Lucchese, on the brink of elimination a week ago, has put itself on the brink of a fourth consecutive championship in the Bombardier Pacific Coast Open, the prestigious climax of the high-goal polo season at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
Lucchese and ERG square off in the trophy match at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 1.
Going into last Sunday’s matches, Lucchese was 0-2 in the three-week-long tournament. But by eking out a 13-12 victory over Farmers and Merchants Bank, the defending champions took the last berth in the semifinals, and on Thursday they knocked off previously unbeaten Restoration Hardware, 12-9. ERG outscored La Herradura 12-10 in the other semifinal.
Lucchese, named after team owner John Muse’s boot company, won the last three PCO titles with Adolfo Cambiaso, an Argentine regarded in many quarters as the world’s top polo player. This summer, with Cambiaso playing in Spain, Lucchese replaced him with Pelon Stirling, a Uruguayan who has achieved a 10-goal rating, the highest possible.
With its new lineup, Lucchese failed to make the finals of every tournament leading up to the PCO. La Herradura won El Encanto Classic I; Farmers and Merchants took the title of El Encanto II and the Piaget Silver Cup; Mansour (later adopting the Restoration Hardware name) won the America Cup.
Scott Wood’s ERG team also has made its first final of the season. It has a well-balanced attack led by eight-goaler Paco de Narvaez.