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.
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.