A bay mare named Gypsy, owned by Jeff Hall, turned the game around for Lucchese after trailing in the sixth chukker to opponent Restoration Hardware. Hall cantered onto the field with confidence to begin the final seven minutes of regulation play and quickly found the ball at the end of his mallet. Blowing by his defenders, Hall scored three consecutive goals to win the Robert Skene Trophy Final.
With players just arriving from the English season, Restoration Hardware (RH) elected to stick with their team of substitutes for the duration of the tournament. Felipe Vercellino and (6) Santi Wulff (5) stepped in for Iñaki Laprida (7) and Santi von Wernich (5) at the onset of the tournament and quickly fell in sync alongside teammates Geronimo Obregon* (4) and Ben Soleimani (A). Luke Klentner (A) played for John Muse on the Lucchese team.
In a fantastic display of horsepower and young talent, the 2018 Robert Skene Trophy Final was competitive until the final bell. RH began with a goal on handicap, but a quick whistle put Lucchese on the board within a minute. Two goals by Lucchese’s Hall and a goal each by RH’s Geronimo Obregon and Vercellino left the score tied after the first chukker of play. “Playing against my brother is always a challenge, but it also makes it more fun,” said older brother Facundo Obregon.
Fouls riddled the beginning of the second period, giving Facundo Obregon the opportunity to put Lucchese in the lead by one, 6-5, from the penalty line. The momentum swung back in favor of RH with young players Geronimo Obregon and Vercellino playing off each other’s fiery determination. With Wulff at the back feeding passes to his runners, RH pulled ahead in the third chukker 8-6.
A balanced fifth chukker saw two goals scored by each side. Carlos “Toly” Ulloa threaded through the pack of players, slicing the ball in to tie the score at 11 goals each. A final penalty goal by RH pushed them in the lead 12-11.
Most Valuable Player Jeff Hall dominated the final chukker on his Best Playing Pony, Gypsy. Ulloa played a tight man defense, breaking open the field for Hall to walk the ball through the uprights for Lucchese’s fourteenth goal of the game. RH did not relent, scoring once more before the clock ticked down ending with a final score 14-13. Hall previously spoke on his strategy for the 2018 season in Santa Barbara, aiming to use a higher-rated second player. After playing the 20-goal with Facundo Obregon, the two players began the season a step ahead. Their third man, Ulloa, easily slid into their system and is proving to be both talented with the ball and disciplined in taking a man. “The game was very close today. RH had a few goals on us in the middle chukkers, but we were able to get organized in the sixth chukker. Jeff scored three of the goals from the field to put us ahead, but Geronimo almost got us on his last run!” said brother Facundo Obregon chuckling.
*Geronimo Obregon is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
All photos courtesy of ©David Lominska/www.polographics.com