Organization and management.

Those two variables played a critical role in the outcome of Saturday afternoon’s victory for Derry Heir as they made a number of subtle adjustments in the second half to defeat Blackberg/Good Thunder 10-9 in the New Bridge Spring 8-goal Classic.

Blackberg/Good Thunder opened the scoring with the game’s first two goals coming off the mallet of Marcos Onetto. The intuitive instincts of the Onetto brothers created a host of offensive opportunities for Blackberg/Good Thunder.

This wasn’t a game where players who came into possession of the ball found themselves fretting, searching for a teammate in vain, in the hope of starting a series of plays that would eventually lead to a scoring chance. Derry Heir’s Eddy Martinez responded with what would be the first of his seven goals in the contest.

But, it was Blackberg/Good Thunder’s Bill Patterson and Derek Berg, whose defense and willingness to jump into the play to make things happen, helped to create scoring chances for the Onetto brothers, as they each managed a goal in the second chukker, providing Blackberg/Good Thunder with a one goal advantage after the game’s first 15 minutes. However, Derry Heir’s Craig Fraser answered from the field, and Eddy Martinez scored on a 30-yard penalty shot, during the period.

The game’s intensity continued to build, with both teams putting up a fight in the third chukker, and the Onetto brothers continued their relentless offensive attack, with Marcos adding two goals. Derry Heir was more than up to the challenge as Bob Donahey scored from the field, and Eddy Martinez would successfully convert another penalty no. 2, leaving Blackberg/Good Thunder with a one goal advantage going into the half.

However, after falling behind by two goals early in the 4th chukker, as the result of a Blackberg/Good Thunder goal from the field by Horacio Onetto, the momentum would change altering the storyline of the game significantly. Derry Heir responded with three goals from the field, one from Fraser, and two more from Eddy Martinez.

“You find yourself having to make adjustments, and you try to execute the plays,” said Martinez, regarding Derry Heir’s turn of fortune in the fourth chukker.

Derry Heir seemed poised to head into the final chukkers with ample momentum, but Blackberg/Good Thunder would tie the game at 8-8 on a goal by Horacio Onetto. However, it was Martinez successfully converting another penalty shot to give Derry Heir a one goal advantage.

“Lately, I’ve been feeling very good physically,” said Martinez. “I want my mallet to do the talking for me.”

But, if you ask Martinez, it’s his string of horses that play the key role in his success, and after Blackberg/Good Thunder tied the game in the final chukker, it would be the collective energy of the Derry Heir roster creating scoring opportunities as they more than stood up to the pressure of a very hungry Blackberg/Good Thunder team. The game winner was scored on a 60-yard penalty shot, hammered through with precision by Martinez, with 1:34 remaining in the period.

“I have 24 horses in work in Aiken,” said Martinez. “So, they need to earn their keep. I’m earning mine, so they need to earn theirs. The horses look good, and they’re prepared. I’d like to be playing three games a day. The horses are only playing one chukker a game, and I don’t double up.”