ANINI — It may have been raining in your neighborhood when Sunday’s match began at 3 p.m., but conditions at the Anini beach polo field were pure Kaua‘i paradise. The teams were sponsored by Global Mortgage and by Sabella’s, a new restaurant at Princeville.
The game started with a mid-field toss in. Peter Cameron took control of the ball for Global. He raced down to the makai end of the field using great stick work. As he tried to line up for a shot on goal, Sabella’s‚ Ronnie Tongg took the ball away and sent it back to mid field. This set the tone of play for the rest of the day: aggressive offense and dogged defense for each team.
The teams mixed it up, exchanging control and feeling out the opposition. Then Global Mortgage’s Carlos Elzuardia swept through the melee and made the first score of the day. With a 2 point handicap the score was 3-0 in favor of Global early in the game.
After the toss in, play moved toward the makai end of the field. As the teams fought for control, Elzuardia again split through the confusion and took the ball downfield for an easy goal through the undefended mauka pylons. Global Mortgage 4-0.
Ron Bonaguidi, trying to stop the onslaught against his Sabella’s team, took control of the ball at the toss-in, running downfield, and missing a goal by only a hair. Our colorful announcer, Inger Pa, described it as being “one centipede wide” to cheers from the social club faithful.
Global Mortgage knocked the ball in and set the pace for a run to score. Sabella’s‚ Krista Hawley broke that up and took the ball back downfield for a shot on goal which went wide. With just seconds to go, Global knocked the ball in. John Elwin took control and tried a long shot on goal which, missed just as the horn sounded. Chukker 2 started with Elzuardia and Elwin battling for control. Ronnie Tongg of Sabella’s snuck in, stole the ball, and drove out toward the goal. Peter Cameron took the ball in a great defensive play, then lost it to Tongg’s defensive backhand shot which sent the ball to midfield. Elwin ripped it away with a pass to Elzuardia with Tongg covering. Elzuardia was not to be ridden off by Tongg and ran straight for the goal line and his third score of the day. At the toss-in, Bonaguidi crowded in, trying to change the momentum. he passed to Tongg who made Sabella’s first score of the day, ending the Chukker 5-1.
Half time divot stomping by spectators helped make the field safer. For chukkers 3 and 4, Scott Sims replaced Peter Cameron on the Global Mortgage team. Sabella’s came out determined to turn the game around, and that they did in spite of great Global defensive play. Chukker 3 began with Tongg taking the roll-in. Elzuardia took it back for Global. Tongg broke up that play and passed downfield toward Krista Hawley. Sims intercepted, only to lose to Hawley who went on to score for Sabella’s.
After the toss-in, both teams circled the field, passing and riding off for control. Hawley took a forward pass from Bonaguidi. In the melee near the goal mouth, Global committed a foul. Hawley was awarded a shot from 20 yards out at an undefended goal which she made handily. 5-3 still in favor of Global. Umpire Kamalu Sheldon‚s toss-in bounced off Hawley’s mallet toward Tongg. Scott Sims ran him off the ball but Hawley entered to pass to Bonaguidi. He slammed one in, bringing the score to 5-4 and Sabella’s rooters to their feet. With just 20 seconds remaining after the toss-in, Elzuardia and Tongg battled but neither was able to score. The battle continued after the 4th chukker toss-in. Sims handled the ball but was ridden off by Bonaguidi who passed to Hawley. She took it in easily to tie the score 5-5. At the toss-in, Sims again took control, this time taking the ball downfield for a shot which missed. After the knock in, Bonaguidi took the ball toward the opposite goal and also missed a shot. Global Mortgage knocked the ball in. Tongg broke up the play with a nearside backshot. Each side had control briefly when Bonaguidi got control and looked like he might score. Elzuardia fought him off and took the ball downfield for a difficult shot across the goal mouth which put Global ahead, 6-5. With time running out both teams fought for advantage after the toss-in. Control changed several times with play marked by hooking and riding off. Sabella’s finally got the ball downfield only to have it cross the end line without a clear shot on goal The knock in went to Elzuardia. Hawley surprised him with a great defensive move, allowing Tongg to come in behind her. He took the ball to about midfield and scored with a powerful long, high shot. Tie again, 6-6. With just seconds to go following the toss-in, both teams tried to break the tie but it was not to be. Notes: World famous Gramm Bray will be a guest player next week. The following week will be lady’s day with the return of popular players from California. Kaua‘i polo will continue through September 5. Friday practice games start at 4 p.m., are open to the public and are free. Sunday games start at 3 p.m. Team rosters: Global Mortgage, orange shirts: Peter Cameron/1 Scott Sims/2 Carlos Elzuardia/3 John Elwin/4
Sabella’s Restaurant, light blue shirts: Krista Hawley/1 Ron Bonaguidi/2 Ronnie Tongg/3 Announcer: Inger Pa, Umpire: Kamalu Sheldon.