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OAK BEND FARM DOMINATE IN SOUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT SPORTSMANSHIP CUP

Nov 22, 2021 9:17 PM

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2021 Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup Champions: Oak Bend Farm- Joss Leufrancois, (William Leufrancois), Will Walton, Chris Ballard, Jessica Mignone.
2021 Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup Champions: Oak Bend Farm - Joss Leufrancois, (William Leufrancois), Will Walton, Chris Ballard, Jessica Mignone.

Over an unseasonally dry and gorgeous late fall Texas weekend, four determined teams met in the Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup, sponsored by Oak Bend Farm owner Chris Ballard and supported by the USPA Tournament Stimulus Package (TSP) at Central Texas Polo Association’s Two Wishes Polo Club in Lockhart, Texas.

Oak Bend Farm (Jessica Mignone, Chris Ballard, Joss Leufrancois, Will Walton) and Navy (Amanda Massey, Karl Hilberg, Brady Williams, Nadir Khan) kicked off the competition with a .5 handicap awarded to Oak Bend Farm. Walton quickly added three more goals for Oak Bend Farm in the first chukker, followed by another in the second to take a 4.5-0 lead at halftime. Emerging from the half, Oak Bend Farm continued their scoring trend with Ballard finding the goal twice and Leufrancois following suit. Oak Bend Farm duplicated their third chukker efforts in the fourth to end the match 11.5-0.

Polo InterActive's James Glew takes the ball downfield ahead of Oak Bend Farm's Jessica Mignone.
Polo InterActive's James Glew leads the pack on a breakaway.

The next match featured Polo InterActive (Marcus Murphy, Carter Heltzen, James Glew, Javier Insua) against Kanthaka (Sylvia Kampshoff, Gal Shweiki, Philipp, Kampshoff, Jack Crea). Polo Interactive’s Heltzen scored twice in the opening chukker along with one from teammate Insua to grab an early lead. Despite Philipp Kampshoff ending the first chukker converting a Penalty 3 for Kanthaka, the second chuker was all Polo Interactive; Murphy found the goal from the field while Insua scored on a Penalty 3 to take a 5-1 lead at halftime.

Kanthaka’s Sylvia Kampshoff and Polo InterActive’s Insua exchanged goals in the third. Trailing by four goals, Kanthaka made a final push, Crea and Sylvia Kampshoff each finding the goal, while a solid defensive effort held Polo Interactive scoreless. Time expired, however, and Polo Interactive held on to win with a final score 6-4.

Kanthaka's Jack Crea turns toward the goal.
Kanthaka's Jack Crea on the ball.

The consolation match took place on Sunday, November 14, between Navy and Kanthaka. Navy’s Khan was first to score but was quickly matched by Sylvia Kampshoff, raising Kanthaka’s score to 1.5 due to a handicap at the onset of the match. Williams scored the last goal of the first chukker to put Navy back into the lead 2-1.5. The second chukker was closely contested, both teams missing numerous shots on goal. Phillip Kampshoff finally broke through to give Kanthaka a 2.5-2 lead.

In the third, Navy’s Williams scored a field goal while Khan converted a Penalty 4, all while holding Kanthaka to a sole goal by Sylvia Kampshoff. With the clock quickly winding down, Kanthaka’s Philipp Kampshoff, on a long run, hit the goal to end the match and take a narrow 5.5-5 victory.

Oak Bend Farm's Joss Leufrancois prepares to take an open forehand shot.
Oak Bend Farm's Joss Leufrancois prepares to send a booming shot downfield.

Polo InterActive and Oak Bend Farm faced-off in the Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup Final and showcased a thrilling and hard-fought battle between the offensive efforts of Oak Bend Farm’s Walton and the defensive counteraction of Polo InterActive’s Murphy. Awarded a .5 goal on handicap, Leufrancois opened scoring for Oak Bend Farm, Walton contributing two more goals to give Oak Bend Farm an early 3.5-0 lead. The second chukker was a defensive stalemate, both teams with equal opportunities but ultimately failing to find the goal.

The second half displayed a united effort from Oak Bend Farm, Walton scoring immediately, followed by Leufrancois, Mignone, and Walton once again to close out the chukker. Ballard summarized Oak Bend Farm's successful offensive strategies as, "[staying] disciplined about playing our positions, communicating on the field, and [backing] each other up. We played as a cohesive team and our pro [Will] Walton put in a stellar performance coaching us through our matches."

Attempting to find an offensive response, Heltzen found the goal for Polo InterActive in the fourth, but Oak Bend Farm’s dominance could not be denied, and their forward momentum continued with three more goals to cement the victory 9.5-1.

Most Valuable Player Marcus Murphy, presented by Oak Bend Farm Sponsor Chris Ballard.
Most Valuable Player Marcus Murphy, presented by Oak Bend Farm Sponsor Chris Ballard.

Reflecting on the success of the weekend, Leufrancois shared, “I am continuously impressed by the level of polo and organization of the [Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup]. This event attracts teams and players from [across] Texas in a friendly, yet competitive setting right outside of Austin. Thank you [to the] Central Texas Polo Association. We can’t wait to compete again next year!”

Best Playing Pony was awarded to Katniss, played and owned by Will Walton.
Best Playing Pony was awarded to Katniss, played and owned by Will Walton.

Playing in his first outdoor USPA tournament, Marcus Murphy was named Most Valuable Player for his defensive contributions. Best Playing Pony was awarded to Katniss, played and owned by Will Walton. Celebrating the importance of fostering healthy competition in the Southwestern Circuit Sportsmanship Cup, the Sportsmanship Award was presented to Karl Hilberg for his continued positive attitude, fairness and support for his peers on and off the field.

The Sportsmanship Award was awarded to Karl Hilberg, presented by Oak Bend Farm Sponsor Chris Ballard.
The Sportsmanship Award winner Karl Hilberg, presented by Oak Bend Farm Sponsor Chris Ballard.

All images courtesy of ©David Murrell.

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