Semi Finalists decided after two rounds of qualifiers
There was no rest for the high goalers out in Argentina as Tuesday 20 October saw the first two games of the Hurlingham Open take place on the Association fields in Pilar. Just three days after the big Tortugas Final, La Dolfina had little time to celebrate their victory before starting all over again with their first match against newcomers Washington Ghantoot. With a handicap difference of nine goals between the two teams, La Dolfina had little problem in defeating the Washington side, winning the match with 22 goals to 12. The second match of the afternoon was much more closely fought with La Aguada and La Aguada Las Monjitas evenly matched throughout, resulting in a narrow 13-12 win to La Aguada.
A series of very tight matches followed on Wednesday 21 October as the first round of the Zone B qualifying matches got underway. It was a close call for Ellerstina as they beat Magual by just two goals in a surprisingly well contested match, with a final score of 15-13. Over on the other field, Chapaleufú finished just one goal down to Alegría, and the score was 19-18 after a slow match, littered with fouls.
With elections looming in Argentina, the matches were packed in tightly; the second round of Zone A qualifying matches starting Friday 23 October. A tough match between La Aguada and Washington Ghantoot was fraught with fouls, accidents and injuries. Guillermo Terrera took a hard fall just before half-time followed quickly by an injury for Diego Cavanagh. When Terrera was hit in the face with a ball in the last chukka it seemed like the match would go to an extra chukka but a last minute goal by La Aguada meant a 13-12 win to them, making La Aguada the first team through to the Semi Finals. La Dolfina, still on flying form, defeated La Aguada Las Monjitas by a huge 18-7 margin, securing their place in the Semi Finals.
On Saturday 24 October a chilly wind froze the many spectators gathered to watch Alegría play Magual in what turned out to be a fast paced and exciting challenge. Despite determined play by Magual, Alegría were able to remain dominant throughout the game, eventually winning 15-14 and moving in to the Semi Finals. The second match of the day saw Chapeleufú, with Julián de Lusarreta in for an injured Bautista Heguy, take on the boys in black, Ellerstina. A valiant effort from the Chapaleufú side was not enough to stem the stream of goals by the Pieres team who scored 17 goals to Chapaleufú’s 10. Ellerstina’s double win makes them the last team in to the Semi Finals.
As the Hurlingham Open continues, keep up to date with live match updates on twitter from our overseas reporter in Argentina.
The Hurlingham Open Semi Final teams:
La Aguada (34): Agustín Merlos (8), Guillermo Terrera, Jr. (8), Guillermo Caset, Jr. (9) & Ignacio Novillo Astrada (9)
Alegría (35): Cristian Laprida, Jr. (8), Hilario Ulloa (9), Lucas Monteverde, Jr. (9) & Frederick Mannix, Jr. (9)
La Dolfina (40): Adolfo Cambiaso (10), David Stirling, Jr. (10), Pablo Mac Donough (10) & Juan Martín Nero (10)
Ellerstina (39): Pablo Pieres (10), Nicolás Pieres (9), Gonzalito Pieres (10) & Facundo Pieres (10)
Photograph: Alejandro Novillo Astrada takes a big hit in for La Aguada Las Monjitas. By Katie Vickery