After five games had been played in the Eldorado Polo Club’s 7 Goal Coachella Valley Cup tournament, Champ Roth’s Domrey (Roth, Joseph Stuart 4, Dayelle Fargey 1, Doug Blumenthal 2) and Debra Vermoch’s Pheasant Hollow (Vermoch -1, Tim Rudy 3, Jessica Bailey 1, Sterling Giannico 4) were alone at the top and already qualified for the final with identical records of five wins and zero losses with one game left to play and with the next best having just three wins. These two entries would then play each other on Saturday and the result wouldn’t matter with respect to their plans for Sunday – they were both booked in.

With that in mind, the Saturday contest was, in reality, a practice and a chance to prepare – albeit in full view of each other. On the surface it appeared to most watching that Pheasant Hollow made more of the opportunity than did Domrey as they opened up just a little while Roth and Co. took it much, much easier. As a result, the pundits felt that the Vermoch group was better prepared and would have the upper hand in the upcoming final. As it turned out, the so-called experts were wrong – very wrong.

Sunday’s final started out quickly and it was Domrey dealing the early blow as pressure from the initial throw-in lead to a perfect penalty 4 conversion from Stuart.  Not phased, Pheasant Hollow was able to come right back as Giannico scored on a nice run. Blumenthal completed a run of his own to give Domrey the lead back and Stuart grabbed a quick pass from the ensuing line-up and ran alone to his second counter and it was now Domrey by two at 3 – 1. Once again Pheasant Hollow responded and Giannico was able to covert a 30 yard free-throw and the first was over with Domrey on top at 3 – 2.

The early second was all Domrey as Stuart, fed by precise passing from throw-ins, scored a pair from the field and an early trend was appearing – Stuart was alone and running free. Again, Pheasant Hollow was able to come back and apply some pressure and Giannico was afforded another penalty two award which he converted and the second was over with the Roth group up by a pair at 5 – 3.

Chukker number three saw Domrey exert more pressure as Stuart nailed another penalty four and then, from the resulting throw-in, he ran to goal – alone again – to extend the lead to four. Pheasant Hollow was again able to respond somewhat as Giannico converted a penalty two and the half was over with the lead extended to three at 7 – 4.

At the half, the aforementioned ‘experts’ – and there were many – quickly pointed out that Pheasant Hollow would come back. As much as these authorities wanted to believe, or say, it didn’t happen – not even close as the fourth period was absolutely all Domrey. The onslaught started with Stuart, again, receiving precise setups from the lineup and simply running to goal. With this continuing occurrence, Stuart scored three more times and it was now a six goal game. Blumenthal added to the equation with a goal and the lead was now seven. Giannico, for the fourth time, converted a penalty two toward the end of the period and the fourth ended with Roth and Co. leading at 11 – 5.

As the fifth stanza started, it was obvious that Domrey wasn’t done – not even close. Stuart – as if to prove a point – again grabbed a pass from the lineup and ran by himself to score. The Bay Area pressure continued as he converted his third free-throw (a penalty two) and the lead became eight goals. Fargey then counted another for the leaders and with little time left in the penultimate frame it was over. Rudy was able to score his first of the afternoon and the count was now 14 – 6 for the Roth group with one to play.

With Pheasant Hollow needing to outscore Domrey by eight goals – just to tie – in the final frame, Roth and his champions to be simply relaxed and let Pheasant Hollow have a free rein. At that point, Rudy scored twice, Bailey counted one, Giannico added another, and Rhandy Heredia scored his first in the show as he filled in for an injured – in the fifth – Vermoch and the final count was 14 – 11. As a result and as the pundits tore up metaphoric mutual tickets, August Roth was once again a Champ as he hoisted the Coachella Valley 7 Goal Trophy.

Because of his unrelenting pressure in the line-ups and his ability to continuously move balls out to Stuart, Roth was picked as the Leisure Society MVP.

Stuart’s mare Doctora – played in the Domrey controlled fourth – went back to the farm wearing the Best Playing Pony blanket.

Tony Gregg

 

 

 

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