December 7th, 2013 Add comment
Argentine Open again goes to La Dolfina with 16-11 result against Alegría
Cambiaso’s team clinches its first Triple Crown
By Melito Cerezo /AAP
Following a month of polo at its highest level, the 120th Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo HSBC came to an end this Saturday (December 7th), with La Dolfina Hope Funds defeating Alegría Sancor Seguros on the centre field at Palermo. This victory marked La Dolfina’s seventh Argentine Open title.
With the Campo Argentino de Polo packed with spectators from quite a time before the start of the match, the teams created by Adolfo Cambiaso and Canada’s Frederick Mannix played a frenetic- paced match, with the spectators cheering the players on at all times, in view of some terrific moves.
The pre-event general opinion was that La Dolfina, after its performance this year, would be able to claim a relatively comfortable victory against Alegría, a team that had been impressive in its previous matches at Palermo, after some ups-and- downs at the Tortugas and Hurlingham Opens. However, Juan Martín Nero’s injury (a broken thumb) during last weekend’s match and his replacement by Sebastián Merlos –another great and highly seasoned player who has already won this Open- meant a question mark that could give the Alegría some hope.
Those speculations seemed sustainable towards half-time: La Dolfina, winners of the two previous Opens this year at Tortugas and Hurlingham, were 5-3 ahead by the end of the second chukker, until Alegría then made up for lost ground in the third and lay even at 5-all (after having been losing 5-1), and continuing level at the end of the following chukker, 8-8.
After the longest resting period, Hilario Ulloa scored a goal from the field, with which Alegría was 9-8 ahead for the only time in the afternoon, until Cambiaso turned things round with two penalty conversions of his, allowing his team to regain its previous advantage on the scoreboard. David Stirling later scored what would be the only goal of the sixth chukker.
The penultimate chukker saw La Dolfina 11-9 ahead, and that was the key chukker to the match’s outcome: Pablo Pieres had the chance of reducing the difference again to one goal, but he missed a 30-yard penalty and later on a corner shot, which meant that La Dolfina was able to begin the final seven minutes ahead by 13-10. With that goal-margin there were already some celebrations from the team’s supporters and fans, because although a three-goal lead can rapidly evaporate, nobody had doubts as to whethter Cambiaso & Co. would be able to mantain the advantage. Which is what happened: Pablo Mac Donough scored two goals more and Cambiaso another one, while Ulloa was Alegría’s only scorer in this chukker, leading to a 16-11 win that handed the Triple Crown to La Dolfina for the first time.
Despite the initial doubts and Merlos’ gradual start, the championship-winning team showed why this adjective fits it perfectly, because of its forcefulness, its individual talents and its herd of horses. As expected, Alegría played another great match and, with no major pressure on its shoulders, went all out for victory. Only some errors at the end of the seventh chukker and at the beginning of the eighth led to the difference on the scoreboard.
Pablo Pieres and Adolfo Cambiaso were the day’s top scorers, with nine goals each. Pablo Pieres was named MVP of the final, having become the highest scorer of the tournament (42 goals). On their part, Cambiaso’s horses received the prize corresponding to the best horses of the tournament and of the final, and one of his ponies, Chocolate, was named Best Playing Pony.
It had already been mentioned during the week leading up to this match: no matter what the final scoreboard reading was, this would be a historic final. And without a doubt, it was: the first triple Crown for the top La Dolfina team, Alegría’s first final, the ninth title at Palermo for Cambiaso, and the definite acclaim for Polito Pieres in the high-handicap division.
By David Cattaneo, Argentina Correspondent
Saturday, November 16th
Ellerstina Piaget 23 vs. Chapaleufú Lange 14
Alegría Sancor Seguros 16 vs. La Aguada ICBC 13
Sunday, November 17th
La Dolfina Hope Funds 15 vs. Magual 9
La Natividad Amarok 15 vs. La Aguada Las Monjitas 14
Saturday, November 23rd
Alegría Sancor Seguros 19 vs. Chapaleufú Lange 16
Ellerstina Piaget 14 vs. La Aguada ICBC 13
Sunday, November 24th
La Natividad Amarok 12 vs. Magual 14
La Dolfina Hope Funds 15 vs. La Aguada Las Monjitas ICBC 10
Saturday, November 30th
La Aguada ICBC 19 vs. Chapaleufú Lange 17
Ellerstina Piaget 15 vs. Alegría Sancor Seguros 19
Sunday, December 1st
La Aguada Las Monjitas ICBC 15 vs. Magual 8
La Dolfina Hope Funds 20 vs. La Natividad Amarok 13
Saturday, December 8th
La Dolfina Hope Funds 16 vs. Alegría Sancor Seguros 11
Facundo Pieres 10
Gonzalo Pieres, Jr. 10
Mariano Aguerre 10
Nicolás Pieres 9
Alegría Sancor Seguros
Pablo Pieres 8
Hilario Ulloa 9
Lucas Monteverde, Jr. 9
Frederick Mannix, Jr. 8 Total: 34
La Aguada ICBC
Facundo Sola 8
Guillermo Terrera, Jr. 7
Miguel Novillo Astrada 9
Ignatius Du Plessis 7
Alberto Heguy, Jr. 7
Francisco Elizalde 7
Bautista Heguy 8
Eduardo Heguy 8
La Dolfina Hope Funds
Adolfo Cambiaso, Jr. 10
David Stirling, Jr. 9
Pablo Mac Donough 10
Juan Martín Nero 10 (to be replaced in final by Sebastián Merlos, 9 goals)
Total: 39 (38)
La Natividad Amarok
Guillermo Caset, Jr. 9
Ignacio Heguy 9
Rodrigo Ribeiro de Andrade 8
Bartolomé Castagnola 9
La Aguada Las Monjitas ICBC
Lucas James 8
Cristián Laprida, Jr. 8
Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Jr. 9
Alejandro Novillo Astrada 8
Alejandro Muzzio 8
Ignacio Toccalino 8
Marcos Di Paola 8
Jaime García Huidobro 8