Skins: Money Split – Cotterell Wins Rossmore Cup0
The Eldorado Polo Club’s 23rd annual Polo Skins Game was played on Sunday, March 26, 2017. While the Skins always creates much anticipation along with a huge fieldside party , the addition of the USPA Rossmore Cup Tournament this season brought the frenzy to an even higher level. Add in the fact that this year’s contest was going to be live streamed by the USPA.
The Polo Skins format is exactly like a golf skins competition where each chukker is played as a ‘Skin’. If a chukker is won, the winner receives the money available. If the teams are tied after a chukker, the amount that was available is then added to the amount to be played for in the next chukker. For the 2017 challenge, the team that scored the most goals overall would put their name on the Rossmore Cup.
The 2017 game, at 12 goals, was played in front of huge Clubhouse and west berm crowd and an immense gathering of partying faithful lining the entire east side, featured Idaho’s Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni and her Cotterell Farms polo team (Luttrell-Benardoni, Ruben Coscia 5, Juan Curbelo 5, Matthew Fonseca 2) riding out against Canadian John Rooney and his Northern Blizzard line-up (Rooney 1, Joe Henderson 4, Patrick Uretz 4, Peter Blake 3).
At the start, Cotterell took immediate control and was rewarded with a penalty three opportunity that Curbelo easily converted. The first period wasn’t half over as Luttrell-Benardoni grabbed a long pass and impressively ran 145 yards to increase the lead to two goals and it appeared the farmers were going to run away with the initial $3500 and take a rather nice lead in the Rossmore. Not so fast however, as Northern Blizzard came back with a big offensive thrust resulting in a Uretz penalty four strike and a free throw conversion from 40 yards. As a result the Rossmore was tied at two and the initial $3500 would be added to the $3500 from the second to make the second chukker worth $7000.
The momentum that the Canadian invaders grabbed in the first carried – as did the money – to the second as Uretz converted a penalty two from the spot to now lead by one. Ruben Coscia got that back with a field goal and the count was now tied at three apiece. However, Northern Blizzard jumped right back and were once again rewarded with another penalty two opportunity that Uretz converted. With just over 30 seconds remaining in the period and the $7000 comfortably in Canadian hands, Blake grabbed the ball and ran 260 yards to score. The point didn’t matter for the money, but with the Rossmore Cup in play, it would count in the overall score which now stood at 5 – 3 in favor of Rooney and his oilmen.
The third frame, worth $3500, featured many scoring chances but not much scoring as Curbelo grabbed the only goal of the period – from the field – which was enough to put that money into the Cotterell account. The result was a $3500 halftime lead for Northern Blizzard and a lead of one at 5 – 4 for the USPA Silver.
The small advantage that Cotterell had in the third became bigger in the fourth as Fonseca counted twice and Coscia grabbed his second goal. The three goals – to none for Northern Blizzard – easily gave the Idahoans the $3500 to tie the dollar count at $7000 and they now led the Rossmore by a pair at 7 – 5.
The Canadians, quiet on the scoreboard for two chukkers, started to recover in the fifth as Uretz scored from the field to lead by one for the money. Curbelo got that back for the farmhands to lead again by a pair in the overall count but Uretz was able to grab another field goal and the fifth ended with Northern Blizzard cashing the $3500 royalty and closing to within one for the Rossmore.
The sixth was played even with Northern Blizzard’s Blake scoring on a superb effort from 90 yards and Cotterell’s Curbelo replying with his third from the field and the chukker ended with Cotterell winning the Rossmore Cup by one goal at 9 – 8. However, and as great as the farmhands felt with the victory, there was still $3500 on the table. As a result, an overtime chukker would be necessary.
The extra frame didn’t last very long as Luttrell-Benardoni, with a long, strong, and perfectly placed neckshot from well right of the Northern Blizzard goal set up Fonseca 30 yards out and he made no mistake to score. That combined effort gave Cotterell the $3500 carryover and a tie in the money total at $10,500 each.
Because of her strong and aggressive effort in playing the front end and her ability to get to and move the play, Luttrell-Benardoni was selected as the MVP. Negra, played by Coscia in the sixth period, went back to the barn wearing the Best Playing Pony blanket.