SANTA BARBARA, CA. (May 17, 2016) Farmers and Merchants Bank powered through the first tournament of the summer winning the Jewelry by Gauthier Polo Cup.
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 lineup 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 chukker 3-3.
Twin Palms gained a slight advantage in the third chukker 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 chukker horses with the score tied, 7-7.
Farmers and Merchants Bank hit the field running for the final chukker 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 12-8.
Luis Escobar was awarded Most Valuable Player for his consistent effort controlling play at the center 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 favor 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 honor 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.” Viana reflected following the game.
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.