Wet conditions in Pilar forced the first game of the day to be relocated to the Ellerstina Polo Field as Ellerstina displayed a strong team performance to defeat La Esquina Los Machitos 15-8 and move to 2-0 in the 2017 Hurlingham Open.
A balanced offensive attack created difficulties for La Esquina Los Machitos as Polito and Gonzalito Pieres were able to break away for runs throughout the game, finishing with four goals each from the field. After losing the throw-in battle in the first two chukkas, Ellerstina won 13 of the last 19 throw-ins, providing all four Pieres’ with the opportunity to attack downfield. Ultimately, the strong game in the #1 position for Polito Pieres helped Ellerstina stretch the La Esquina LM defence and provided Ellerstina with the offensive chances they needed to control open play, while limiting the chances of La Esquina LM by only committing three fouls for the game.
Ellerstina held La Esquina LM to zero shots in the opening chukka while Nico and Facundo Pieres scored one goal each for Ellerstina to gain the early 2-0 lead. The 2nd chukka saw the emergence of Polito Pieres in the game as he converted both of his shot attempts for his first two goals of the game. With Polito playing at a high level, La Esquina LM had to adjust, keeping Rodrigo Rueda and Mariano Aguerre in a more defensive position. Rodrigo Andrade opened the scoring for La Esquina LM, but by the end of chukka 2, Ellerstina had extended their lead to 6-1.
In their best chukka of the game, La Esquina utilized the hard work of Andrade to generate offense as a goal each from Pascual Sainz de Vicuna and Rueda, cut the deficit to four goals. Ellerstina quickly responded in the following chukka, highlighted by Polito’s 4th goal of the game, as he stole the ball on Aguerre’s knock-in, right in front of the La Esquina LM goal. Along with goals from Facundo and Gonzalito, Ellerstina took a 10-4 lead into halftime.
Facundo Pieres sealed the game for Ellerstina in the 5th chukka, scoring three goals, two from the field and one from the penalty line to extend Ellerstina’s lead to 13-5. La Esquina LM’s Aguerre and Andrade converted their shot attempt in the 6th chukka, but Ellerstina had built up a large enough lead that they were able to maintain their advantage and finish with the convincing 15-8 victory.
Alegria vs La Albertina/Abu Dhabi
The 12th game of the 2017 Hurlingham Open saw a defensive battle between Alegria and La Albertina/Abu Dhabi, that required overtime as Alegria finished with the 8-7 victory at Hurlingham Polo Club.
In a back and forth affair that saw a tie score at six different points in the game, Alegria overcame the impressive defensive effort from an La Albertina team that held Alegria to 5 for 19 (26%) shooting. La Albertina was effective at preventing Sapo Caset and Hilario Ulloa from getting behind the defence and used numerous backhands to reverse the play. Often forced to shoot from distance, Alegria had difficulty converting their chances but were able to take advantage of six fouls in the final three chukkers from La Albertina, to convert their final three penalty attempts.
The opening two chukkas were a precursor for the rest of the game as both teams shot 1 for 3 from the field in the first chukka and went scoreless in the 2nd chukka as Sapo Caset and Santiago Toccalino scored the lone goal for their respective teams. Alegria and La Albertina alternated the first nine goals of the game with neither team able to break away.
Continuing to use their fast paced passing attack, Alegria looked downfield for Caset and Ulloa but the back line of Alfredo Cappella and Santiago Toccalino were effective containing the elite duo. La Albertina discovered some momentum towards the end of the 1st half as Cappella finished off to individual efforts to tie the low-scoring game at 3-3 after the first four chukkas.
La Albertina’s Santiago Toccalino scored his 2nd goal of the game on a penalty 2 conversion to give his team their first lead of the game at 4-3 as La Albertina had their sights set on an upset. Alegria fought back, dominating the 6th chukka, outshooting La Albertina 5-0, but were only able to convert one of those five shot attempts. Along with a penalty conversion from Caset, Alegria regained the lead with one chukka remaining.
The 7th chukka did not disappoint, as two goals from Caset weren’t enough to propel Alegria to victory as La Albertina’s resilience kept them in the game. Cappella answered a Caset goal with a goal directly from the following throw-in added two penalty conversions, including a final penalty 2 conversion to send the game into overtime.
The extra chukka was quickly decided as an Alegria attack was stopped by La Albertina close to go but Caset drew the foul on the lose ball, resulting in a penalty 2, which Caset converted to send his team to the 8-7 victory.