Cotterel Farms Repeats as January 6 Goal Champions0

Posted on January 29th, 2015 in News

6 January League_blog

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.

Tony Gregg