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Date: Monday, November 18, 2019
Newport Polo's inaugural USPA Northeastern Circuit Women's Arena Challenge brought four teams of top regional competitors to vie for the newly minted trophy over two days of competition on November 16 and 17, 2019. Random draw matched up the teams for semi-final rounds on day one that ended in decisive victories. The teams ratcheted up the competition in the final rounds where the victor, Synergy Solutions Today, narrowly took the trophy by one goal.
Semi-Final I kicked off the tournament weekend with Stage Hill (Leslie Milne, Amanda Roberts, Kim Maguire) in pink against Galloping Grooms (Catie Reed, Ryan McNeilly, Hannah Stowe, and Teghan Torrey all of Newport Polo's interscholastic team) in navy. Galloping Grooms started with three handicap goals on the board as the young players faced the tournament's highest handicapped team. Stage Hill won the first regulation goal, setting off alternating goals that ended the first chukker 6-3 for the Galloping Grooms. Stage Hill hit its stride in the second chukker, overtaking with six goals for a 9-6 lead. The advance continued through the third with another six goals by Stage Hill to Galloping Grooms' one for a score of 7-15. Galloping Grooms regained composure in the final chukker, slowing the Stage Hill machine while adding a few points to the board. There just wasn't enough time as the final bell signaled the Stage Hill win and advance to the Championship, 17-10.
Semi-Final II brought Avalon Farm (Kathleen Reagan, Margaux Buchanan, and Cindy Halle) in purple against Synergy Solutions Today (Lauren Bilsky, Mia Purdom, and Minnie Keating) in white. Avalon Farm started with one handicap point on the board as Synergy Solutions Today led the scoring during regulation play, breaking out of the lineup to win the first two goals. Avalon Farm disrupted the advance with a goal, but two costly mistakes gave Synergy Solutions two points on penalty hits to widen its lead. A regulation goal by Avalon Farm followed by a penalty conversion tied the score until Synergy Solutions Today ended the first chukker with a goal and 5-4 lead. Synergy Solutions Today came out strong in the second chukker earning several goals while Avalon Farm lost momentum when one of its players had an unexpected dismount. Synergy Solutions Today led 8-4 going into the third chukker and pressed hard to maintain the advantage with six goals to Avalon Farm's one. Avalon Farm had a tall order to make up nine goals in the final period. The team went on the immediate attack for two goals while shutting down the Synergy Solutions Today offense. Synergy Solutions Today managed two more as the clock ran down goals to win the second berth in the Championship, 16-7.
Day two began with Avalon Farm against the Galloping Grooms in the Consolation. Galloping Grooms started with one handicap point and made a strong opening with two goals in regulation play. Avalon Farm interrupted the advance with one goal, but the Galloping Grooms was undeterred, scoring three more goals for a 6-1 lead. Avalon Farm scored first in the second chukker and put the breaks on the Galloping Grooms, limiting the team to one goal and a 7-2 lead. Tides turned in the third as Avalon Farm scored a two-pointer to open, with one penalty conversion plus two more goals during regulation play. The Galloping Grooms clung on to the lead by scoring one goal for a score of 8-7. Tension was high in the final chukker as Avalon Farm tied at the outset. Galloping Grooms retook the lead, then Avalon Farm tied again to send the match into an overtime penalty shootout. Three players from each team lined-up in sequence for a free hit from the 25-yard line and only Torrey on the Galloping Grooms made the goal to secure the bronze finish, 10-9.
All the glory was on the line as Stage Hill and Synergy Solutions Today lined up for the first throw-in of the Championship. Synergy Solutions Today started with one handicap point on the board and a foul by Stage Hill led to a penalty conversion for a two-point lead. Another goal by Synergy Solutions Today kept momentum going. Then, Stage Hill took control of the field to make three goals and the lead. Synergy Solutions Today ended the first chukker with another goal to tie the match at 4-all. Stage Hill broke the tie in the second chukker, but Synergy Solutions Today hit back hard with three goals. Stage Hill made one more goal which was matched by Synergy Solutions Today for an 8-6 lead. Tides reversed again as Stage Hill made a lightning blitz with four goals to one by Synergy Solutions Today, giving Stage Hill the lead, 10-9. Stage Hill padded its lead with another goal to start the final chukker. Synergy Solutions Today nailed a two-pointer to tie the match and then a lucky pony kicked the ball in for a Synergy Solutions Today win, 12-11.
Deputy Polo Manager Amy Garrison presented MVP to Amanda Roberts by a vote of her peers. Best Playing Pony was awarded to Juicy, owned and played by Minnie Keating of Synergy Solutions Today. Finally, the perpetual trophy and engraved Tiffany plates were presented to Synergy Solutions today.
Photo by: John Lincourt Photography. View the full album on Facebook.
Newport Polo thanks the United States Polo Association for this historic opportunity and great honor, and its co-hosts, and its tournament staff & volunteers including Tournament Committee Amy Garrison, Agnes Keating, Ryan Fontaine, and Rory Torrey, Umpires Patrick Quigley and Rory Torrey, on Call Vet and official Club Veterinarian Dr. Margaux Buchanan from Southshore Equine Clinic, Equine Welfare Official Rory Torrey, and volunteer horse handlers from the Newport Polo Club!
About Newport Polo: Newport Polo is the home of the Westchester Polo Club, America’s first polo club est. 1876, and founding member of the United States Polo Association, offering club member services for outdoor (grass) & arena polo, and polo instruction. The founding members, who hailed mostly from Westchester County, NY, established the club's summer headquarters and polo grounds in Newport, RI where its members annually convened for summer recreation. The original club in Newport remained active until 1929 and is credited for organizing the first international polo competition, the Westchester Cup. The Westchester Polo Club was revived in 1992 by President and delegate, Dan Keating. Colloquially know today as Newport Polo, the Club supports a vibrant polo training program continually introducing newcomers to the sport. It is home to the Brown University Polo Team and the winners of the 2017 National Men’s Intercollegiate Championship, Roger Williams University. Newport Polo also hosts the Newport International Polo Series, a popular 18-week summer exhibition series.
Newport, Rhode Island: For more than 375 years, Newport has been welcoming visitors from near and far to its charming New England coastal harbor, earning its reputation as America’s First Resort. Evolving from its origins for religious freedom to prominent colonial port to Gilded Age playground to today - a destination ripe with sport, culture, history, art, entertainment and scenic beauty, distinctive shops, renowned restaurants, diverse accommodations and world-class events, its past, present, and future make this international resort uniquely legendary. also hosts the Newport International Polo Series, a popular 18-week summer exhibition series.