Monthly Archives: February 2015
Having come through the February 6 Goal preliminary play undefeated, it appeared that Gery Warner and Jennifer Alexy’s Tentnology/Luna polo team (Gery Warner, Jennifer Alexy, Nicolas Maciel 4, Diego Larregli 2) had erected a winning combination. That, however, was most certainly not the opinion of Virgil Kyle and Ryan Robertson whose Bush League group ( Virgil Kyle, Ryan Robertson, Ashton Wolf 3, Carlitos Galindo 3) arrived at the final with only one loss – almost perfect. Not bad for a couple of guys who, just 11 months ago, were playing in the very successful Eldorado Pro Pool – with Alexy as their teammate.
From the start, and with Warner’s son Dylan stepping in for his father, Tentnology/Luna took control that gave Maciel free-throw opportunities that he easily converted – one a well hit number four and then an open goal strike – to give the tent makers a lead of two after one. The low score was not indicative of the play.
While the somewhat overpowering start for Tentnology/Luna might have discouraged Bush League, it didn’t as they came out for the second and gave the erectors all they could handle. Kyle, on a perfect set-up from Wolf ran 220 yards to complete a perfect play and the lead was just one. With constant pressure, the Kyle and Robertson group were awarded a penalty three opportunity that Galindo converted and the count was now even. Toward the end of the period, Alexy scored and the second was over with Tentnology up by one at 3 – 2.
Wolf brought Bush League even early in the third with a counter from the field but, once again, pressure from Tentnology/Luna gave Maciel another open goal opportunity that he easily converted and the one goal lead was back to end the half at 4 – 3.
Bush League came back in the fourth as Galindo scored from the field and, once again, the count was even, but Larregli grabbed his first of the day and the tent makers led again by one going to number five at 5 – 4.
Maciel took over in the penultimate frame and the result was a goal by Larregli and another open goal counter from Maciel himself. Tentnology/Luna now led by three at 7 – 4 and it appeared to be over.
From the start of the sixth, it was very obvious that it wasn’t over as Bush League responded with quick and accurate force. Kyle scored his second and Galindo struck from the field as well and the lead was once again just one at 7 – 6. The Bush League pressure became relentless as they continued to push toward the goal to come very close once again as the horn sounded to indicate 30 seconds remaining. Maciel was able to get control 10 yards out and fired a shot toward the boards that wasn’t strong enough. Warner, with a great move to back-up his team-mate, was able to get the ball out of bounds and it appeared to be over. Not quite however, as his contact was correctly deemed to be too forceful and Bush League was awarded a penalty four opportunity. With the clock set at five seconds, Galindo stepped up and absolutely nailed the shot and it was on to overtime and at seven each, the next goal would be O so nice.
Having done little in the sixth period, Tentnology/Luna managed to recover in the extra time as Maciel did what he does best – control the play. Moving toward the Bush League goal, Maciel and Larregli combined to get within 90 yards before being stopped and it would be Alexy’s play to keep it moving. Going to the ball, she too was ridden off but was able to stop, turn, and get back to make an exceptional pass to Maciel and that was it. The final tally was 8 – 7 as Tentnology/Luna had it covered and the Roenisch Bronzes were theirs.
Alexy was chosen as the MVP and Angie, owned by Gery Warner and played by Maciel in the fifth chukker, was selected as the Best Playing Pony.
The February 12 Goal Tournament final, played on a rather windy and coolish Sunday afternoon, featured Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni’s Cotterel Farms (Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni, Ruben Coscia 5, Juan Curbelo 5, Charlie Petersen 2) and Carole Lesine’s Edelweiss ( Carole Lessine, Martin Donovan 5, Ulysses Escapite 4, Enrique Zavaleta 3). For Cotterel, it was their second final of 2015 and for Edelweiss, it was their first ever Eldorado final – a well earned berth by virtue of a perfect 3 – 0 record with three overtimes needed to get there.
The first period started rather slowly as both teams seemed hesitant to make any bold moves. In spite of that, Curbelo did break free with a nice run to score the first goal of the contest and Donovan replied with an equally impressive tally to the same goal to tie the count at one apiece. Curbelo was able to count another toward the end and the otherwise very quiet opener ended with the farmers leading by one.
The pace was slow in the second as well and Edelweiss was able to take advantage to score a pair – Donovan with a penalty three conversion and a field goal – and at the same time keep the farmers off the scoreboard. The result was a one goal Swiss lead going to the third.
Whatever the reason, that third chukker was rather subdued as well. The only goal came off the mallet of Peterson from the field and the first half was over with the board showing a tie at three each.
The mountaineers came out in the fourth and scored quickly to grab a lead of one on an alert effort in front of the goal by Zavaleta. The farmers were fast to reply however and strong and sustained pressure led to three penalty conversions by Coscia – two number three’s and a safety – and a faster fourth was over with Cotterel up by a pair at 6 – 4.
Donovan brought Edelweiss to within one on a counter from the field midway through the fifth, but the farmers responded with a strong effort once again and Coscia, from the field, was able to get that back and then counted another number three to end the frame. The count was now 8 – 5 in favor of Cotterel and they were in comfortable control.
Curbelo finished another nice run early in the final and it was apparent at this point that the farmers were going to carry home the first place Richard Roenisch Bronzes. A little later, Escapite completed the scoring and the final count was 9 – 6 in favor of Cotterel.
