WPL Wins Limited Edition 8-Goal Series Thriller In Overtime; Gussie Busch MVP

3.JPG

WELLINGTON, Fl., April 2, 2019---In thrilling fashion, new team sponsor WPL won its first league tournament of the winter polo season Monday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

With the score tied 11-11, Juan Bollini scored the winning goal with seven minutes left in overtime to enable WPL (Santos Bollini, 1, Nico Harriott, 1, Gussie Busch, 1, Juan Bollini, 5) to knock off Dutta Corp (Juanse Olivera, 1, Timmy Dutta, 2, Tolito Ocampo, 5, Tim Dutta, 0) for a thrilling 12-11 victory.

After two missed scoring opportunities by both teams, Bollini picked up the loose ball on a broken play and scored.

"I saw the ball and I had to take a chance," Bollini said. "It was the last chance I had to prove myself. I was upset with myself. I was not happy with the way I was playing."

Gussie Busch, 23, was Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high eight goals, including seven penalty conversions. It was his first tournament victory this season at Grand Champions.

Busch, the son of polo player Billy Busch, 1991 U.S. Open winner with Grant's Farm Manor teammates Andy Busch, Mike Azzaro and Carlos Gracida, has filled in for starter Melissa Ganzi of Flexjet during the 26-goal season in the World Polo League lineup, and played well.

"It's been fun playing all over since I have been down here," Busch said. "I enjoy playing for Melissa. One day it's fast as hell and the other day it's a little slower and more controlled with the ball. But it's a lot of fun."

Busch said the team was put together for the winter season 6-, 8- and 12-goal leagues. It was his final league tournament of the winter season. He will continue to serve as Ganzi's backup, if needed, for the last two weeks of the World Polo League's Triple Crown of Polo.

"We just meshed and been going at it ever since," Busch said of his WPL teammates. "It's been fun."

In a hotly-contested, penalty-marred game that had more chatter than a morning talk show, the lead changed hands 14 times before going into overtime. Both teams led during the game and both teams had opportunities to win in regulation time at the penalty line and from the field.

"The game was a little sticky with all the fouls in the beginning," said Busch, who has been playing competitively since he was 12. "We finally opened it up and thank God in overtime we pulled it out and got the win." 

Bollini, who turns 57 in June, was the oldest player in the championship  final. It was another satisfying milestone, playing above his rating and playing alongside his 19-year-old son Santos. Juan Bollini finished with three goals and Santos Bollini added one.

"My teammates were incredible," Bollini said. "Gussie, Nico and Santos played well. They fought until the end. I think I finally showed up at the end in the last minute. I am very happy and so happy to win a tournament with Santos.

"This team is a good mix with the younger kids," Bollini said. "My experience with younger kids is they just want to win. Gussie has been down here with us for the whole season and improved a lot. He is playing well. He is happy and deserved to be MVP. The whole team has improved.

"For me just to be on the field with those kids at 56 is a thrill for me," Bollini said.

Ocampo, playing for the third consecutive day after competing in the $50,000 National 12-Goal on Saturday and winning the Top Pony 12-Goal Series on Sunday, led Dutta Corp with five goals. Timmy Dutta and Olivera each had three goals.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation's largest and most innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club, is hosting 24 tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 0 to 40 goals, Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Finals, women's weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at Grand Champions, Valiente Polo Farm and Jan Pamela Field.

Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. Its' expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.