Monthly Archives: March 2015
The 20th renewal of the Polo Skins Game – first played for in 1995 – saw John Rooney’s Northern Blizzard (John Rooney 1, Joe Henderson 4, Jason Crowder 6, Herndon Radcliff 1) exhibit total and constant control over Dave Dollinger’s Los Banditos (Dave Dollinger 1, Gaston von Wernich 5, Max Menini 4, Jake Stimmel 2) by winning four out of the six chukkers. With the other two being tied – forcing two carryovers – the oilmen took home the complete haul of $30,000 ($5000 per chukker).
The cold wind started to blow very early as Northern Blizzard won the initial throw-in and moved to goal. As a result, Crowder converted an open goal opportunity to lead by one. The outlaws were able to come back with some authority and Stimmel – a bright light on an otherwise dull afternoon – counted from the field to tie the early score. However, Crowder was able to convert his second 30 yard award and the first ‘game’ was over with Rooney and his oilmen ahead by $5,000. *Northern Blizzard 2 – 1.
It appeared at the outset of the second that Los Banditos would recover as Menini scored to lead early. Not so, as the cool Canadian air continued to make its presence felt as Henderson unloaded a penalty five from center that Crowder grabbed and scored easily from 25 yards. Henderson then struck from the field and the second was over and the oilmen had another $5,000 for a total of $10,000. *Northern Blizzard 2 – 1.
The third was relatively even as neither team was able to finish much until Henderson, once again, found Crowder with a center penalty five bomb to lead by a single point – the announcer’s ‘play of the game’. Menini brought the Outlaws even as he scored his second to force the first carryover of the afternoon – the fourth would be worth $10,000. *Tie score 1 – 1.
With the carryover from the third added to the $5,000 offered in the fourth, each team had a huge opportunity – Los Banditos could draw even or Northern Blizzard could guarantee themselves a victory. It would be the latter as the invaders from the north took control from the outset. Henderson counted his second and Radcliff scored his first and the period was over and the Rooney oilmen had $20,000 in the account. *Northern Blizzard 2 – 0.
The outlaws came out strong in the early fifth chukker as Menini scored again and von Wernich got his first. Not to be denied – especially on this afternoon – Northern Blizzard reacted as Radcliff counted his second and Crowder converted his third penalty two award to force the second carryover of the day. The sixth wound be worth $10,000. * Tie score 2 – 2.
Recognizing an opportunity to strike big oil, Rooney’s team came out in the final on fire as they absolutely dominated. As such, Crowder, with help from everyone, scored three field goals and there was no question that this afternoon would see a shutout for the first time in recent Skin’s history. Menini was able to get one back in the final minute, but it mattered not as the Canadian invaders rode away with all the money available – $30,000 ($37,500 CDN). *Northern Blizzard 3 – 1.
As well as winning all the cash, Northern Blizzard dominated the overall score by a count of 12 – 6 and were awarded Richard Roenisch bronzes as a result.
Based on his dominating and relentless presence, Crowder was selected as the Most Valuable Player.
Radcliff’s third chukker mare Magnolia was chosen as the Best Playing Pony – her second such award of the season.
The WCT Qualifier, played on the ‘down’ weekend of February 28 – March 1, saw three teams on the entry docket. As such, the play would consist of a round-robin over three days.
The tournament started with Pheasant Hollow (Debra Vermoch 1, Dayelle Fargey 7, Abby Riggs 6, Megan Judge 2) facing off against the Terrifying Pony Tails (Susan Guggenheim 2, Cathy Butler 2, Isabella Wolf 5, Caroline Anier 7). In a game that was close the entire way, the Pony Tails, in what was considered to be an upset, were able to ride away with a 6 – 5 win.
With the loser staying up in a round-robin, Pheasant Hollow returned on Saturday to play Springbok (Kate Weber 4, Malia McCoy 5, Jessica Bailey 5, Andrea Brereton 1). The result of this one was never in doubt as Springbok breezed to a 6.5 – 1 win.
The third game, to be played on Sunday, would then feature the two winners from previous play. However, rain forced a postponement and the game was rescheduled for the following Tuesday. Like game two, the championship contest turned out to be rather one-sided also as Springbok controlled the entire time and earned the spoils with a 9 – 4 victory and in doing so, became the 2015 WCT Champions.
Malia McCoy was selected as the Most Valuable Player and Caroline Anier’s Nicky was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.
The weekend also featured a B and C Flight as well.
The second level also featured three teams; La Petrona (Claudia Uretz 2, Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni 3, Jennifer Alexy 4, Jillian Tiejte), Chopsticks(Lynni Hutton 1, Kit Neacy 1, Tania Paneno/Judith Baker 1, Caroline Anier 7), and Team Oz (Emma Tooth, Katayoon Ilkhanibdeh, Liz Peck 2, Dayelle Fargey 7). With rain causing problems with play, a shootout was held and La Petrona were victorious.
With three teams entered in the C Flight, round-robin play determined the winner as well. After play was completed, Media Spur (Megan Kozminski, Gale Derricott, Kim Ross, Stephanie Davidson) were the winners over Ocean Mist (Michelle Myers, Dana Bates, Brianna Heilig, Jana Elordi) and Team Oz (Emma Tooth, Kate Campbell, Heidi Clark, Joyce Pexton).
With rain preventing Sunday’s final game of the four team National Youth Tournament Series event, a coin flip was ultimately used to determine the trophy distribution between Saturday victors Coors (Hank Uretz, Joe Coors, Riley Jordan, Cassidy Wood) and Triangle Bar Farms (Rhandy Heredia, Hope Kerley, Bayne Bossom, Sayge Ellington-Lawrence) . With Triangle Bar calling tails, the coin landed and settled with heads on the upper side and as such, it was decided that the Coors team would be the recipients of the first place awards.
Saturday’s games were completed without problem as the weather didn’t come in until early Sunday morning and both were very well played and extremely entertaining – a fact not lost on the large Cantina crowd.
The first game featured Coors against Moet (Alexis Payan, Nicholas Roth, Thomas Costello, Jonathon Garnica). Moet (with a handicap award of .5) started strongly and led 3.5 – 0 after the first. However, Coors was able to scramble back to within a half after the third period and scored one in the fourth to get the win by a count of 4 – 3.5.
The second contest saw Triangle Bar take on Antelope (Grant Palmer, Aleksander Deutsch, Sydney Jordan, Trista Noland). Triangle Bar started with a half goal via the handicap system and by scoring the only goal of the final frame, were able to take the victory 5.5 – 5.
With one exception, all of the players were from Southern California and were/are involved in the junior programs of the Eldorado Polo Club, Empire Polo’s Connie Atkinson, and Central Coast Polo’s Megan Judge. The exception, and a pleasant surprise who handled himself very well, was Spokane Washington’s Ellington-Lawrence.
The All-Stars selected were; Coors, Deutsch, Ellington-Lawrence, Heredia, Payan, and Uretz.