28th July 2018
Highlights of Junior Westchester Cup 2018
Black Beards Polo Club in Oxfordshire, England prepared the arena for a tussle between the young upcoming stars of British and American polo on 27th July 2018 for the Junior Westchester Cup. The US team comprised of the unrelentingly talented Hope Arellano, Bayne Bossom, Lucas Escobar and Tenzin Tognini under the guidance of coach Joel Baker and Team USPA member Jared Zenni. While the mighty English team included the combination of fiercely competitive Will Harper, Milly Hine, Charlie Townsend and Luke Wiles.
Both the teams got embroiled in a splendidly thrilling opening chukker convincing the spectators of a close fight ahead. However, the first chukker went scoreless but England came forth with a blistering goal from Luke Wiles to put themselves ahead of their rivals. Nobody could have expected a goal in the tail end of the chukker but Lucas Escobar from the US team left the British players helpless against his prompt run downfield and thereby equalizing the game at 1-1 at half-time.
The third chukker arrived a similar impasse where both teams found themselves struggling hard to score when Luke Wiles once again provided England with a lead with his smacking hit. But the lead could not be maintained as Bayne Bossom’s sturdy 80 yard shot did not only equalized the score once again but also brought the US team in confidence. Bossom reported after the match- ““We had great chemistry, it took a few practices to get in sync but once we were there we were unstoppable.” It was also to the credit of Arellano and Tenzin Tognini that frequent attacks from the British players were effortlessly averted.
The real turning point that snatched the match completely out of British players was the offer of penalty 4 which Lucas Escobar turned into a goal, however, with a strain on his abilities. Escobar later divulged his feelings about the penalty stroke- ““honestly, going to hit it I was angry because I missed my first three penalties and I knew I had to make it to win the game and to redeem those for sure.” The US Junior team pranced with the victory title with a score of 3-2.
Carlucho Arellano, USPA Executive Director of Services praised the US team for their marked qualities ““I am so proud of this group of youngsters; they played their positions impeccably. Tenzin allowed no one into the scoring zone, Lucas distributed the ball at high speeds, Bayne drilled an 80-yard shot to tie, Hope extended the team with her prowess, and Johnny supported his teammates from beginning to end. Joel’s coaching proved invaluable once again.”
Coach Joel Baker looked deeply satisfied with the performance of his team as weeks of hard labour, cohabiting as a team united them to secure the cup even when the chances seemed faltering. He expressed his thoughts- “The other team was a fantastic team, superbly mounted, but our team kept working together and I think that’s what got them through. I know that’s what got them through, they had all the confidence that they were going to win it—they were prepared.”