on Thursday 28 February with The USPA Gold Cup.
The C.V. Whitney Cup Final Teams:
Pilot (22): Curtis Pilot (0), Facundo Pieres (10), Gonzalito Pieres (9) & Matias Gonzalez (3)
Las Monjitas (22): Hilario Ulloa (10), Francisco Elizalde (8), Camilo Bautista (0) & Matt Coppola (4)
Photograph: Pilot, winners of The C.V. Whitney Cup Final, also secured $125,000 prize money. Courtesy of IPC