The Great Plains Circuit Governor’s Cup presented by UBS was played Friday, August 5 through Sunday, August 7 at Denver Polo Club in Sedalia, Colorado. The annual 2- to 5-goal USPA tournament featured four teams, including many returning players.
Sunday’s final was fiercely fought and tight up until the final horn, with UBS (Maurice Nissim, Stephen Schaef, Luke Clark, Mark Wates) upending Coors (Kathy Coors, Cecily Coors, Jason Wates, Craig Russell, sub. John Hardee) 8-6.5 as the clock ran out.
Coors’ Cecily Coors on the nearside, UBS’ Mark Wates moving in for the hook.
Coors started off the match strong, with goals from Jason Wates and Russell adding to their 0.5 goal handicap advantage to give their team an early 2.5 goal lead. Unable to score in the first chukker, UBS was eager to create opportunities in the second. Finding their rhythm, Clark and Mark Wates joined forces to score three goals and shutting out Coors to end the first half of play ahead 3-2.5.
Remaining close throughout the second half, Coors’ Jason Wates found the goal twice in the third chukker while two goals for UBS came off the mallet of Clark to end the chukker 5-4.5 in favor of UBS. A strong comeback effort from Jason Wates gave Coors hope, but ultimately Clark and Mark Wates were too much to contain, again combining to score three goals and push their team to an 8-6.5 win.
UBS’ Luke Clarke in pursuit of Coors’ Jason Wates.
UBS’ Nissim found great pride in this victory after coming up short last year, sharing, “Last year we made it to the finals and lost the match on mistakes and penalties. We were the underdog, so we knew we had to play as a team and that we had to be disciplined. It was amazing to be out there with three other guys and feel like we were one. I felt so fortunate and honored to be on the field with such amazing players.”
Luke Clarke was named Most Valuable Player for his exceptional performance. Erica Gandomcar-Sachs’ bay mare Mercedes was named Best Playing Pony. Played by Craig Russell, he noted his appreciation for the horse and her love of the game.
Most Valuable Player Luke Clark and Coors’ Craig Russell race towards the ball.
*This tournament recap article was submitted for publication by Denver Polo Club. Learn more about how to submit USPA tournament recaps here or send your submission to Communications Coordinator Madelyn Blum at email@example.com.
All photos courtesy of ©Ron Morin.