Bush League/FMB Turn Around to Win Officer’s Cup0

Posted on January 28th, 2019 in News, Uncategorized

The start of the first January 8 Goal Tournament (Jason Memorial) did not go well for the Bush League/Farmers and Merchants Bank entry (Virgil Kyle, Danny Walker 2, Henry Walker 2, Ulysses Escapite 4) as they finished at the bottom.

Of course, the early season can be somewhat difficult as players who haven’t played together become accustomed to each other and horses haven’t reached midseason form. Whatever the reason was for the new combination’s issues, they were mitigated for the second tournament – the USPA Coachella Valley Officer’s Cup.

The final, played on an absolutely perfect afternoon with a temperature of 77 degrees and in front of a large crowd, would feature the rejuvenated group and undefeated Antelope (Geoff Palmer, Grant Palmer, Santiago Trotz 5, Jimmy Wright 3). The pronghorns, however, were the team that Bush League/FMB still had an issue with – the result of a loss in qualifying play.

The Officer’s final started off with good scoring opportunities for both teams but the only goal came off the mallet of Geoff Palmer converting a penalty number two  offering and Antelope was up by one at 1 – 0.

The second was all Bush League/FMB as Danny Walker scored three open goal awards along with a field goal and Escapite counted from the field as well. Trotz got one for the pronghorns and it appeared that the money men might be on their way as they led 5 – 2.

With Trotz masterminding the lineup, Antelope scored three times in the third – Geoff Palmer, Trotz, and Wright) as Bush League/FMB was able to counter with just one – Escapite – and the second period lead was now just one at 6 – 5 going to the half.

Antelope drew even in the fourth as Trotz counted a field goal to tie the count at six with no reply from the financiers. It appeared that the undefeated Palmer group could very well stay that way – not.

Whatever was said in the Bush League/FMB huddle between the fourth and fifth chukkers will never be known but to say it worked would be a gross understatement. The orange and white shirts came out and absolutely dominated with four goals – two from the field by Danny Walker, a penalty number one, and an open goal counter by Walker as a result of a perfect set-up – from Escapite – on the free shot from center after the number one call. Going to the final period Bush League/FMB led by four 10 – 6.

Sensing a victory – and a halt to the Antelope winning streak – the leaders did not slow down as enormous pressure allowed Walker to convert another open goal chance and Escapite counted  from the field to now lead by six. As if it mattered, Wright scored for Antelope to come within five and it was over at 12 – 7. Bush League/FMB became the champions and at the same time handed Antelope their first loss of 2019.

Because of his very aggressive play and his ability to deliver and set up when needed, Henry Walker was selected as the Most Valuable Player to his team and Martina – owned by and played by Trotz in the fourth – was awarded the Best Playing Pony blanket.

Tony Gregg