Cam Clark Ford/Triangle Bar Farms Drives to Victory in Eldoradoâ€™s Polo Skins Game
by Tony Gregg
Eldorado Polo Clubâ€™s 17th annual Polo Skins Game, played before a traditionally very large crowd, turned out to be a Sunday afternoon drive for Ron Mathison and his Cam Clark Ford/Triangle Bar Farms polo team as they rolled over Ben Soleimaniâ€™s Team Mansour (named for the Soleimani worldwide carpet and rug empire) and took four out of the six chukkers, with one carried over. In that each chukker is a separate game, and worth $4,000, the result was a $20,000 – $4,000 victory.
If the weather was a little on the cool side, Mathisonâ€™s group (with sponsored input from Cam Clark and Fred Mannix) wasnâ€™t showing it as they exploded out of the showroom quickly and put extreme pressure on Soleimaniâ€™s salesmen, resulting in an early open goal opportunity that was converted by Pedro Orellana. The early trend continued throughout the first stanza as Orellana added two more and ended with a score of 3 – 0 and the $4,000 belonged to the dealership.
The second frame was, for the most part, even as it appeared that Mansour had recovered and were now ready to sell some rugs. The payoff came as Marcos Bignoli Jr. sent one through from twenty-five yards to grab a lead of one that held up to the end of the period and gave Soleimani a 1 – 0 win to tie the game at $4,000.
Apparently the idea of losing $4,000 didnâ€™t sit well with the financial wizard Mathison as his group came out for the third in much the same manner as they started the first – pedal to the floorboard. From the outset the pressure was applied and it forced Mansour to foul, thus allowing Orellana another try from 30 yards that was converted. With Cacho Galindo playing as aggressively as anyone can remember, he scored a beauty and the $4,000 belonged to the Canadian companies by a score of 2 – 0. The count at the half was $8,000 – $4,000 for Cam Clark/Triangle Bar.
With the crowd back on the sidelines, with Wilson Creek Winery champagne flutes in hand, it was back to polo, and Mathison and Company were again ready. As they had started the first and third, they started the fourth – quick and aggressive. Marcello Rodriguez – Abbiati notched a counter and Orellana grabbed two more and just like that it was 3 – 0 and Mansour appeared to be out of product as they had scored but one goal to this point in the entire game. With the money from this period in hand, Mathison and Company slowed down and gave up a goal (Bignoli), but they had the skin, by a score of 3 – 1, and now led $12,000 – $4,000.
The Soleimani foursomeâ€™s aggravation seemed to awaken in the early part of the fifth and they were able to apply some pressure of their own and as a result Santiago Von Wernich garnered one from the field and another from the foul line and they led 2 – 0. Cam Clark/Triangle Bar, having lost their aggressiveness, suddenly found it and were back to work and again applying pressure – stress that got the rug people into foul trouble. As a result Orellana converted two more open goal opportunities to tie the chukker at two and create the only carryover of the afternoon. The sixth frame would be worth $8,000.
Mansour, now seemingly able to play the kind of polo the Skins format dictates – press early and often – opened quickly in the sixth and grabbed a lead of one on an open goal conversion by Bignoli and it appeared that the Soleimani team were back into it and could force a tie of $12,000 apiece. However, the sixth was just like the fifth for Mansour and they werenâ€™t able to close the sale as Orellana added another from the field to tie the frame at one. Galindo, in his best game of the season, added one more and it was pretty much over. Cam Clark Ford/Triangle Bar Farms had most of the money and as such were the 2011 Eldorado Polo Club Skins Game champions.
The victory was earned by playing classic Skins polo – get early leads and donâ€™t lose them. It was something that Mansour wasnâ€™t able to do. While they led in two chukkers in the second half, Cam Clark/Triangle Bar came back and either won or forced a carry over.
Galindo, with a huge game, was selected as the Most Valuable Player and Rodriguez – Abbiatiâ€™s Nona (2nd and 6th chukkers) would wear the cooler as the Best Playing Pony.
CAM CLARK FORD/TRIANGLE BAR FARMS (8) – Ron Mathison, Marcello Rodriguez – Abbiati 4, Pedro Orellana 4, Cacho Galindo.
TEAM MANSOUR (8) – Ben Soleimani, Santiago Von Wernich 5, Marcos Bignoli Jr. 4, Jimmy Wright -1