Merchant Hub/Ranhill, FMB and Mansour score opening
wins in USPA Lucchese America Cup at Santa Barbara
By Alex Webbe
Merchant Hub/Ranhill (Hamdan Mohammad, Michel Dorignac, Toto Collardin and Luis
Escobar) surprised a veteran and talented La Herradura lineup (Alvaro Fernandez,
Mariano Obregon, Carlos and Memo Gracida) by scoring an 11-10 overtime win in the
opening match of the 20-goal 2013 USPA Lucchese America Cup at the Santa Barbara
Polo Club Friday morning on the Piocho Ranch fields.
Carlos Gracida scored the first two goals of the game (one on a 40-yard penalty
conversion) followed by single goals from teammates Marianito Obregon and Memo
Gracida. A rigid defense kept Merchant Hub/Ranhill off of the scoreboard and La
Herradura rode off the field with a 4-0 lead.
Toto Collardin finally answered for Merchant Hub/Ranhill with the first two goals of
the second chukker. Carlos Gracida scored the final goal of the period and after two
chukkers of play La Herradura enjoyed a 5-2 advantage.
Merchant Hub/Ranhill was first to score again in the third period. Luis Escobar added
two goals from the field that cut the La Herradura lead to a single goal, 5-4. Carlos
Gracida closed out the first half with his fourth goal of the game to put La Herradura
Merchant Hub/Ranhill opened the second half with single goals from Collardin and
Michel Dorignac, tying the game at 6-6. Once again it was Carlos Gracida who scored
the final goal to keep La Herradura on top, 7-6.
For the fourth consecutive chukker Merchant Hub/Ranhill drew first blood. A goal from
Escobar knotted the score at 7-7. A penalty 40-yard penalty conversion by Carlos
Gracida fended off the latest Merchant Hub/Ranhill effort as La Herradura survived
another chukker by a narrow one goal, 8-7 margin.
Dorignac opened the sixth period with a tying goal, 8-8, but La Herradura fought right
back. Carlos Gracida converted another 40-yard foul shot that put La Herradura back
in the lead, 9-8. Dorignac responded with a penalty goal for Merchant Hub/Ranhill, and
it was all even once again, 9-9. Obregon gave the lead back to La Herradura on his
second goal of the day, but there was too much time left in the chukker. Collardin tied it
up at 10-10 with 40 seconds left on the clock, forcing sudden-death overtime.
“We were ahead throughout the game,” said Obregon, “and when Toto (Collardin) tied it
up on the long shot in the last seconds of the sixth chukker, I couldn’t believe it.”
Dorignac scored the game-winning goal, 11-10, in the first minute of the overtime period
for Merchant Hub/Ranhill.
“The last chukker was too long,” joked Carlos Gracida after the game. “Like in Palm
Beach,” he added.
Last season a La Herradura team that included Hall of Famers Memo and Carlos
Gracida opened the season slowly, winning the first five chukkers and then losing in the
final minutes. Adjustments were made, however, and the team fared well through the
balance of the season. The same results may lie in wait for this lineup.
Carlos Gracida led all scoring with seven goals (three on penalty shots). Obregon
scored twice and Memo Gracida added a goal in a losing effort. Dorignac and Collardin
scored four goals apiece for Merchant Hub/Ranhill. Escobar was credited with three
goals in the victory.
FARMERS AND MERCHANTS BANK 9, ERG 8
The second game of the day in the opening round of play in the 2013 Lucchese
America Cup saw another overtime decision with Farmers and Merchants Bank (Dan
Walker, Inaki Laprida, Lucas Criado and Henry Walker) edging ERG (Scott Wood,
Sugar Erskine, Jeff Blake and Paco de Narvaez) 10-9 on an overtime penalty goal by
ERG took the early lead with three first chukker goals from Paco de Narvaez, all on
penalty conversions. Lucas Criado countered with a single penalty goal of his own for
Farmers and Merchants Bank. At the end of the first chukker ERG led, 3-1.
De Narvaez opened the second chukker with a pair of goals, giving ERG a four goal
cushion, 5-1. Criado scored the last goal of the period, but Farmers and Merchants
Bank trailed by three goals, 5-2.
The two teams exchanged goals in a defensive-oriented third period. Jeff Blake
converted a 30-yard penalty shot while Criado added a goal from the field. At the end of
the first half, ERG held a 6-3 advantage over Farmers and Merchants Bank.
A refreshed Farmers and Merchants Bank took the field in the fourth chukker. A miserly
defense shut down the ERG attack while Criado scored three consecutive goals (one on
a penalty shot) to lock it up at 6-6.
Defenses took control in the fifth period, with ERG limiting Farmers and Merchants Bank
to a single goal from Dan Walker. Blake converted his second penalty goal of the game
but the score remained tied at 7-7.
De Narvaez put ERG back in the lead with the opening goal of the sixth chukker, 8-
7. Criado took advantage of a couple of ERG miscues and converted a pair of 40-goal
penalty shots as Farmers and Merchants Bank enjoyed their second lead of the game,
9-8. De Narvaez kept his team in the running with a tying goal, 9-9, forcing a suddendeath chukker.
Shortly into the overtime, ERG fouled with Farmers and Merchants Bank on the attack.
Inaki Laprida converted the short penalty shot for the 10-9 victory.
Criado led all scoring with eight goals (four on penalty conversions). Laprida and Dan
Walker added single goals in the win. De Narvaez set the pace for ERG, scoring seven
times including three penalty goals. Blake converted two penalty goals in a losing effort.
MANSOUR 9, LUCCHESE 8
The parity in the field of the 2013 USPA Lucchese America Cup was confirmed with
Mansour scoring another one goal victory, 9-8, over an ambitious Lucchese lineup.
Mansour took the early lead on the strength of a pair of goals from former 10-goaler
Adam snow. Tavi Usandizaga responded with a single goal for Lucchese who trailed at
the end of the chukker, 2-1.
Goals were scarce in the second period with Usandizaga and Santi Von Wernich
exchanging single goals. Mansour defended its one goal lead, 3-2.
Lucchese was shut out in the third by a determined Mansour defense while their offense
distributed the scoring. Single goals from each member of the team, Ben Soleimani,
Hilario Ulloa, Snow and Von Wernich had them on the winning end of a 7-2 halftime
Lucchese jumped right back into it in the fourth. Jose Donoso opened the second half
with a pair of penalty conversions for goals. Andres Weisz scored his first goal of the
game and Lucchese had cut the Mansour lead down to a manageable two goals, 7-5.
Three more Lucchese goal in the fifth (two penalty goals from Donoso and a goal from
the field from Usandizaga) were answered by a single goal from Ulloa and it was all
even at 8-8 with one chukker left to play.
The sixth chukker was fast and physical with both teams concentrating on defense and
waiting for an opening. Ulloa managed to break free and score the only goal of the final
chukker in a 9-8 Mansour win.
Donoso was credited with four gals on the day. Usandizaga scored three times and
Weisz added a goal in the loss. A balanced Mansour attack saw Ulloa and Snow
scoring three goals apiece. Von Wernich added two goals and Soleimani scored once
for the win.
2013 USPA Lucchese America Cup competition will continue on Sunday, July 21
three games. At 10AM, Mansour (1-0) will face La Herradura (0-1); the 1PM game will
feature Merchant Hub/Ranhill (1-0) against ERG (0-1); while Farmers and Merchants
Bank (1-0) will meet Lucchese (0-1) in the 3PM contest.