Monthly Archives: April 2013
The Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup has returned to the United States. With the coveted trophy travelling to Canada for the past three years, courtesy Reg Whyte in 2010, Pat Powell in 2011, and Cam Clark just one year ago, Whyte and his (this time) Thermal polo team wanted to keep it in the ‘frozen white north’. Having had a very successful winter season, it seemed very plausible that Whyte and his Cochrane, Alberta farmhands, Fergus Gould, Nicolas Maciel, and Emma Stachowicz could do just that.
However, Madelyn Cobb knows a few things about farming as well and the recent Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Animal Science graduate had ideas of her own as she assembled an extremely talented Coldwell Banker Menlo group – Joseph Stuart, Jared Sheldon, and Conrad Kissling – to not only win the tournament, but bring the trophy back to the south country.
As it turned out, the final came down to the pair described above – Whyte’s Thermal vs Cobb’s Coldwell Banker Menlo – in an Easter Sunday showdown.
In front of a full clubhouse, a jammed berm, and a full on party on the east side on a perfect afternoon for polo, Thermal started quickly and as a result of early pressure, Maciel converted a penalty two from the spot to grab a lead of one. Coldwell Banker came back quickly with pressure of their own and Sheldon deflected a Stuart penalty attempt from 60 yards and it was tied, just like that, at one each. Thermal came back just as quickly however as Maciel converted his second open attempt of the day and the first was over with Whyte and his hired hands up by one at 2 – 1.
It was obvious at the start of the second that the Cobb group remained focused on the mission as early pressure was rewarded as Sheldon converted a penalty two to tie things at two. Thermal didn’t lay down and pushed back to be rewarded with another Maciel opportunity from 40 yards (converted) to, once again, lead by one. Maciel was able to score another (from the field) and Thermal was making hay. Stuart, however, was obviously not impressed as he absolutely pounded a penalty four to end the half with the Thermal lead, once again, just one at 4 – 3.
With ten minutes to talk things over, it was extremely obvious that Coldwell Banker used that time very well, as they came out in the third period and absolutely controlled everything. Kissling scored on a tap-in after a remarkable 100 yard under the neck set-up from Stuart who then destroyed another penalty four, and Sheldon was unstoppable as he scored twice from the field and Cobb and Co. now led for the first time in the game. Thermal got close with two more open goal conversions by Maciel but the third was over with a Coldwell Banker lead at 7 – 6.
In spite of giving up the pair of free-throws toward the end of the third, the Cobb group didn’t lose the momentum they had earlier as Stuart scored two more from the field and the lead was now three. Thermal got one more as Gould nailed a penalty six toward the end but that was it and Cobb and Coldwell Banker Menlo not only had won the 2013 Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup, but they had reclaimed the trophy.
Stuart, based on his very underrated ability and strength was the obvious choice as the MVP and Sheldon’s mare Cheeky was selected as the Best Playing Pony.
2013 Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup
Coldwell Banker Menlo (6) – Madelyn Cobb, Joseph Stuart 3, Jared Sheldon 3, Conrad Kissling.
Thermal (6) – Reg Whyte, Emma Stachowicz -1, Fergus Gould 4, Nicolas Maciel 3.
Although the overall score is no indication, Ben Soleimani’s Mansour polo team defeated Ron Mathison’s Highwood group by a total count of $20,000 to $4,000 in the 2013 Polo Skins Game on an absolutely perfect Easter Sunday afternoon in sunny Southern California. While the game score favored Mansour by just one at 13 – 12, two carryover victories for the rug people created the very wide financial gap.
Highwood entered the tournament with almost the same line up as 2012 – the winner of Mathison’s second straight Skins title. The only change was inserting Jake Stimmel to replace Jared Sheldon, whose handicap was raised. However, the team that played Sunday was much different than the one that started the tournament in early March. Marcello Rodriguez-Abbiati and Santiago Trotz played the entire month, but Mathison fractured his right shoulder in game one – scoring twice after the injury – and Jake Stimmel was hurt in a fall in the semi-final. As a result, the Canadian entry for Sunday’s final saw Scotty Cunningham and Doug Blumenthal step in to replace the injured players.
Mansour was able to show up on Sunday with almost the same team that started in early February – Soleimani, Santiago Wulff, and Santiago Von Wernich, with the only change being Patrick Uretz coming in for Remy Muller for March – and were able to play the entire Skins tournament intact.
Highwood started the first with a lightning like attack that saw Cunningham and Trotz score off the first two throw-ins. However, Wulff and Von Wernich responded with two quick counters of their own that tied the count at two. Cunningham grabbed another, but Soleimani ran one from 100 yards out and the first ended tied at three to create the first carryover of the afternoon.
Playing for $8,000 in the second saw Mansour jump out to a lead of two as Wulff and Von Wernich each scored again. A single goal by Highwood’s Trotz wasn’t enough and the Soleimani salesmen took the money out of the second ‘skin’.
The momentum that Mansour owned in the second carried over into the third chukker as Wulff counted twice and Uretz and Von Wernich scored once each to just an open goal conversion by Trotz and the third money of $4,000 was Mansours. At the half it was Mansour $12,000 and Highwood $0.
The strength that Mansour showed in the third was transferred to Highwood in the fourth as they responded in a large way. Trotz converted an open goal opportuity, scored two penalty fours, and along with one from Cunningham, scored from the field to lead by five. A single reply from Von Wernich was all that Mansour could muster and the $4,000 belonged to the Canadian team.
After two explosive chukkers, the fifth was rather quiet with just a pair of goals scored. Wulff for Mansour and Trotz for Highwood which created a carryover to the sixth where they would play for, once again, $8,000.
With a chance to win by a very large amout of cash, Mansour stormed out at the start of the final period as Wulff scored twice to lead early. Strong defensive play prevented Highwood from doing much to get even. Trotz scored another but that would be it and Soleimani and Co. had won the 19th annual contest by a staggering amount – in spite of the overall game count.
Von Wernich was selected as the MVP and Wulff’s mare, Ji Ji, was fitted with the Best Playing Pony blanket.
2013 Polo Skins Game
Mansour (12) – Ben Soleimani, Santiago Wulff 5, Santiago Von Wernich 5, Patrick Uretz 2.
Highwood (12) – Scotty Cunningham (replace inj. Ron Mathison), Doug Blumenthal (replace inj. Jake Stimmel) 2, Marcello Rodriquez-Abbiati 5, Santiago Trotz 5.