On a perfect day in Southern California, the 2018 Mack & Madelyn Jason Memorial was contested between Chris Maloney’s Twin Palms aggregation (Maloney 1, Graham Bray 3, Mason Wroe 4, Mia Bray -1) and Virgil Kyle and Ryan Robertson’s Bush League group (Kyle, Robertson, Ulysses Escapite 4, Shane Rice 4).
A close game was expected by most and it most certainly was at the end. What was not expected perhaps, were the rather large ‘swings’ that favored both teams. With a handicap award of one at the outset to favor Twin Palms the anticipated closeness was certainly played out in the first as both foursomes counted a goal and the first ended with the Twin Palms ahead by one at 2 – 1.
Maloney and Co. created their first ‘swing’ of the game in the fourth period as they counted two goals to none for Bush League and the country lead was now just one at 6 – 5 going to the fifth.
The momentum changed again in that fifth as Bush League scored four goals and the Maloney crew were only able to grab one. The result was a four goal advantage for the orange men with one chukker left in regulation at 10 – 6.
Twin Palms needed goals in the sixth and they got three of them however as the horn ended play and Bush League had barely hung on to win the Jason Memorial by a final tally of 10 – 9. With an aggressive effort and two very timely goals in the fifth, Robertson was accorded the honor of Most Valuable Player and Kenny, owned and played by Rice in the second chukker, was selected as the Best Playing Pony.
Reg Whyte and David Carlson’s Thermal polo team (Whyte, Carlson, Ernesto Ezcurra 2, Felipe Sordelli 2) went through the 2018 World Gym 4 goal tournament, the 30th annual, without a loss.
While Thermal came to the final undefeated, their opposition, Shannon Smull-Mendez and Lamar Rutherford’s Manolo Polo (Smull-Mendez -1, Rutherford -1, Luis Saracco 3 – sub for Santiago Mendez 2, Rodrigo Salinas 3) arrived via a shootout victory.
With Saracco substituting for the injured Santiago Mendez, both Manolo Polo and Thermal started quickly with the first chukkers tied at 2 – 2.
The second chukker was open and provided a lot of good team polo as both were able to run with the ball. Surprisingly, only two goals were scored – Salinas for Manolo to briefly lead and Ezcurra for Thermal to get even. The half ended with the count at three each.
With the Manolo offense all but gone, Thermal was able to keep it going in the fourth with a continuing complete team effort as Carlson grabbed his first and Whyte scored his second. Saracco replied for Manolo but that would be it and Thermal, the 2017 World Gym winners, had successfully defended their title by a final tally of 8 – 4.
On hand to present the distinctive World Gym trophy, as they were 30 years ago, were Mike and Claudia Uretz. Due to his aggressive play on the front end – Carlson was selected as the Most Valuable Player to his team. Ezcurra’s often played U2 was awarded the Best Playing Pony blanket.