Apr 05, 2016 3:31 PM

northern blizzard wins pacific coast governors cup polo

By Tony Gregg

Canadian John Rooney has been playing polo at the Eldorado Polo Club for some time and in all the years he has traveled south for the winter season he has never entered a team in the Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup. When the decision was made last October to play in the 7-goal tournaments – for February and March – Rooney insisted that he wanted to put the absolute best team together and be, above all, competitive. Made sense, as Rooney is very competitive in what ever he does. With advice from longtime friend and teammate Joe Henderson the decision was made to procure Dayelle Fargey and Team USPA member Jimmy Wright for the two months, culminating with a run at the big one.

After winning three league titles in three tries during the winter, the Governor’s Cup was next and Rooney’s Northern Blizzard (Rooney 1, Henderson 4, Fargey 1, Wright 1), with an unblemished record in qualifying play, was in the April 3rd Final of the sought after prize. The opponent Bush Leauge – with just one loss in the qualifiers – would be Eldorado Pro Pool graduates Virgil Kyle and Ryan Robertson and their Bush League organization (Kyle, Robertson, Ulysses Escapite 4, Gaston Von Wernich 4).

In front of a very large final day crowd, Northern Blizzard was awarded a handicap goal of one at the start and wasted little time in adding to the bonus as Rooney converted a penalty number three opportunity. Wright was then able to jump out of the middle and score on a 90 yard run and the lead was three very early on. Kyle, on a perfect redirect on a penalty four attempt, brought Bush League back to within one after the first.

Any thought, that the outlanders might have taken on more than they could handle in this one, was quickly dispelled in the second. Bush League came back with authority in the second and were rewarded with a penalty two opportunity that Escapite easily converted – the only goal of the frame. As a result, the second was over with the northern lead just one at 3 – 2.

Von Wernich brought Bush league even in the third with a goal from the field, but Wright put Northern Blizzard up by a goal, once again, with another nice run to score and it was 4 – 3 for the Canadians at the half.

Henderson scored his first goal of the Final to give Northern Blizzard a lead of two but Bush League came right back as Escapite counted a pair – a penalty two and a running penalty four that was counted as a field goal and the tally was tied at five going to the fifth.

The penultimate chukker featured the most scoring of the contest with five goals. Wright grabbed his third counter and Henderson then scored his second and the northern lead was now a pair at 7 – 5. Von Wernich was able to score from the field to come within one, but another Henderson field goal got the Northern Blizzard two goal lead back at 8 – 6. The country boys continued to fight and the result was a penalty number three conversion for Escapite and it was on to the sixth with a one goal lead for Northern Blizzard at 8 – 7.

The final chukker was one of many opportunities and nothing to show – at least in the scoring department. Bush League, a very worthy opponent, had chances to force an extra stanza but were unable to do so. The Northerners had chances to ice the cake but could not. The result was a down to the wire one goal victory for Northern Blizzard and the Governor’s Cup was going back to Canada as Rooney had once again struck oil – albeit at a lower price.

With his solid and opportunistic play, Wright earned the title of MVP and "Brian", played by Henderson in the sixth was selected as the Best Playing Pony.

As part of the final day season awards, Kyle and Robertson were presented with the Ronai White sponsor dedication trophy.