Monthly Archives: January 2015
Jenny Lutterell-Benardoni’s Cotterel Farms 6 Goal polo team had reached the final of the January Tournament on back to back occasions – 2014 and this year. The 2014 result was a rather easy victory before a trip to the presentation platform to accept the Richard Roenisch Bronzes. The result last Sunday was, once again, a trip to the platform to get the Bronzes, but the road to victory was a little different – although it didn’t appear so at the start.
The 2015 Cotterel Team (Jenny Lutterell-Benardoni, Francisco Benardoni 1,Igancio Saracco 3, Charlie Petersen 2) was pretty much the same line-up as one year ago with the only change being Petersen lining up instead of Danny Walker. The opposition this time would be Ron and Krista Bonaguidi’s Hanalei Bay (Ron Bonaguidi, Krista Bonaguidi -1, Jared Sheldon 4, Diego Velarde 3) who had not only earned the first seed for the semi-finals but had also defeated Cotterel in bracket play.
The start was much the same as the final one year ago as Cotterel jumped out to a quick lead with Saracco and Petersen striking from the field and Saracco connecting on an open goal opportunity to lead by three. Ron Bonaguidi got one back on an alert move in front of the goal, but Lutterell-Benardoni – playing with discipline and confidence – got that back on a terrific run. Velarde scored late in the period for the surfers and the first ended with the farmers up by a pair at 4 – 2.
Hanalei Bay recovered in the second as Sheldon scored the only goal of the frame and the early lead was now just one.
The prevailing thought was that Hanalei Bay would take the lead in the third. Made sense as they pretty much controlled the second – wrong. Cotterel came out and absolutely dominated the chukker as Petersen and Saracco counted from the field and Saracco converted his second penalty two attempt to go to the half with a lead of four at 7 – 3.
The trend continued in the early fourth as Cotterel pressure gave Saracco a penalty six opportunity that he made look easy and the farmers now lead by a healthy five goals. However, Hanalei Bay had come from behind in their semi-final game to reach the final and it now seamed possible that it might happen again as Sheldon and Velarde took control and each scored from the field. The fourth was over and the surfers were seemingly back in it trailing by three at 8 – 5.
The Hanalei comeback didn’t continue in the fifth as Saracco grabbed the only goal of the stanza to quell any idea that Cotterel was finished. As a result, the lead was once again four going to the final and all talk was of an easy Cotterel victory.
Hanalei Bay wasn’t done though and the sixth period was all Hawaii as Sheldon took control and organized a very precise attack. He was rewarded with an open goal opportunity (converted) and set up goals by both Velarde and Ron Bonaguidi to bring the difference to just one goal with just over two minutes remaining and it looked as if the farmers might be done. Done that is, if they were to lose another throw-in – something Saracco was not about to let happen as he found a way to turn things around and take the play the other way. With Hanalei Bay needing one more to tie and willing to take a chance to get it, Saracco was given a thirty yard free-throw which he sunk and it was over. Cotterel Farms took the spoils by a final count of 10 – 8 and became repeat winners of the January 6 Goal Tournament and once again recipients of the coveted bronzes.
Based on his thoughtful and exceptional play on the afternoon, Saracco was chosen as the Most Valuable Player and Sheldon’s mare, Happy, played in the second and fourth periods, was selected as the Best Playing Pony.
It was written here two weeks ago about the wind from the north that blew in on an otherwise sunny January afternoon and cooled things off somewhat. That hadn’t changed on Sunday as John Rooney’s Northern Blizzard polo team (Joe Henderson 4, Jason Crowder 6, Herndon Radcliff 1, Jim Wright 1,sub for Rooney) blew in once again and absolutely covered Jenny Lutterell-Benardoni’s Cotterel Farms group (Jenny Lutterell-Benardoni, Ruben Coscia 5, Juan Curbello 5, Charlie Petersen 2) to win the January 12 Goal Tournament final by a count of 13 – 8.
At the start, everything appeared fine as Curbelo quickly ran and scored from the opening to give Cotterel a short lived lead. It wasn’t fine however, as the weather changed in a hurry. The wind blew and the blizzard was on – again. Crowder took over and easily scored a pair and the first was over with the Rooney quartet leading by one at 2 – 1.
The storm reached its peak in the second as Northern Blizzard counted five field goals (Crowder with four and Henderson grabbing one) and the reply from Cotterel was zero to create a score of 7 – 1.
The early third period was once again controlled by the northern invaders as Crowder ran easily to count one more. Coscia responded to get one back for Cotterel, but Crowder responded to that with a long run to score – the winner as it turned out – and the difference was once again seven goals. Coscia – as steady as they come – scored a pair and the blustery half was over with Northern Blizzard leading at 9 – 4.
The fourth was rather quiet as each team scored but one goal. For Cotterel, Lutterell-Benardoni, scored her first of two, with a reply coming from Crowder. At the end of four, it was 10 – 5 Northern Blizzard.
