Ron Mathison a Back to Back Winner in Skins0

Posted on March 26th, 2012 in News

Different team name, somewhat different line-up, but the result was the same as 2011 for Ron Mathison in the 2012 Polo Skins Game  – he won. With Marcello Rodriguez – Abbiati managing the team – known as Highwood – Mathison saddled up with Santiago Trotz, Jared Sheldon, and of course, Rodriquez – Abbiati himself.

With Trotz and Sheldon coming off a strong Beal Memorial victory and available in March, it seemed like a ‘no-brainer’ for the financial wizard Mathison to agree with Rodriquez – Abbiati and ‘do the deal’ and hire the former pronghorns.

Qualifying for the semi – finals, Highwood had to go to overtime to defeat Team Mansour to move on to the Skins Game itself. There, they would face Dan Horn’s Palm Desert group who simply ran over Hanalei Bay in the other semi. Because of that one- sided victory, Horn along with Danny and Matthew Walker and Santigo Wulff were, in most peoples minds, the favorites – how could Highwood match-up with the Palm Desert horsepower?

It was apparent from the start that the Highwood horse management plan would take care of any concerns regarding that aspect of the game. Having to give up a half goal on handicap (for the first Skin only) the Canadian invaders jumped out to a fast start and put early pressure on the desert folks. As a result, a pony goal and an open goal conversion from Trotz, quickly allowed Highwood to lead 2 – .5. Matt Walker got one back via a penalty number two and the first $4.000 Skin went to Highwood at 2 – 1.5.

Horn and Co. came out strong in the second and forced Highwood into an error that allowed Wulff to capitalize on a penalty two opportunity. Trotz, using his head to get his horse properly positioned, got that back in short order. Not to be denied, Wulff, running under Matt Walker’s long passes, scored his second of the contest and Palm Desert banked the second $4,000 by a count of 2 – 1.

Not used to giving up a lead of any kind, Mathison scored from the field to start Highwood’s second ‘victory’ and they continued to apply heavy pressure in the Palm Desert end as Rodriguez – Abbiati scored on a penalty four attempt. Matt Walker was able to score from the field but the third money went north. $8,000 – $4.000 in favor of Highwood (2 – 1 )at the half.

The trend of Highwood getting a lead of two (first and third skins) continued in the fourth as Trotz nailed a penalty four and Rodriguez – Abbiati counted from the field before Wulff could reply with a field goal for Palm Desert. Trotz got the two goal bulge back on a penalty two from the spot but the desert dwellers came back and applied pressure of their own with Matt Walker converting a number two from the spot and Danny Walker notching a field goal and the first carryover of the game was created – $8,000 available in the fifth.

The fifth saw Highwood score the first two goals for the fourth time in the game as Trotz converted another open goal offering and Sheldon, who made things happen the entire afternoon, scored on a nice run. With Palm Desert unable to reply, the $8,000 was Highwoods and they now led $16,000 – $4,000.

With the final dollar amount now won by Mathison and Co., Palm Desert, characteristicly, didn’t slow down and came out strong in the final skin looking to win the overall score – they were behind 10 – 7.5 – and, for only the second time, scored the first goal on a 60 yard conversion by Wulff. However, Rodriguez – Abbiati scored his third of the game  to force an overtime carryover of the $4,000 available in the sixth.

With overtime to decide only the remaining cash, Palm Desert jumped quickly at the start and it was over early as Danny Walker scored to grab the last $4,000 making the final count $16,000 – $8,000 in favor of Highwood – who as well won the overall score by a count of 11 – 8.5.

Rodriguez – Abbiati was chosen as the MVP and Wulff’s mare, Requesona (6th) was selected as the Best Playing Pony.

2012 Polo Skins Game – Eldorado Polo Club

Highwood (12) – Ron Mathison, Marcello Rodriguez – Abbiati 5, Santiago Trotz 5, Jared Sheldon 2.
Palm Desert (11.5) – Dan Horn .5, Danny Walker 3, Matthew Walker 3, Santiago Wulff 5.

Jenny Luttrell was awarded the Rene White Sponsor Dedication Award for the 2012 season and Krista Bonaguidi recieved the Robert Skene Most Improved Player trophy.