The 129th. Argentine Open resumed on Saturday November 12, at Palermo. Reigning champions, La Natividad and La Irenita Grand Champions, runner up of the last Hurlingham Open, were victorious over La Hache and La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus, respectively. The highlight of the Argentine season and the most important tournament in the world sees ten teams, up to 39 goals, compete.
The opening match saw current title holders, La Natividad, against La Hache, one of the two teams who qualified to play at Palermo. Joaquín Pittaluga scored twice to secure the 2-1 lead for La Hache in the first chukka, while Jeta Castagnola scored La Natividad’s single goals. But things would change from the second chukka onwards, when La Natividad bounced back, led by the lethal duo, Jeta and Barto Castagnola, while Joaquín Pittaluga remained as La Hache’s top scorer. Barto and Jeta were joined by Polito Pieres in an spectacular fourth chukka – La Natividad outscored La Hache 4-1, and by half time they were 9-4 up.
The second half belonged to La Natividad; they produced several goals, based on their great team performance as well as individual. There’s not much La Hache could do to stop the Castagnolas & Co. By the start of the last chukka, the seal was almost said and done – La Natividad had a commanding 18-5. Jeta Castagnola (2) and Polito Pieres added their goals to claim an impressive 21-5 win.
The follow-up, was one match to watch – the clash of two unbeaten, powerful lineups, La Irenita Grand Champions and La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus. Everybody expected to be a hard fought, balanced contest… and so it proved.
La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus got off to a stronger start – they took La Irenita by surprise, with four unanswered goals, by Sapo Caset (2), Facundo Sola and Jerónimo del Carril, in order to earn a quick 4-0 lead in the first chukka. Pablo MacDonough scored in the second but Sapo Caset widened his team’s lead to 5-2.
Everything would change in the third chukka. Pablo & Co. made a comeback, and tied at 5-all with two field goals by Fran Elizalde. Those two were followed by a penalty conversion by Juan Britos, that secured La Irenita their first lead within the game. The early 4-0 in the first chukka was already long forgotten; by half time, they secured a 8-5 advantage, after Fran Elizalde and Juan Martín Zubía scored a couple of remarkable goals.
Meanwhile, La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus would be back in the game in the fifth, after two scoreless chukkas. While Jero del Carril and Facundo Sola scored two consecutive goals, La Irenita still remained firmly in the lead, thanks to goals by Pablo MacDonough in the fifth, and Juan Britos in the sixth. Despite they were struggling three goals behind (7-10), La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus still had a couple of chukkas ahead to make a comeback.
Sapo Caset closed the gap at the start of the seventh chukka; both teams fought hard to keep the ball and run to the goalposts, but La Irenita managed to retain their three goal advantage, following another spectacular goal by Fran Elizalde in the last minute within the seventh chukka. La Irenita had a significant advantage but La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus were not about to give up that easily – they managed to bounce back in the last chukka until they closed the gap to just one goal, with only one minute remaining in regulation time (11-12). And if that wasn’t enough drama, the match had to be stopped for a while after a collision between Jero del Carril and Fran Elizalde, with fortunately caused no damage to the players. The game re-started with less than a minute left; so Juan Britos picked the ball and put the ice on the cake to secure La Irenita Grand Champions the 13-11 win; indeed, a crucial win, in order to decide League A.
129th. ARGENTINE OPEN – SATURDAY NOVEMBER 13
LA NATIVIDAD 21-5 LA HACHE
La Natividad: Camilo Castagnola 10 (11 goals, 5 penalties, 1 corner), Pablo Pieres 10 (7, 1 penalty), Bartolomé Castagnola Jr. 10 (2), Ignatius du Plessis 9 (1). Total: 39.
La Hache Perpool: Juan Ruiz Guiñazú 8, Carlos María Ulloa 6 (1 goal), Santiago Cernadas 7, Joaquín Pittaluga 7 (4, 2 penalties). Total: 28.
Score La Natividad: 1-2, 3-2, 5-3, 9-4, 13-4, 15-5, 18-5, 21-5.
Umpires: Guillermo Villanueva & Gonzalo López Vargas. Third man: Martín Aguerre.
LA IRENITA GRAND CHAMPIONS 13-11 LA ENSENADA RS MURUS SANCTUS
La Irenita Grand Champions: Juan Britos 9 (4 goals, 3 penalties), Francisco Elizalde 9 (4), Pablo Mac Donough 10 (3, 1 penalty), Juan Martín Zubía 8 (2). Total: 36.
La Ensenada RS Murus Sanctus: Facundo Sola 8 (4 goals), Alfredo Bigatti 9, Guillermo Caset 9 (5, 2 penalties), Jerónimo del Carril 8 (2). Total: 34.
Score La Irenita Grand Champions: 0-4, 2-5, 5-5, 8-5, 9-7, 10-7, 11-8, 13-11.
Umpires: Gastón Lucero & Martín Pascual. Third man: José Ignacio Araya.
The 129th. Argentine Open will continue on Sunday November 13, with the following order of play:
2pm: ELLERSTINA vs. LA ESQUINA
Ellerstina: Facundo Pieres 10, Hilario Ulloa 9, Gonzalo Pieres Jr. 9, Nicolás Pieres 10. Total: 38.
La Esquina: Pascual Sáinz de Vicuña 6, Cristian Laprida8, Lucas James 7, Ignacio Laprida 8. Total: 29.
Umpires: Guillermo Villanueva & Hernán Tasso. Third man: José Ignacio Araya.
4,30pm: LA DOLFINA SAUDI vs. CRÍA LA DOLFINA
La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10, David Stirling 10, Adolfo Cambiaso Jr. 9, Juan Martín Nero 10. Total: 39.
Cría La Dolfina: Guillermo Terrera 9, Tomás Panelo 8, Diego Cavanagh 8, Alejo Taranco 8. Total: 33.
Umpires: Matías Baibiene & Gastón Lucero. Third man: Martín Pascual.
The final of the 129th Argentine Open is set to be played on Friday, December 2.