The wind picked up again in the fifth chukker as Crowder continued to run and impress with a pair from the field and a safety conversion from 66 yards and the tally was now 13 – 5 to favor the Rooney group.
The storm was over in the sixth as Cotterel was able to find the net three times – Lutterell-Benardoni with her second, Curbelo with his second, and Coscia with his fourth and it was over. The snow that was Northern Blizzard now covered the fields of Cotterel Farms. The result gave the Canadian sponsored team not only the title but the coveted Roenisch Bronzes that go along with it.
With his “nose in every play”, and scoring 12 goals on the afternoon, Crowder was the obvious choice as the Most Valuable Player and his second chukker mare, Lucy, was selected as the Best Playing Pony.
A blizzard is defined as a severe snowstorm with a strong wind and while it didn’t snow on Sunday and it wasn’t windy, a blizzard certainly struck during the afternoon as John Rooney’s Northern Blizzard blew in and absolutely froze Geoff Palmer’s Antelope – with Pat Nesbitt substituting for Palmer – in the final of the Wendell Kerley Memorial 12 Goal.
The storm struck without warning and the intensity was felt at the start as the Canadian invaders immediately moved the ball from the initial throw-in and grabbed a penalty two from 11 yards that Rooney easily converted. The initial strength continued as Jason Crowder absolutely pounded a free throw from 60 yards and the advantage was two with less than two minutes elapsed. Crowder scored a field goal a short time later and Joe Henderson scored to increase the difference to four. The pronghorns recovered and applied some pressure of their own that enabled Danny Walker to score on a spot award from 15 yards and the first was over with Rooney and Co. leading by a count of 4 – 1.
The bad weather subsided somewhat in the second as Northern Blizzard scored but one time – an alert move by Herndon Radcliff on a dropped Antelope ball. However, a reply from the pronghorns was nonexistent and the second was over with lead now four goals at 5 – 1.
If people thought the storm was over, they were most certainly incorrect, as it found new energy – something Rooney is very good at doing – as the oilman himself grabbed a goal from the field in the third and Radcliff scored a pair. Antelope had opportunities but were unable to get anything done and the half was over with a count of 8 – 1.
Antelope was able to find some shelter at the half and kept the Northern Blizzard of the scoreboard in the fourth but were unable to score themselves and the difference remained seven going to the fifth.
Antelope started to dig themselves out in the penultimate frame as Walker counted one from the field and converted a 30 yard free shot as well. Radcliff replied for Northern Blizzard – a pretty run of 200 yards – and the lead was six at 9 – 3.
The storm was over in the final period as Walker converted a pair of 30 yarders and Jesse Bray grabbed one from the field for the pronghorns. At this point however, they were hopelessly covered in snow and the Northern Blizzard had prevailed by a final score of 9 – 6 and Rooney and his Northern Blizzard teammates rode off with the coveted Chris Kerley spurs.
2015 Wendell Kerley Memorial
Northern Blizzard (12) – John Rooney 1, Joe Henderson 4, Jason Crowder 6, Herndon Radcliff 1.
Antelope (12) – Pat Nesbitt (sub for Geoff Palmer), Danny Walker 2, Santiago Trotz 5, Jesse Bray 5.
The first Sunday of the 2015 season turned out to be a great success with a large crowd and a strong presence by Desert Lexus who came to polo with a wonderful selection of Lexus automobiles. In honor of their participation, the two o’clock game was contested as the Desert Lexus Challenge.
The game featured Desert Lexus (John Rooney 1, Joe Henderson 4, Jason Crowder 6, Herndon Radcliff 1) going up against Twin Palms (Chris Maloney 1, Craig Steinke 1, Graham Bray 4, Mariano Fassetta 6). In a somewhat low scoring affair – certainly not indicative of the interest in the Lexus automobiles – Desert Lexus came out on top by a score of 5 – 3.
The start was slow for both teams as the first period ended with no score.
Crowder grabbed one from the field early in the second but Maloney converted a penalty two to tie a short time later. Lexus came back quickly and a Twin Palms foul afforded Henderson a penalty five opportunity from 110 yards and right that he easily sunk – the announcer’s shot of the day – and the chukker ended with Lexus up by one.
The third belonged to Twin Palms as Bray scored from the field to end the half with a tie at two apiece.
The fourth period was split with a goal each – Fassetta a field counter for Twin Palms and Jason Crowder a text book penalty four strike.
As the penultimate frame commenced, the temperature started to drop and the sky turned a rather wintery gray. Lexus reacted as if seemingly a northern blizzard intent on covering Twin Palms. Indeed, Henderson and Crowder scored field goals to cover the palms and it was 5 – 3 in favor of Lexus. With no scoring in the final frame, Lexus had won the Desert Lexus Challenge.
The presentation to the victors was made by Desert Lexus General Manager, Ed Atwood and General Sales Manager Gabriele Marshall.