The first weekend of the Belmond El Encanto Robert Skene Trophy brought many close and thrilling games. All of the Sunday matches finished within one goal, proving it is anyone’s game in the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club’s 16-goal series.
Sunday morning’s matchup on July 14 pitted Danny Walker’s Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMB) against Francisco de Narvaez’s Sol De Agosto. Both teams arrived with a 1-0 record, therefore the game was essential to advancing in the two-week tournament. Sol De Agosto put the first goal on the board from the penalty line, setting the tone for the game which became a battle of penalty shots. Pipe Vercellino was very consistent from the penalty line scoring five in the first half, allowing FMB to move into halftime 8-5, up by three. Sol De Agosto regrouped at halftime to leave FMB scoreless in the fourth chukker and take the lead. With eleven goals in the match, Paco de Narvaez secured the win 13-12.
Game two took place between Lucchese and Santa Clara. Competing with a combined handicap of 15 goals, Santa Clara began the game with one goal on the board due to handicap. After an even first chukker, Santa Clara kicked into gear in the second scoring four unanswered goals. Lucchese fought back in the third to even up the score 7-all at the half. Lucchese’s Facundo Obregon and Jeff Hall both had a powerful fourth chukker scoring five goals from the field and two from the penalty line. Just when it began to look like Lucchese had sealed the deal, Santa Clara pushed the game into overtime with three last minute goals. In overtime, Hall scored a quick goal from the field to clinch the victory 15-14 in favor of Lucchese.
FMB Too! and Klentner Ranch went head to head in the featured game on the grandstand field. FMB Too! captured the first two goals of the game. After the initial blow, Klentner Ranch trailed for five chukkers. They could not keep up with the scoring power of FMB Too’s Santi Wulff who scored 13 goals in the game. Klentner Ranch fought back in the final chukker with four goals, but it was only enough to close the gap by one. The score finished 14-13.
FMB Too’s Henry Walker commented on his game, “congrats to Klentner Ranch for a hard-fought match and to my team members who performed at the top of their game.”