Monthly Archives: February 2016
Chris Maloney and his Twin Palms polo team (Maloney 1, Graham Bray 3, Santiago Wulff 5, Remy Du Celliee Muller 3) showed everyone on Sunday that their successful 2016 winter season has not been a fluke as they easily rolled over Ron Mathison and Highwood (Mathison, Danny Walker 2, Marcello Rodriguez-Abbiati 5, Mariano Fassetta 5) by a final count of 10 – 5. In doing so, they won the Fish Creek Cup.
The game started rather quietly with neither team able to grab an advantage until Wulff scored from the field to give Maloney and Co. the lead going to the second period.
Bray gave Twin Palms a lead of two early in the second as he scored his first of the afternoon on a nice run from just over center. Shortly after, Fassetta got Highwood on the board with his first to reduce the lead to again one. Twin Palms then jumped right back as Bray scored again and Wulff converted a penalty two and the second was over with the double trees leading by three at 4 – 1.
The Twin Palms lead increased in the third chukker as Maloney scored on a penalty two award and Bray simply powered his way to another two goals while Highwood was able to do very little. The result was a 7 – 1 count to favor the Maloney foursome going to the Tequila Clase Azul Divot Stomp.
The second half started as did the first – quietly and stayed that way as the only goal came from Fassetta to reduce the deficit to five.
Highwood seamed to find some strength in the early fifth period as Rodriguez-Abbiati converted a sixty yard free throw and counted another from the field to reduce the difference to three. However, Wulff, with Bray running interference, scored his third of the game and the lead was again four goals. Fassetta counted his third to help the northerners going to the sixth and final trailing by three at 8 – 5.
The last chukker, however, was all Twin Palms as Highwood wasn’t able to get anything going to help themselves into contention. With Du Celliee Muller providing stalwart support, Wulff and Bray each scored from the field and the final of the Fish Creek Cup was over and Maloney and Co. had won their third tournament of the year.
Bray, due to his unyielding offensive and defensive abilities, was selected as the MVP and Dulce, owned and played by Fassetta in the second was tabbed as the Best Playing Pony.
Sunday February 14th – Valentine’s Day – was the warmest day of the year so far, but that mattered little to Canadian John Rooney as his Northern Blizzard polo team (Rooney 1, Joe Henderson 4, Dayelle Fargey 1, Jimmy Wright 1) never trailed while defeating Madelyn Cobb and her M3 aggregation (Cobb, Jared Sheldon 4, Peter Blake 3, Alonzo Cruz) to win the Eldorado Cup tournament.
With the game time temperature a crisp 91 – 20 degrees above normal – things started somewhat slowly. Wright scored the game’s first goal as he converted a penalty number two to put the Northerners in the lead, but Sheldon tied the very early count as he did the same from exactly the same spot. From the ensuing throw in, play again went to the south end and Wright converted his second open goal award to lead once again. From the next bowl in, play went to the north end for the first time as Fargey counted her first of the afternoon and Northern Blizzard now led by a pair. Sheldon – never far from the action – then scored his first from the field and chukker number one ended with the Rooney oilmen leading at 3 – 2.
The first period lead increased to two in the early second as Henderson nailed a penalty four. M3 came back and Sheldon grabbed another and Cobb scored her first on an outstanding run from just across center and the second ended tied at four.
With the game play now opening up, Rooney counted his first but Sheldon returned the favor and it was again a tie game. Fargey put Northern Blizzard in the lead for good as she finished a strong 140 yard gallop and the half was over with the oilmen leading 6 – 5.
Northern Blizzard continued to hold the edge in the fourth period as Rooney, Wright, and Henderson all scored from the field with the only reply from M3 being another great run by Cobb. The result was a lead of three in favor of the northerners at 9 – 6.
Play in the fifth chukker was pretty much even, but the Northern Blizzard lead increased to five goals on a pair of counters from Wright – one from the field and a penalty three conversion. A goal by Cruz and a penalty three counter for Sheldon brought M3 back to within three at 11 – 8 going to the sixth.
Blake brought M3 within a pair with his only goal of the game in the early sixth but Wright converted another open goal opportunity shortly after and it was over a final tally of 12 – 8 to favor Northern Blizzard. As a result, Rooney and his northern invaders held the Eldorado Cup.
The Valentine’s Day final of the 2016 Carlton and Keleen Beal Memorial Tournament featured many momentum changes, long spectacular runs, and horses – good ones and lots of them.
Chris Maloney brought his Twin Palms aggregation (Maloney 1, Graham Bray 3, Santiago Wulff 5, Remy du Celliee Muller 3) to the Sunday field for their third final of the season. On this day of love, the opposition would be supplied by Geoff Palmer and his Antelope herd (Palmer, Santiago Trotz 5, Felipe Vercellino 5, Chad Bowmen 2). This would be the second finals meeting this season for these two – Antelope winning the first in mid January.
