Oak Brook Polo Wins
INTERNATIONAL & PRINCE OF WALES CUP
8-6 OVER THE WALES POLO TEAM
OAK BROOK CLOSES 2017 REGULAR POLO SEASON
WITH WIN AGAINST GREAT BRITAIN!
SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2017
On Sunday, September 10th, Oak Brook Polo Club closed out the 2017 regular season by defeating the Wales Polo team in four chukkers in front of a record attendance to win the prestigious International and Prince of Wales Cup. As part of the final match in the “International Series,” which included Jamaica and India, Oak Brook has a long history of hosting teams from other countries and was honored to have the Wales team return.
Oak Brook Polo Club’s International Cup was inaugurated in 1986 when the England Team, captained by Prince Charles, played against Oak Brook. Today, HRH The Prince of Wales serves as patron of the Wales Polo Team that was comprised of Victoria Grace (captain), Orlando Camus, Niall Donnelly, and Peter Webb. Oak Brook’s team, led by team patron and captain Jim Drury included Mariano Gutierrez, Tomas Obregon and Horacio Onetto. Todd Rackley and Jack Murphy served as officiating umpires and Rob Wilkinson as announcer.
Singers Nicolette Fendon & Heather Bodie, of Chicago-native band, Midwest sang the national anthem while Celtic piper Christopher Coomes performed both the Wales and Great Britain national anthems.
Wales Polo Team (LtoR): Peter Webb, Niall Donnelly, Orlando Camus and Victoria Grace.
LtoR: Horacio Onetto of Oak Brook fending off Niall Donnelly of the Wales Polo Team.
The first chukker got underway with the traditional ball roll in. Despite Wales having a stronger team by two goals on handicap, Oak Brook’s captain agreed to play the match “on the flat”, as Wales was playing on unfamiliar horses. Gutierrez was the first to score for Oak Brook followed by Obregon, who fired one in within the first 3 minutes of play. Wales not to be outdone, but still getting used to their mounts, replied with two goals of their own – one from Donnelly, in a chase down to the north goal, and the second one on a penalty 2 -again from Donnelly. Gutierrez pulled off a nice neck shot goal in the last minute of play to end the chukker 3-2 Oak Brook.
The second chukker was dominated by a variety of defensive plays by both teams –bumping and big back shots from Webb, and Obregon. Camus had a couple of runs to goal but was quickly shut down by Oak Brook’s defense of Drury and Onetto. Wales had several long shots on goal, only to miss by inches but Webb finally got one through from a strong “worm burner” seventy yards out. Onetto replied with one of his own that he tackled from Webb mid-field. The chukker ended with no penalties, and a score of 4-3 Oak Brook.
After the traditional yet “festive” divot stomp, the third chukker began with Oak Brook coming out with their best mounts. Onetto, on a particularly well-trained horse, scored three goals; with defenseman Drury also scoring in a breakaway, on a long pass from Onetto. Donnelly and Webb of Wales did a great job of feeding the ball up to Grace, but she was too closely marked by Drury to put it between the posts. The third chukka ended 8-3 in favor of Oak Brook.
For the fourth and final chukka of the match, Wales had found their stride and were also on their best borrowed mounts. Oak Brook did not score in the chukker, as they were too busy playing defense. Camus scored one goal after a nice pass from Webb, who then put in two more goals– one after a nice bump and run with Onetto, and one on a penalty 3. Wales made a nice comeback, but they would have needed six chukkers to catch up. Nonetheless, Oak Brook held their lead to win 8-6.
"This was a match we've been looking forward to all season - 'the return of the Brits'," says Jim Drury. "And it measured up in every respect. High speed, intensely competitive and wonderful camaraderie between our teams. I was pleased to accept their gracious invitation to host our team in England next season, for a rematch."
Reute Butler and Nicholas Vangel presented The International Cup to the Oak Brook Polo Team, The “Best Playing Pony” was awarded to the mare, Vera (owned and trained by Onetto), and “MVP” went to Peter Webb of Wales.
2017 marks Oak Brook Polo Club's 95th season as one of the nation's oldest polo clubs in operation today and fourth oldest sports property in Chicago. Once considered the “polo capital” of the world Oak Brook was the destination for American Polo players and enthusiasts. www.oakbrookpoloclub.com.
2017 International Cup MVP, Pete Webb of the Wales Polo Team
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