Article and Photos Courtesy of ©CLICKPOLOUSA
“WE LEARNED A LOT”
Jared Zenni and Agustin Obregon finished their run in the Palermo Argentine Open, and even though La Cañada lost all four matches, they were very happy with the experience.
Jared Zenni and Agustin Obregon’s year has been amazing when it comes to polo. It started with Daily Racing Form’s victory in the U.S. Open Polo Championship®, and finished with their debut in the Palermo Argentine Open, with La Cañada. Even though they lost the four matches of the tournament and the four matches of the Hurlingham Open, it involved two intense months where they learned a lot. “It was a great program and a dream come true. I had fun in every match and I felt like I learned a lot, I’m very happy,” said Jared Zenni to CLICKPOLOUSA after his team’s 20-5 loss against Ellerstina last Tuesday, December 4. “Qualifying for Palermo is always positive, so that’s nice. No one likes losing, but having made it this far is amazing,” said Agustin Obregon.
Both used the same word: learning. “Playing in Argentina is a different style of polo that I’ve only been playing for a couple years,” commented Zenni. “I’m having a hard time getting the hang of it but I feel like I’m managing, little by little. It’s a matter of speed, passing more, being closer to the man and being aware that the game has a faster pace,” he continued. Obregon had similar thoughts: “I learned a lot, it’s a whole different speed, different polo. It’s so much different from what I’ve played before.”
“We finished, but we want to come back and try to be in the top eight. First, we’ll try to qualify and play it again, you have to keep playing good polo to be a better player. I hope we can slowly start getting more involved with this polo, it’ll be great for the next generation to grow,” said Zenni. “I play a lot in the U.S.,” Obregon commented. “I think that having Jared and Nic [Roldan] playing here is great motivation for any Americans who want to come and improve here. Jared had a lot of support from the USPA, so that was very positive. I hope other polo players dare to do what he did.” Jared and Agustin will never forget this year, when a dream came true: they had their debut in the Palermo Argentine Open.
NIC ROLDAN’S MATCH OF THE YEAR
Nic Roldan’s La Albertina Abu Dhabi played their third game in the Palermo Argentine Open: against Las Monjitas, the third favorite team. Even if the match was close, Las Monjitas (Facundo Sola, Hilario Ulloa, Sapo Caset, Santiago Toccalino) widened the gap at the end and won 16-11.
It was an expected result for La Albertina Abu Dhabi (Nic Roldan, Francisco Elizalde, Ignacio Toccalino, Alfredo Cappella), just like their loss against Ellerstina and their victory over La Cañada. The match of the year, for La Albertina Abu Dhabi, took place this past Sunday, December 9, against Cria Yatay. The winner of which qualified to play the Hurlingham Open and Palermo Argentine Open in 2019, while the loser will play an elimination match against the Camara de Diputados champions for the same right. Cria Yatay (Valerio “Lerin” Zubiaurre, Cristian Laprida, Joaquin Pittaluga, Inaki Laprida) won the match between them in the Hurlingham Open… but in overtime! According to The Morning Line, “…Cria Yatay and La Albertina Abu Dhabi played an even, very physical game that went the way of Cria Yatay on the last play, 13-12.”
“OUR GOAL IS TO GAIN EXPERIENCE”
The Second Women’s Argentine Open started, with the first few matches played at the Argentine Association of Polo’s venue in Pilar, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, with four teams between 24 and 32 goals of women’s handicap playing for the title.
The first two matches, played on Monday, December 3, pitched Santa María de Lobos, which had three American players (Dawn Jones, Paige McCabe, Courtney Asdourian) joined by Tiva Gross, from Kenya, against the very strong El Overo Z/UAE (last year’s finalist), which made great use of the individual handicap advantage (seven goals difference) and their experience playing together to take a 17-3 victory over six chukkers.
“We are learning with every play, every action. That’s our goal, to gain experience and grow polo for us and every woman who wants to play it,” said Dawn Jones, team owner of the United States’ San Saba.
The other match had La Dolfina Brava (reigning champion, with 10-goaler Nina Clarkin on the team) solidly defeating the all-British Alegria/HPA 1875, 17-2. In the second set of matches played, Thursday, December 6, in a rematch of last year’s final El Overo Z/UAE came out on top against La Dolfina Brava 10-9, while the two evenly-handicap 24-goal teams met, Alegria/HPA 1875 edging past Santa María de Lobos 10-8.
El Overo Z/UAE remained undefeated as play continued on Sunday, December 9, defeating Alegria/HPA 1875 16-4. La Dolfina Brava overtook Santa María de Lobos 15-0. In the subsidiary final on Monday, December 10, Alegria/HPA 1875 and Santa María de Lobos once again met, Alegria/HPA 1875 securing the upper hand early to claim third place 10-4. A repeat of last year’s final, El Overo Z/UAE (Clara Cassino, Hazel Jackson-Gaona, Lia Salvo, Sarah Wiseman) will take on La Dolfina Brava (Mia Cambiaso, Milagros Fernandez Araujo, Candelaria Fernandez, Nina Clarkin) as the opening act for the men’s final on Saturday, December 15 to determine the Women’s Argentine Open Champions.