The first started quickly as Bray grabbed an early pass and completed a spectacular 140 yard run to score for Twin Palms. Not to be outdone, Trotz and Vercellino combined on a give and go for Antelope that was capped with a Palmer open goal conversion from 25 yards. The early momentum was now with the pronghorns as Vercellino scampered to count another and then, shortly after, pounded a penalty four and the first was over with Palmer and Co. up by two at 3 – 1.
Momentum, however, can be fickle and as such can change in a hurry – and it did. Twin Palms came out for the second and were absolutely dominant with Maloney running half the field to count his first of the afternoon. Bray – again on a great rush – scored his second and Wulff followed that with his first of the game on a spectacular gallop. The second ended with the Maloney group leading by one at 4 – 3 and the energy clearly belonged to Twin Palms.
As the third period began, it was apparent that this was going to be a running game – a contest of horses – as the pronghorns grabbed the momentum back and Palmer scored his second open goal award. Vercellino kept the force going as he grabbed his third goal and Antelope now had the lead back by one. Bowman then scored from the field and Vercellino struck again and a big Antelope third frame was over and their lead was now three with a count of 7 – 4.
The fourth chukker started with Twin Palms getting one back as du Celliee Muller sent a forty yard backhander to goal that hit the right post and was eventually knocked in by a leg or an opposing player. Antelope responded with another rush and Vercellino finished it off with his second penalty four conversion and they again had a three goal advantage. However, that bulge didn’t last long as the fickle force was now in the Twin Palms camp as du Celliee Muller scored from the field. Wulff then counted a pair – one on a spectacular play from the right corner by out horsing two men – and the count was now eight each.
Chukker number five started a little differently than the previous three as the momentum did not change and Maloney scored his second goal and Twin Palms led by one. Relentless pressure on the inside by Bray led to a penalty opportunity from 30 yards that Maloney sank and the lead was now two at 10 – 8. The pronghorns were able to spring back and exert more pressure of their own and Trotz hammered a penalty four and scored from the field and the count was again tied. Bray – influential always – then scored his third and the fifth was over with the Maloney group up by one at 11 – 10.
Trotz came out for the sixth and made things happen for Antelope. The result was his third goal of the game that evened the count at eleven. Play went back and fourth as both combatants had opportunities and came away with nothing – due to great defensive play. However, with 66 seconds on the clock – and Wulff pressing – Twin Palms was awarded a free shot from 60 yards. Wulff’s effort – with complete silence everywhere – was neither high nor on the ground, but hit very hard and somehow made its way through and with the clock now running down to 30 seconds, Maloney and Twin Palms had triumphed in the extremely well played Beal Memorial by a final tally of 12 – 11.
Based on his rugged, robust, and effective play, Bray was awarded the title of MVP and Wulff’s horse Rubio – played in the sixth – was chosen as the Best Playing Pony. Palmer – because of his aggressive defensive play – was selected as the Most Valuable Sponsor of the tournament.
Unknown to many, the final weekend of each month’s very successful Pro Pool tournaments – played January, February, and March – features bronze trophies for the winners. As well, all pro pool final games are played in front of the Cantina on Sunday mornings at 10 o’clock. With each game played in a tournament format and with prizes on the line for every final the competion is intense and the month end awards seem to add to the energy.
January’s final saw Desert Hay (Jared Sheldon – pro, Jenny Gonzalez, Murray Farmer/Susan Guggenheim, Joe Coors) line up against Leisure Society (Max Menini – pro, Shane Baum, Jacob Pechenik, Carol Hemker) in front of a very enthusiastic breakfast group.
The early lead for the first month’s sought after pieces belonged to Desert Hay but Leisure Society – with teamwork to back each other up – turned it around and came back to not only tie but to move on and win by a count of 5 – 3. Scoring for Leisure Society was spread throughout (the pros can’t score) as Pechenik counted three, and Baum and Hemker scored one each. Coors, Farmer, and Guggenheim scored singles for Desert Hay.
After five games had been played in the 7 Goal Coachella Valley Cup tournament, Champ Roth’s Domrey (Roth, Joseph Stuart 4, Dayelle Fargey 1, Doug Blumenthal 2) and Debra Vermoch’s Pheasant Hollow (Vermoch -1, Tim Rudy 3, Jessica Bailey 1, Sterling Giannico 4) were alone at the top and already qualified for the final with identical records of five wins and zero losses with one game left to play and with the next best having just three wins. These two entries would then play each other on Saturday and the result wouldn’t matter with respect to their plans for Sunday – they were both booked in.
With that in mind, the Saturday contest was, in reality, a practice and a chance to prepare – albeit in full view of each other. On the surface it appeared to most watching that Pheasant Hollow made more of the opportunity than did Domrey as they opened up just a little while Roth and Co. took it much, much easier. As a result, the pundits felt that the Vermoch group was better prepared and would have the upper hand in the upcoming final. As it turned out, the so-called experts were wrong – very wrong.
The game started out quickly and it was Domrey dealing the early blow as pressure from the initial throw-in lead to a perfect penalty 4 conversion from Stuart. Not phased, Pheasant Hollow was able to come right back as Giannico scored on a nice run. Blumenthal completed a run of his own to give Domrey the lead back and Stuart grabbed a quick pass from the ensuing line-up and ran alone to his second counter and it was now Domrey by two at 3 – 1. Once again Pheasant Hollow responded and Giannico was able to covert a 30 yard free-throw and the first was over with Domrey on top at 3 – 2.
