La Natividad defeated La Hache La Roca 15-10 and claimed the 83rd. Tortugas Open for the Emilio Anchorena Cup, following a remarkable championship match, that took place on Saturday October 28, on a sunny spring afternoon at Tortugas Country Club. The Tortugas Open is the second leg of the prestigious Argentine Triple Crown and preceeds the 130th. Argentine Polo Open, which is due to start on Tuesday October 31, in Pilar.
Therefore, the lineup composed by the Castagnola brothers, Barto and Jeta, Facundo Pieres and Pablo MacDonough, won the title for the second consecutive year. Moreover, Pablo MacDonough was the man of the day – the victory marked his 12th. title in Tortugas, which means no less that he claimed the Tortugas Open more than any other player. He overcame Alberto Pedro Heguy who won it 11 times, a record he now shares with Facundo Pieres. It’s worth to notice, as well, that Ignacio Novillo Astrada won the Tortugas Open three times – in 2003 and 2004 playing for La Aguada, and now, in 2023, as La Natividad’s coach.
The match had very balanced first three chukkas, with a slight advantage for La Natividad when Jeta Castagnola, the final’s most outstanding player, converted a corner to put his team 4-3 ahead. Following a 6-all in the third chukka, the green jerseys re-took the narrow lead, while La Hache La Roca remained on their tail, led by remarkable performances by Hilario Ulloa and Fran Elizalde – the latter perhaps one of the best players of this season so far, and who was very accurate on penalty conversions.
La Natividad took off in the sixth chukka, when they claimed a two goal lead (11-9), courtesy of Facundo Pieres and the indomitable Jeta Castagnola. They seized the reins in a memorable seventh chukka, when they outscored La Hache La Roca 3-0; with one chukka left, La Natividad had a comfortable five goals lead (14-9), that left them one step away from the title. And that was it – one more goal in the last chukka was enough. It was Pablo MacDonough who produced the goal that secured the Cañuelas-based lineup their second consecutive title in the Tortugas Open and the one that made him the player who won this tournament more than anyone else.
83rd. TORTUGAS OPEN – FINAL – SATURDAY OCTOBER 28
LA NATIVIDAD 15-10 LA HACHE LA ROCA
La Natividad: Facundo Pieres 9 (2 goals), Camilo Castagnola 10 (9, one penalty, one corer), Pablo Mac Donough 10 (2), Bartolomé Castagnola Jr. 10 (2). Total: 39.
La Hache La Roca: Pablo Pieres 9 (1 goal), Hilario Ulloa 9 (4, one penalty), Guillermo Caset 9 (1 Penalty 1), Francisco Elizalde 9 (4 penales). Total: 36.
Score La Natividad: 2-2, 4-3, 6-6, 8-7, 9-8, 11-9, 14-9, 15-10.
Umpires: Gastón Lucero & Guillermo Villanueva. Third man: José Ignacio Araya.
MVP: Camilo Castagnola.
BPP, presented by the AAP: Wickford Santa Ana, ridden by Camilo Castagnola.
Best Polo Argentino Bred, presented by the Argentine Polo Pony Breeders Assn.: Lovelocks Drogba, ridden by Bartolomé Castagnola Jr.
Cover photo by Matías Callejo / Prensa AAP.