Lockton is Champion!

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Lockton Polo Team won the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup and $30,000. From left to right: Max Menini, Tim Kelly, Bryan Middleton and Jessica Bailey.

Lockton took home the title and most of the cash in the USPA 8-goal Champions Cup final at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California on April 3.

Lockton Polo Team won the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup and $30,000.  From left to right: Max Menini, Tim Kelly, Bryan Middleton and Jessica Bailey.
Lockton Polo Team won the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup and $30,000. From left to right: Max Menini, Tim Kelly, Bryan Middleton and Jessica Bailey.

Each of four teams put up $5,000, which was matched by the club for a total purse of $40,000. First place took home $30,000, while the runners-up took home $10,000.

In the final match, Lockton’s Jessica Bailey, Bryan Middleton, Max Menini and Tim Kelly faced Lauburu Polo’s Eduardo Perez, Francisco Guinazu, Rodrigo Salinas and Doug Blumenthal.

Lauburu Polo Team won 2nd Place and $10,000 in the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup.  From left to right:  Doug Blumenthal, Rodrigo Salinas, Francisco Guinazu and Eduardo Perez.
Lauburu Polo Team won 2nd Place and $10,000 in the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup. From left to right: Doug Blumenthal, Rodrigo Salinas, Francisco Guinazu and Eduardo Perez.

It was evident from the get-go that both teams were seeing dollar signs. Three-goal Middleton put Lockton on the scoreboard first with a drive down field, but 4-goal Guinazu responded with a successful drive of his own. The teams battled back and forth until the umpires’ whistles stopped the action. Lockton was awarded a Penalty 2, which Menini easily converted. Later in the chukker, Lockton was whistled on a play and Guinazu sunk a 60-yard Penalty 4 to knot the score at 2-all. The second chukker mostly belonged to Lauburu Polo as Guinazu found the mark on another Penalty 4 and Salinas scored from the field. Menini split the uprights for Lockton, but Blumenthal answered for Lauburu Polo, keeping it ahead 5-3 after two chukkers. Neither team could find the mark in the third until Blumenthal sunk a Penalty 2, increasing Lauburu’s lead to three at the half.

Max Menini’s mare “ Tita” won Best Playing Pony in the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup.
Max Menini’s mare “ Tita” won Best Playing Pony in the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup.

A Menini-Middleton one-two punch cut Lockton’s deficit to just one in the fourth, while Lauburu was silent. Blumenthal put Lauburu back up by two early in the fifth, but Menini went on a scoring rampage, sinking two open-goal penalties and a field goal, to which Tim Kelly added a goal to put Lockton in the driver’s seat, 9-7.

Max Menini was awarded MVP in the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup.
Max Menini was awarded MVP in the USPA 6-8 Goal Champions Cup.

Lauburu fought back, shutting down any Lockton drives to goal while Guinazu sunk his third 60-yard penalty and a field goal to tie the score at 9-all in the waning minutes of the sixth, and forcing overtime.

In sudden death, the teams struggled to reach the goal with Lockton miss-firing twice and Lauburu once. Finally, with time ticking away, Menini found the mark to give Lockton the win. Menini was high scorer with seven goals, three from the penalty line. He was named MVP for his efforts, and his pretty bay mare Tita was honored as Best Playing Pony. Guinazu led Lauburu Polo with five goals.

 

 

USPA Champions Cup Teams
March 25th – April 3rd

Lockton 8
Tim Kelly 0
Max Menini 4
Bryan Middleton 3
Jessica Bailey 1

Piocho 8
Sterling Giannico 4
John Eicher 3
Cameron Smith 1
Athena Malin 0

Roseville Motor Cars 8
Ashton Wolf 3
Eric Hammon 0
Mariano Gutierrez 5
Bryan Ward 0

Lauburu Polo Team 8
Eduardo Perez -1
Francisco Guinazu 4
Rodrigo Salinas 3
Doug Blumenthal 2