Curbelo was selected as the Most Valuable Player and Pretty, Zavaleta’s sixth period mare, was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.
The final game of the 6 Goal Carlton and Keleen Beal Memorial Cup brought the same competitors to the field as competed in the January League final – Jenny Lutterell-Benardoni’s Cotterel Farms (Lutterell-Benardoni, Francisco Benardoni 1, Ignacio Saracco 3, Charlie Petersen 2) and Ron Bonaguidi’s Hanalei Bay (Ron Bonaguidi, Krista Bonaguidi -1, Jared Sheldon 4, Diego Velarde 3). The final result of this second meeting between the pair turned out to be the same as the first when the farmers started strong but barely hung on at the end to grab the win. The second would be a little different however as Cotterel pretty much dominated throughout and won easily.
With Aleksander Deutsch substituting for Ron Bonaguidi, Hanalei Bay got off to a very quick start as Velarde scored two easy field goals to give the surfers a lead of two after the first period. The prevailing thought was that this patteren would continue into the second and beyond – didn’t happen.
Cotterel came out in the second and jumped all over the Hawaiians early with sustained pressure. Pressure that allowed Saracco to convert a penalty six from 70 yards to trail by just one. However, Velarde, with aggressive play, scored another from the field and the assumption was that the surfers couldn’t be stopped. That assumption was wrong however, as Cotterel took over and controlled the balance of the chukker. Benardoni and Petersen counted from the field and Saracco converted another penalty six and the farmers led by one after two with a count of 4 – 3.
With the first controlled by Hanalei Bay and the second by Cotterel Farms, the third was even with not a goal scored.
The fourth period was, for the most part, controlled by Lutterell-Benardoni and Co. but all they had to show was one goal – a field strike by Saracco. Nonetheless, their lead was now a pair at 5 – 3.
Sheldon got his first of the game in the early going of the fifth to bring Hanalei Bay to within one but that was, for the most part, it for the surfers as the farmers took over and dominated the rest of the period. Benardoni got his second and Saracco converted an open goal award and scored from the field as well and the count was now 8 – 4 favoring Cotterel.
The final frame was completely unlike the previous meeting where Hanalei Bay romped the entire time. This time there would be no comeback as Petersen, playing a very strong and effective style, scored a pair of field goals before the surfers could respond with anything at all. The response was an open goal conversion by Sheldon to make the difference five goals but it was now very apparent that this would be Cotterel Farms’ second 2015 tournament championship. Benardoni then scored another to increase the lead to six and Sheldon, in the last 30 seconds and with almost everyone shaking hands, nailed a 130 yard neck shot to score and finalize the count at 11 – 6.
As a result of his aggressive and effective play throughout, Petersen was chosen as the Most Valuable Player and Sheldon’s gelding Sports Center (1st and 6th) was selected as the Best Playing Pony.
When John Rooney made the decision to get into the oil business, some 20 years ago, he was well aware that it would require crunching the numbers, putting the right people together, and going after the ultimate prize. It goes without question that he did things correctly. It’s much the same in polo – calculate the handicaps, select players based on those numbers and compatibility, and play. To this point in the 2015 season, it appears that the Calgarian’s success on the polo field has paralleled his success in the oil patch as his Northern Blizzard polo team has won all three 12 Goal tournaments played to this point in the season – the most recent being a victory in the Carlton and Keleen Beal Memorial.
The Beal final, a repeat of the Kerley Memorial decider, saw the Rooney oilmen (John Rooney 1, Joe Henderson 4, Jason Crowder 6, Herndon Radcliff 1) lineup against Geoff Palmer and his Antelope foursome (Geoff Palmer, Danny Walker 2, Santiago Trotz 5, Jesse Bray 5.
The start was all Antelope as Trotz and Walker scored easily in the very early going. Northern Blizzard came back late as Crowder grabbed a penalty four opportunity and the first ended with the pronghorns up by one at 2 – 1.
Northern Blizzard got even early in the second as Rooney converted his first of five open goal attempts. Antelope responded however, as Trotz and Bray each scored a field goal and the count was 4 – 2 in favor of Antelope after two.
The explorers really got going in the third as Rooney converted a penalty two chance and Crowder scored from the field while at the same time shutting down Antelope. The half ended with the tally at four apiece.
The momentum stayed with oilmen into the fourth as Henderson scored a pair – one as a result of a spectacular pass from Rooney from far right – and they now led for the first time. Trotz was able to get one back for the pronghorns but constant pressure from the northern invaders gave Rooney another open goal attempt – which he converted – and the period ended with Northern Blizzard ahead by two at 7 – 5.
The fifth was split with two for each team. Rooney converted two more open goal attempts and Trotz and Bray replied for Palmer and Co. to end the fifth with the count at 9 – 7 to favor the oilers.
To start the sixth, Rooney scored his first field goal and the lead was now three. However, Antelope closed to within one mid-way through the finale – a Walker field goal and a penalty four bomb by Bray – to make it interesting. That interest was short-lived however as Rooney again perfectly fed Henderson for a goal and then scored another himself to end it at 12 – 9 in his favor. With the win, the Rooney sponsored Northern Blizzard served notice that they are for real and without doubt will be looking to find more oil before the season ends.
Based on his superb play throughout – seven goals and perfect from the free-throw line – it was no surprise that Rooney earned MVP honors and Magnolia (fourth chukker), owned and played by Radcliff in a strong supporting effort, was selected as the Best Playing Pony.