Defending champions secure 11-9 win over La Dolfina Saudi
Saturday 16 October, saw La Dolfina and Ellerstina meet in The Tortugas Open Final for the eleventh consecutive year, with Ellerstina aiming to defend their title. Ellerstina had to replace an injured Hilario Ulloa with Matías Torres Zavaleta and La Dolfina seemed to take advantage of this early on and by the third chukka were leading 5-3; however, Ellerstina turned the tables with a 5-0 goal run – led by top scorer of the day and the tournament, Facundo Pieres, with 29 goals in three matches.
This out-performance by Ellerstina in the fourth and fifth chukkas proved crucial and as the sixth chukka ended the scores rested on 10-7 in favour of the double title holders – could they make it a hat-trick?Yet, La Dolfina are not a team to take a three goal deficit as the be all and end all and they fought back with alacrity in the seventh chukka, scoring back to back goals to bring the scores within just one goal, 10-9. Whispers of a tie pushing the match into over-time whipped around, but great teamwork between Zavaleta and Gonzalito Pieres saw another goal for Ellerstina and with it The Tortugas Open title for their third year in a row, as well as their thirteenth overall win in the opening tournament of The Argentine Triple Crown.
This victory also means that the Pieres brothers have secured their tenth Tortugas title, Nico Pieres his fifth and for Zavaleta his first Triple Crown title; this means that Facundo and Gonzalito are only one title behind the top winners of The Tortugas Open to date – Pablo Mac Donough and Alberto Heguy, who hold 11 apiece. Zavaleta was chosen as the Most Valuable Player, Gete Origami, played by Adolofo Cambiaso and owned by Nicky Sen, was the Best Playing Pony and the Best Polo Argentino Bred was Irentia Harinosa, played by Pelón Stirling and owned by Valiente Polo.
The Tortugas Open Final Teams:
Ellerstina (37): Facundo Pieres (10), Matías Torres Zavaleta (8), Gonzalito Pieres (9) & Nicolás Pieres (10)
La Dolfina Saudi (38): Adolfo Cambiaso (10), Francisco Elizalde (9), David ‘Pelón’ Stirling (10) & Diego Cavanagh (9)
Photograph: Ellerstina celebrate their victory alongside injured teammate, Hilario Ulloa. By Prensa AAP/Matias Callejo