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Bendabout Beats Las Monjitas 10-5 To Reach Sunday's Final Of Hall Of Fame Cup At International Polo Club Palm Beach

WELLINGTON, Florida – Boone Stribling picked a good time to score his first goals of the tournament, setting the tone early, as Bendabout defeated Las Monjitas 10-5 in a 22-goal Hall of Fame Cup semifinal polo match Wednesday at International Polo Club Palm Beach. The game featured four of the five Astrada brothers, three of whom are rated either 9 or 10 goals.

Bendabout, with 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada and 5-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada, will play the winner of today’s(Thursday) semifinal between White Birch and ERG on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Stribling scored the game’s first two goals, with a 48-second span, to give Bendabout a 3-0 lead with 5:02 left in the first chukker. Bendabout started the game ahead 1-0 as it received a goal via handicap differential.

“Our strategy was to hit-and-run and take advantage of the fast field,” said Stribling, who plays the defensive No. 4 position but aggressively on offense throughout the game. “We wanted to stretch them out. We knew they couldn’t run with us, horse-wise. We wanted to hit it to Gillian and let her pull us forward.

“We did not want to let them stop and tap the ball. Those two guys (10-goaler Javier and 9-goaler Eduardo Novillo Astrada) are good. You can’t let them dictate the game.”

Bendabout, buoyed by Stribling’s performance in the opening minutes, never trailed, and built an 8-4 halftime advantage. Las Monjitas trailed by one at the end of the first chukker and by two, 6-4, with 2:27 left in the third chukker on patron Camilo Bautista’s tap-in. But Bendabout responded with two goals in 58 seconds, a one-yard penalty shot by Miguel Novillo Astrada and a forehand by Alejandro Novillo Astrada with 10 seconds left in the first half. Las Monjitas never recovered and could not when the rain began late in the fifth chukker and continued until the end of the game. During the final minutes of the game, it was difficult to see the players on the field because of the deluge.

Las Monjitas, which scored 15 goals in its quarterfinal win, was stymied most of the game as 30-year-old Miguel and 21-year-old Alejandro won many of the battles at midfield from Eduardo, 32, and Javier, 28.

Then Stribling and Johnston took over.

“Boone and Gillian made the difference,” said Miguel. “We (Alejandro and myself) worked very hard and they scored important goals.”

“I’m most surprised that we beat them by five goals,” said Stribling. “They’re so good, they can score five goals in one chukker.”

Bendabout reached the first high-goal final of the season, losing to Catamount 13-10 in the Joe Barry Memorial.

“Reaching the final is real exciting for me because this is my last game (of the 2004 winter season) in high-goal,” said Stribling. He will be replaced by 10-goaler Adam Snow for the upcoming 26-goal tournaments.

Alejandro Novillo Astrada led Bendabout (5-0) with four goals while Miguel Novillo Astrada and Stribling scored two goals apiece while Johnston added one goal. Alejandro now has a team-high 19 goals in five games while Miguel has 18 and Johnston 11. Javier Novillo Astrada led Las Monjitas (3-2) with four goals while patron Camilo Bautista scored one. Javier finished the tournament with 28 goals in five games.

Seventeen teams entered the tournament, the largest number of entrants of any tournament during the inaugural season. The Hall of Fame Cup final is Sunday at 3 p.m. at the International Polo Club Palm Beach stadium.

The polo matches are open to the public. Tickets for the Sunday games at the International Polo Club Palm Beach are available at the gate, beginning at $10 each. For information or tickets, call (561) 204-5687 or visit the club website at

International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. From I-95, take the Forest Hill Boulevard exit and go west approximately 12 miles. Turn left onto South Shore Boulevard and go two miles. Turn left onto Pierson Road, travel about one mile and then make a right onto 120th Avenue South. The club is on the right. From Florida’s Turnpike, take Exit 93 (Lake Worth Road) and go west about six miles. Make a right onto 120th Avenue South. The club is on the left.


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