By Darlene Ricker
It came as no surprise that the finalists in the 123rd Hurlingham Open will be perpetual rivals Ellerstina and La Dolfina. The unpredictable part of this weekend’s semifinals was how even the play and how close the scores were.
In a near parallel to La Dolfina’s close win over El Paraíso on Saturday, Ellerstina Johor took a two-goal victory over Alegría Assist Card on Sunday (16-14). Ellerstina led throughout, except for the second chukka, which ended with a tie at 4.
The second half opened with Ellerstina leading 8-5. Alegría shaved their opponent’s lead down to one at the close of both the fifth chukka (10-9) and the seventh (14-13). At one minute 58 seconds into the final chukka, Rodrigo Ribeiro de Andrade subbed for Nico Pieres. Facundo Pieres socked in two goals and Guillermo “Sapo” Caset countered with one, ending the match 16-14 for Ellerstina.
Facundo Pieres was game high-scorer with nine goals (three penalty). Caset and Hilario Ulloa were a scoring machine for Alegría, accounting for seven and six goals respectively. Four of Ulloa’s goals were from the penalty line.
The final takes place Wednesday on field 1 at the Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires.