WELLINGTON, FL-March 15, 2013—Orchard Hill took Piaget out of its game plan for a 6-1 lead after two chukkers and went on to defeat Piaget, 12-7, in the first of five USPA Piaget Gold Cup games Thursday at Isla Carroll West.

It was a frustrating day for Piaget which tried to dig itself out of a hole in the second half, but ran out of chukkers.

Piaget 10-goaler Sapo Caset was held scoreless for five chukkers, scoring his one and only goal in the opening chukker on a penalty shot.

Piaget’s other 10-goaler, Miguel Astrada, led scoring with five goals, two on penalty shots.

Nacho Badiola added another goal. Badiola, 23, the son of former 9-goaler Juan Badiola, is making his IPC 26-goal debut this season.

Piaget team captain Melissa Ganzi turned back Orchard Hill team captain Steve Van Andel on two scoring attempts as one of the few highlights of the game.

It was Piaget’s second consecutive loss after losing 12-10 to Lechuza Caracas last Saturday. Orchard Hill evened its record to 1-1. At 2-0, Lechuza Caracas is the lone undefeated team in Piaget’s bracket. ERG is 1-1.

Trailing 9-2 after three chukkers, Piaget made a few adjustments at the half and came out swinging in the second half, tying Orchard Hill 1-1 in the fourth and outscoring them 2-1 in the final two chukkers.

Piaget’s Nacho Badiola attacking the ball on a breakaway run. Piaget’s Nacho Badiola attacking the ball on a breakaway run.

“We were snakebit,” Piaget coach Joey Casey said. “We weren’t hitting well. The other team played much better the first half.

“We had a lot of bad luck,” Casey said. “To be honest, I don’t think anything went well today. Every ball that they hit in the air, they didn’t miss a ball all day.

“They have some good players but I have not seen those players play that well in a couple of years. They played phenomenal today. The way they played today they will beat anybody. We just had a bad day and just got to move on and get ready for the next one.”

Casey was pleased with Piaget’s turnaround in the second half.

“We changed some things around in the last half and that seemed to work so we are going to try and build on that for the U.S. Open,” Casey said.

Orchard Hill was led by a balanced attack. Matias MacDonough led with five goals followed by brother Pablo MacDonough with four goals, Rodrigo Andrade with two goals and Van Andel with one goal and the play of the day when he stripped Astrada of the ball.

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Van Andel said. “I did not expect this kind of game, I was really worried because they are a tough team. Piaget did really well in their last game and I was worried.

“Our whole team played really well together,” Van Andel said. “The objective was to stick against your man and send the ball when we had a chance. We got everybody open and were able to pass it and that’s what helped.”

Piaget 10-goaler Sapo Caset tries to control the ball on a run. Photo credit Alex Pacheco.

Grand Champions Polo Club-based other pro team, Audi, had a tough day, too, losing to Valiente, 10-7, in a penalty-marred contest.

In other Thursday games at International Polo Club Palm Beach, Alegria defeated Coca-Cola, 11-10, in overtime; Lechuza Caracas edged ERG, 9-6; and Zorzal routed Mt. Brilliant, 14-6.

Piaget will play next on Sunday in the IPC stadium marquis game at 3 p.m. against ERG. In the early Sunday game, Audi plays Valiente at 10 a.m.

First played in 1974, the 26-goal USPA Gold Cup has been played at various polo clubs until it found a home at IPC in 2007.

When the USPA awarded IPC the Gold Cup in 2007, the International Polo Club Palm Beach, home of the 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup Tournament and U.S. Open Championship, sealed its place in history as host of all three legs of the Triple Crown.

Piaget is saluting IPC’s tenth anniversary with the launch of its new luxury Polo FortyFive Black watch which will join their successful collection of polo watches first introduced in the late 1970s.


Sunday, March 17: Valiente vs. Audi, 10 a.m.; Piaget vs. ERG, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, March 20: Piaget Gold Cup Semifinals, 2, 4 p.m.

Thursday, March 21: Butler Handicap Semifinals, Gold Cup subsidiary, 10 a.m., noon

Sunday, March 24: Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 26: U.S. Open begins, schedule, pairings to be announced.


March 7-March 24, USPA Piaget Gold Cup

March 26-April 21, 109th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship


WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.

INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Piaget. Everyone is welcome to watch polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League Tournament.