The early second was all Domrey as Stuart, fed by precise passing from throw-ins, scored a pair from the field and an early trend was appearing – Stuart was alone and running free. Again, Pheasant Hollow was able to come back and apply some pressure and Giannico was afforded another penalty two award which he converted and the second was over with the Roth group up by a pair at 5 – 3.
Chukker number three saw Domrey exert more pressure as Stuart nailed another penalty four and then, from the resulting throw-in, he ran to goal – alone again – to extend the lead to four. Pheasant Hollow was again able to respond somewhat as Giannico converted a penalty two and the half was over with the lead extended to three at 7 – 4.
At the half, the aforementioned ‘experts’ – and there were many – quickly pointed out that Pheasant Hollow would come back. As much as these authorities wanted to believe, or say, it didn’t happen – not even close as the fourth period was absolutely all Domrey. The onslaught started with Stuart, again, receiving precise setups from the lineup and simply running to goal. With this continuing occurrence, Stuart scored three more times and it was now a six goal game. Blumenthal added to the equation with a goal and the lead was now seven. Giannico, for the fourth time, converted a penalty two toward the end of the period and the fourth ended with Roth and Co. leading at 11 – 5.
As the fifth stanza started, it was obvious that Domrey wasn’t done – not even close. Stuart – as if to prove a point – again grabbed a pass from the lineup and ran by himself to score. The Bay Area pressure continued as he converted his third free-throw (a penalty two) and the lead became eight goals. Fargey then counted another for the leaders and with little time left in the penultimate frame it was over. Rudy was able to score his first of the afternoon and the count was now 14 – 6 for the Roth group with one to play.
With Pheasant Hollow needing to outscore Domrey by eight goals – just to tie – in the final frame, Roth and his champions to be simply relaxed and let Pheasant Hollow have a free rein. At that point, Rudy scored twice, Bailey counted one, Giannico added another, and Rhandy Heredia scored his first in the show as he filled in for an injured – in the fifth – Vermoch and the final count was 14 – 11. As a result and as the pundits tore up metaphoric mutual tickets, August Roth was once again a Champ as he hoisted the Coachella Valley 7 Goal Trophy.
Because of his unrelenting pressure in the line-ups and his ability to continuously move balls out to Stuart, Roth was picked as the Leisure Society MVP.
Stuart’s mare Doctora – played in the Domrey controlled fourth – went back to the farm wearing the Best Playing Pony blanket.
On a rather blustery Sunday afternoon that featured sunshine, wind, rain, more sunshine, more rain, and then more wind, Chris Maloney led his Twin Palms 12 goal team (Maloney 1, Graham Bray 3, Santiago Wulff 5, Remy du Celliee Muller 3) to a convincing 9 – 5 victory over pro pool graduate Ryan Robertson and his Bush League aggregation (Robertson, Jason Crowder 6, Ulysses Escapite 4, Matthew Walker 2).
In a harbinger of things to come, Twin Palms started quickly as Maloney opened the scoring by converting a penalty number three. The early pressure continued and Maloney scored his second of the contest from the field and the first was over with Twin Palms leading 2 – 0.
The success of period number one continued in the early second as Maloney was allowed another 40 yard free shot that he easily made and his lead was now three. Bush League came back later in the frame with Jason Crowder counting a field goal and the second was over with Twin Palms continuing to lead at 3 – 1.
Rain started to fall in the third chukker and Maloney and Co. continued to hassle Bush League as du Celliee Muller scored and Maloney notched his third penalty three to now lead by five. Bush League came back somewhat as Crowder converted a penalty two attempt and Escapite scored from the field and the half was over with Twin Palms again leading by two at 5 – 3.
Halftime saw the rain subside and with the wind increasing footing wasn’t really a concern as Maloney scored his fifth goal on an aggressive move in the middle of a goal mouth scramble. Escapite grabbed his second of the afternoon for the Bush Leaguers and the fourth was over with Twin Palms leading again by two at 6 – 4.
Perhaps tiring of leading by two goals after each frame, Twin Palms jumped out in the rainy fifth period and controlled throughout allowing Wulff to score twice to nothing for the Robertson crew. As a result, the lead was now four at 8 – 4.
The sixth started with the rain once again gone, the sunshine back, and those in attendance snapping pictures of polo in the sunshine with a background of an extremely picturesque rainbow to the east. However, the beauty of the late afternoon didn’t change anything on the field of play as the wind reached difficult levels and each team was able to score but one goal each – Bray for Twin Palms and Crowder for Bush League – and it was over with a final count of 9 – 5. As a result, Maloney and his Twin Palms group had won the 12 Goal Coachella Valley Cup.
Based on his very aggressive and inspiring play, Maloney was selected as the Leisure Society MVP and Parka, owned by and played by Wulff in the fourth was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.