In one of the most expected clashes of the year, La Dolfina Saudi and RS Murus Sanctus rode onto the field to play the first semfinal of the Hurlingham Open, in the Alfredo Lalor Headquarters of the Argentine Polo Association, in Pilar.
And what a match the world has seen! Curiously, it was almost a replica of that semifinal of the Hurlingham Open, back in 2017, when Alegria, with Facundo Sola and Sapo Caset in the lineup, edged La Dolfina from the final, after an exciting game that ended up in extra chukka.
Now, in 2020 it was the same situation, but unlike 2017, all was said and done in regulation time. Newcomers RS Murus Sanctus overwhelmed title holders La Dolfina Saudi and took an impressive 16-12 win, to earn the first place in the final of the Hurlingham Open.
La Dolfina Saudi had a stronger start, with a score of 3-1 at the end of the first chukka. But RS Murus Sanctus bounced back quickly and the match turned into a very balanced contest. RS Murus Sanctus displayed a solid team work which took them to tie at 6-all in the second chukka. They claimed their first lead by half time, 8-7, after a powerful neckshot pass from Alfredo Cappella to Sapo Caset, who drove the ball into the goalposts.
The crucial part of the second half was the fifth chukka, when RS Murus Sanctus managed to dominate La Dolfina, and earned a 11-8 advantage. There were plenty of great goals and plays through the perfect combination between Facu Sola and Sapo Caset, supported by the crucial contributions by Alfredo Cappella and MVP Fran Elizalde.
Thoroghout the last two chukkas, RS Murus Sanctus battled hard to maintain the lead, against a fierce La Dolfina Saudi foursome, who never gave up. Three unanswered goals by the Cañuelas-based team, split between Cambiaso father and son, closed the gap to two goals (13-9). But it was Sapo Caset once again who replied quickly, and within the last seconds in the chukka, he scored to secure RS Murus Sanctus a convincing 14-11 lead, with only one chukka remaining.
Facu Sola opened the scores in that decisive chukka, to widen the advantage to 15-11, while Pablo MacDonough maintained La Dolfina Saudi’s hopes alive after a 30-yards penalty conversion. But a determined RS Murus Sanctus fought back; two extraordinary goals by Fran Elizalde and Sapo Caset sealed the deal, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, RS Murus Sanctus advanced to the final of the Triple Crown, in their first ever season within the Triple Crown in Argentina.
Meanwhile, earlier in the morning, La Ensenada La Aguada (received 2.5 goals on handicap) beat Los Machitos 12.5-11 and advanced to the final of the Subsidiary Drysdale Cup. It is worth noting that the last time the Drysdale Cup has been played as a Subsidiary of the Hurlingham Open, was in 2002, and La Irenita claimed the trophy.
THE SUMMARY OF THE FIRST ROUND OF SEMIFINALS
- SEMIFINAL HURLINGHAM OPEN
RS Murus Sanctus: Facundo Sola 9 (4 goals), Francisco Elizalde 8 (5), Guillermo Caset Jr. 10 (7, four penalties) (received a yellow card in the fourth chukka), Alfredo Cappella Barabucci 8. Total: 35.
La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10 (6, three penalties and one corner) (Received two yellow cards in the sixth chukka), Poroto Cambiaso 6 (2), Pablo Mac Donough 10 (4, two penalties), Ignacio Laprida 8. Total: 34.
Score RS Murus Sanctus: 1-3, 2-4, 6-6, 8-7, 11-8, 14-11, 16-12.
Umpires: Gastón Lucero and Martín Pascual. Third Man: Guillermo Villanueva (h).
- SEMIFINAL DRYSDALE CUP
La Ensenada-La Aguada: Segundo Bocchino 6 (3 goals), Alfredo Bigatti 8, Alejandro Muzzio 8, Jerónimo Del Carril 7 (7, six penalties). Total: 29.
Los Machitos: Agustín Merlos 8 (3), Ignacio Toccalino 8 (5), Tomás García del Río 7 (2, one penalty), Santiago Toccalino 8 (1) (received a yellow card in the second chukka). Total: 31.
Score La Ensenada-La Aguada: (2 ½-0) 4 ½-3, 7 ½-3, 8 ½-5, 9 ½-6, 11 ½-7, 11 ½-10, 12 ½-11.
Umpires: Matías Baibiene and Rafael Silva. Third Man: Esteban Ferrari.