Island House Defeated Faraway in Silver Cup OT Thriller
By Liz Leamy
Last Sunday, Island House, the venerable high-goal contingent, based out of West Nassau in the Bahamas, clinched a Silver Cup victory in remarkable fashion, scoring an 8-7 victory in sudden-death overtime against the formidable Faraway squad of Lexington, Kentucky.
This high-octane showdown, held before a crowd of over 2,500 spectators who filled the umbrella-laden sidelines, massive wooden grandstand and gigantic white tents at the famed Conyers Farm field to capacity, was an affair to remember, featuring some of the sport’s most decorated players and ponies who went head-to-head against one another in hopes in this illustrious event, known to be the oldest tournament conducted in the U.S.
Right from the outset, it was clear both teams brought their ‘A’ game to the Greenwich Polo Club (GPC) on this glorious summer afternoon as the players and ponies flew up and down the mammoth Conyers Farm field with the ferocity, speed and athleticism of National Hockey League Stanley Cup finalists.
Throughout the majority of the first half, Island House held a narrow lead over Faraway, as Matias Magrini, the esteemed Argentinian seven goaler, his son, Santino Magrini, a four goaler, Pedro Gutierrez, a five goaler and Peter Holowesko, the team’s stalwart patron, worked in effective tandem with one another.
“We were focused on our game, and I think we played well,” said Holowesko, who lives in the Bahamas and is said to play high-goal polo (primarily in the Long Island region of New York) here in the U.S. every summer. “You could also hear the crowd cheering loudly, which was great.”
During the second half of the match, Faraway, featuring such notable players as Kris Kampsen and Julian Daniels, both six goalers, Pedro Gutierrez, a five goaler, Stevie Orthwein, the four-goaler who is related to Peter Orthwein, the esteemed longtime patron and player of the illustrious Greenwich-based Airstream organization, and Bo and Hutton Goodman, rallied like warriors and brought the score to seven-seven by the end of the sixth (final) chukker.
Subsequently, Gutierrez helped score the Silver Cup for Island House by knocking in the dramatic game-winning goal with only two minutes remaining in the seventh (overtime) chukker, a moment that rendered the biggest cheers of the afternoon from the crowd.
“It was an intense match and I’m happy with the result,” said Holowesko. “Everyone was on top of their game.”
Certainly, the excitement and intensity of this world-class showdown seem to have quite an effect upon the spectators, who, as a whole, seemed to be very much involved, interactive and engaged with what was taking place out on the field.
“This match has been incredible, and it’s been a wonderful experience to be here,” said Sherry Myer of Greenwich who is the Chairman of the Sustainer Advisory Council for the Junior League of Greenwich. “This is an amazing sport which everyone seems to appreciate and understand, and I think that’s much of the reason why everyone is having such a great time.”
Myer (who said the Junior League of Greenwich is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year) also spoke about the uniqueness of the GPC.
“It’s a beautiful day here, the people are wonderful and there is so much happening,” said Myer, adding that another bonus of attending matches at the GPC is having the opportunity to visit the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, which is open to spectators (gratis) from 1-3 p.m. prior to the start of every Sunday match.
Sponsors agreed that the GPC is a golden destination.
“This is an amazing spot,” said Deborah Millington, Business Development Officer for Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., a season sponsor and the official travel destination partner of the GPC. “This game attracts people from all over the North Atlantic region from so many different backgrounds and being here at polo reminds me of the atmosphere in the Barbados. It’s so exciting.”
Notably, the presence of the Barbados Tourism Marketing group, with this country being a main polo destination in the Caribbean, seems to be optimizing the already warm and welcoming atmosphere of the GPC.
“Everyone is so warm and friendly [at the GPC] and it is always a fun and positive experience,” said Millington. “It feels like eternal summer here, just like it does in the Barbados.”
— Most Valuable Player of the match: Kris Kampsen of Faraway, who scored five goals.
— Best Playing Pony of the match: Rastrillo, who played in the fourth chukker with Pedro Gutierrez of Island House. He is owned by Matias Magrini of Island House.