Klentner Ranch claimed the historic Robert Skene Trophy on a beautiful afternoon at the Santa Barbara Polo Club. In a rematch of the previous tournament, Santa Clara faced off against Klentner Ranch in a battle for victory. Klentner Ranch narrowly defeated Lucchese in their final match of the qualifying round to cap off their undefeated record and secure their berth in the final. A three-way tie between Santa Clara, Farmers & Merchants Bank and RH Polo sent the three teams to a shootout. Luis Escobar carefully executed each penalty shot, earning Santa Clara the second spot in the Final.
Klentner Ranch (16): Geronimo Obregon (4), Jesse Bray (5), Facundo Obregon (6), Justin Klentner (1)
Santa Clara (16): Francisco Escobar (A), Joaquin Panelo (5), Mariano Obregon (6), Luis Escobar (5)
From the first bowl-in, Klentner Ranch capitalized on their familiarity with each other on the team and dominated play on the field. Justin Klentner, owner of the Klentner Ranch team, has played with Bray for five seasons and with the same team in the 16 goal for two seasons.
Geronimo Obregon, named MVP of the final, hit the ground running, scoring two quick goals from the field to start the match. Several shots by the Klentner Ranch team found themselves going wide over the backline, giving Santa Clara the advantage on set plays. Attempts to get the ball downfield were met by a fiery Klentner Ranch squad.
Panelo put Santa Clara’s first goal of the match through on a 40-yard penalty shot. Fouls haunted the Klentner Ranch team, giving Santa Clara possession at the midfield. Bray and Obregon quickly took back control on the field, each scoring from the field to push Klentner Ranch ahead 4-1 after two chukkers of play.
While the play was fast and furious, scoring slowed in the third chukker with only one goal scored by each team, 5-1.
Klentner Ranch turned on the turbos in the fourth chukker. Sticking to their strategy of long passes and moving the ball quickly paid off, as Bray and Klentner each scored from the field. Facundo Obregon added two of his own to the count widening the gap, 9-2.
Scoring evened out in the fifth chukker. A goal each by F. Obregon and Klentner were matched by goals by Panelo and Escobar on the opposing side.
Santa Clara put a stop to the scoring streak of Klentner Ranch, adding two goals to their tally while holding Klentner Ranch to only one goal, 12-6.
Following the game, Bray spoke of the strategy employed by Klentner Ranch and their time together as a team, “We played with this same team last year, but I feel like things are starting to click now. We are in a better rhythm and using all four players better. I am really happy with today’s win, but it’s a long season, we still have a long way to go.”
Geronimo Obregon was named MVP. “Andrea” owned by Joaquin Panelo was named Best Playing Pony.
Jesse Bray and Geronimo Obregon are both members of Team USPA.
About the Robert Skene Trophy The Robert Skene Trophy commemorates the career of a Santa Barbara polo legend. “Hurricane Bob” was 10 goals at the height of his career, played in the Westchester Cup, US Open and Argentine Open, and survived three years as a POW in the infamous Changi prison in Asia during WWII. He was deeply connected to the Santa Barbara Polo Club, managing it for several years in the 1960s and playing a pivotal role in keeping the club alive during a time of financial crisis. He was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1990 and died in his beloved Santa Barbara in 1997.
About the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the premier destination for polo on the West Coast. Located on the beautiful American Riviera, the Club offers three high goal fields, a Polo School, boarding facilities, polo lessons and country club amenities, including eight tennis courts and a fitness facility, all alongside the Pacific Ocean. The 2017 season opened May 5th and runs through the first week of October.
To see all the teams and results click here