The stands were jam packed as Farmers and Merchants Bank and Twin Palms took the field for the first 12-goal tournament final of the summer. A non-polo related injury sidelined Charlie Walker, but his replacement, Alonso Cruz, stepped up to the plate and was a strong addition to the team with Felipe Viana, Henry Walker and Luis Escobar. Twin Palms line-up remained the same with Remy Muller playing up front, Graham Bray at the number 2 position, Santi Wulff at 3 and Chris Maloney playing back.
FMB got the crowd cheering as Escobar and Viana each made a goal within the first two minutes of the match. Though it seemed FMB was going to steamroll the competition, Twin Palms slowly began their offensive campaign tying the second chukka 3-3. Twin Palms gained a slight advantage in the third chukka after Wulff scored two goals from the penalty line entering the halftime period up by two 5-3.
The battle began once again in the second half as FMB fought to stop the Twin Palms momentum. Play remained fast and furious, yet low scoring. FMB and Twin Palms switched onto their sixth chukka with the score tied, 7-7. Farmers and Merchants Bank hit the field running for the final chukka of play. Viana scored three goals on his mare, Grey Goose, who was named Best Playing Pony of the match. A goal each by Escobar and Walker put FMB up by four goals to win the Jewelry by Gauthier Polo Cup by 12-8.
Luis Escobar was awarded Most Valuable Player for his consistent effort controlling play at the centre of the field. He scored 5 of the team’s 12 goals.
Felipe Viana, a member of Team USPA, is playing in Santa Barbara for the first time this summer with the Farmers and Merchants Team. Winning the first tournament and being awarded Best Playing Pony is a great start to the summer for the young player: “As expected, we faced an extremely physical and disciplined team that has been really successful this year. Fortunately for us, the game tilted our favour when we were able to execute a few crucial plays and our team’s horses responded in a phenomenal manner. In addition to winning the tournament, winning Best Playing Pony is a great honour and payback to our efforts throughout the year. Grey Goose is a horse that I know will give an extra bit in important moments with her power and speed, so I’m very happy she was able to show it.”
Tournament sponsor, Jewelry by Gauthier, graciously donated gift certificates to the winners and runners-up of the tournament. Earlier in the day, Antelope defeated Highwood 13-12 in the Jewelry by Gauthier Polo Cup Consolation Final.
About Jewelry by Gauthier
Internationally acclaimed jewelry designer Scott Gauthier opened his third gallery in downtown Santa Barbara. With over 27 years of creating some of the world’s most important and collectible jewelry, Gauthier truly defines what it means to “wear art.” www.jewelrybygauthier.com
About Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the premier destination for polo on the West Coast. Located on the beautiful American Riviera, the Club offers three high goal fields, boarding facilities, polo lessons and country club amenities all alongside the Pacific Ocean. The 2016 Spring Season runs May 6th through June 26th. Eight weeks of high goal action beginning July 10th will feature the Belmond El Encanto Polo Classic, USPA Maserati Silver Cup, USPA Nespresso America Cup and culminate with the Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.sbpolo.com.