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Newport Captures Eastern Challenge Title In Thriller; Tommy Collingwood MVP

WELLINGTON, Fla., May 20, 2024---In a thrilling finish, Newport won its third tournament of the spring polo season Sunday at windy Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

Newport (Gene Goldstein, 0, Grant Ganzi, 3, Nic Roldan, 8, Tommy Collingwood, 5) defeated SebiLion (Sebastian Mandelbaum, 0, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7), 7-6.

Newport scored only one goal in the second half but it was all they needed to win.

After Collingwood drew the foul, Newport took possession with 57 seconds left in regulation. Collingwood brought the ball from midfield and then left it for Roldan who worked his way ahead of a crowd of players for the game-winner.

Collingwood, playing an outstanding game at back, was selected Most Valuable Player. Ensenada Justa, played by Grant Ganzi and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

Born in Argentina, Collingwood grew up around horses but wasn't born into a family of polo players. Collingwood began playing polo at age seven at the Ligonier Polo Club in Pennsylvania under the guidance of the club’s polo manager, his father, Dennis Collingwood. Collingwood turned pro at age 15 and steadily climbed from low to medium goal and now high goal.

Newport led for most of the game, 2-1, 4-3, 6-4 until the sixth chukker. After two scoreless chukkers in the fourth and fifth chukkers and Newport leading, 6-5 early in the sixth chukker, Leo Mandelbaum scored the tying goal with 4:40 left. The game continued to be defensive until Roldan's heroics.

Roldan led scoring with three goals, Goldstein had two and Ganzi and Collingwood each had one goal. Pieres, Astrada and Leo Mandelbaum each had two goals.

Newport, the winningest team during the spring season adds the Eastern Challenge to  Santa Rita Abierto and Casablanca Spring Challenge titles.

Grant Ganzi and Roldan repeat as Eastern Challenge champions. In last year's final, Casablanca (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Marc Ganzi, 1, Nic Roldan, 8, Grant Ganzi, 3) edged Travieso (Michael Calle, 0, Nito Uranga, 6, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Teo Calle, 0), 8-7. Roldan was MVP.

In Friday's semifinals, Newport advanced with a 12-11 win over Santa Rita (Rebecca Cohen, 0, Jason Crowder 5, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Juan Bollini, 3). SebiLion (Jony Castillo, 0, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7) made the final with a 13-12 victory over Audi (Marc Ganzi, 1, Sugar Erskine, 6, Fred Mannix, 7, Santos Bollini, 2), 13-12, for a spot in the final.

In the subsidiary Just For The Fun Of It, Audi needed an overtime to defeat Santa Rita, 10-9 with Santos Bollini scoring the game-winner. Mannix scored the tying goal with 32 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Ganzi scored a team-high five goals. Erskine and Bollini each had two goals and Mannix added one. Crowder, playing one of his best games of the season, had a team-high five goals. Spinacci had four goals.

The spring season wraps up with the May 24-27 The Memorial.



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