Second title for La Natividad!

The perfect scenario: 10-10, when the two teams entered the cancha for the final chukker after a botched seventh period for La Natividad in the words of its captain, Pablo McDonough. The suspense was just right to round off a magnificent match in which both quartets put on a great show of fast, fluid polo. A huge Cambiaso once again, but this year he will not be adding another chapter to his legend. No 16th title for La Dolfina and no 19th Abierto for Cambiaso. Will he add to his tally next year?

After a soporific women’s final, the final of the 130th Argentine Open seemed short, such was the quality of play. With little or no down time, few fouls (only 4 penalties converted), each of the eight protagonists really brought out the best in their polo: a “partidazo” as the Argentinians say. Two teams that were clearly better than one another, and in the end it all came down to the final period, even though La Natividad had led most of the time. But the chemistry between two experienced players aged 37 and 41, Facundo Pieres (who had played Cambiaso 13 times in the final) and Pablo McDonough (who had won against and with La Dolfina) and the two prodigies aged 22 and 20, Barto and Jeta Castagnola, worked. Pablo (MVP) organized the game and most of the goals were the result of teamwork, with everyone scoring. For once, it wasn’t Jeta Castognola who scored all La Natividad’s goals: just 4, but that didn’t stop him from finishing top scorer in the tournament with 38 goals, as he had done at Hurlingham and Tortugas (94 goals in all). Poroto Cambiaso, on the other hand, provided the bulk of the scoring with 7 of La Dolfina’s 10 goals, including an 80-yard golazo at 9-10.

The future?

There are no clues as to what will happen next for La Dolfina, or the make-up of La Natividad 2024. What will Cambiaso decide at the age of 48? Will he stick with it? Will he ‘free’ Poroto to join his cousins? And who would pay the price for La Natividad? Pablo McDonough, the main architect of Sunday’s victory in Palermo? There are rumors, but these are just rumors, that Cambiaso would reunite the great Dolfina of nine victories with Pelon Stirling, Juan Martin Nero and Pablo Mac Donough to end his career on a high. With 18 wins from 27 finals, the GOAT is still chasing the records set by Juan-Carlos Harriott (20) and Horacio Antonio Heguy (19). The next few weeks are going to be exciting.

Women’s Abierto: two chukkers and then the beautiful game leaves!

While some of the qualifying matches in the Women’s Open showed good play and a clear progression in women’s polo, the final was not the showcase. After two periods full of promise, notably with golazos from Hazel Jackson (El Overo Z7), the rest resembled French arthouse cinema. Fouls aplenty (17 penalties converted, including 10 for Cande Fernandez out of La Dolfina’s 12 goals – that’s a lot) and few exciting moves. What we will remember most about this final is the victory of a 100% non-Argentine team with three English players and one American, Hope Arellano, who made a big impression throughout the tournament. Will the universalisation of polo involve women? Let’s hope not: among the ten teams in the Men’s Open, there were only two foreigners out of the forty players, Uruguay’s Pelon Stirling (La Dolfina) and South Africa’s Nachi Du Plessis (Ellerstina)!


Gonzalo Heguy Trophy and Tipa y Caña Prize for the best player in the final(MVP): Pablo Mac Donough.

Javier Novillo Astrada Award for the tournament top scorer: Camilo Castagnola, 38 goals.

Rubén Sola Revelation Trophy: Lukin Monteverde (El Overo Z 7).

Juan Carlos Harriott Fair Play Award: Poroto Cambiaso (player with the fewest fouls).

Lady Susan Townley Cup, best horse in the final(BPP): Clone Cuartetera B06, played by Adolfo Cambiaso.

Argentinian Polo Horse Breeders’ Association (AACCP) prize: to the best horse registred in the stud book: Dolfina Roxy, ridden by Adolfo Cambiaso (h).

Finalist teams and progress:

La Natividad: Facundo Pieres 9 (3 goals), Jeta Castagnola 10 (4, including 1 penalty), Pablo Mac Donough 10 (3) and Barto Castagnola 10 (3). Total: 39.

La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10 (1), David Stirling 10 (1), Poroto Cambiaso 10 (7, including penalties) and Juan M. Nero 10 (1). Total score: 40.

La Natividad: 1-2, 3-2, 4-5, 7-6, 8-7, 10-7, 10-10 and 13-10.

Women’s Open:

El Overo Z7 UAE: Hope Arellano 9 (3 goals, including a Penal 1), Isabelle Parsons 9 (2, including a Penal 1), Hazel Jackson 9 (4) and Millie Hine 8 (8, including 5 penalties). Total score: 35.

La Dolfina: Mía Cambiaso 8 (1), Milagros Fernández Araujo 8 (1), Nina Clarkin 10 and Candelaria Fernández Araujo 9 (12, including 10 penalties). Total: 35


AAP and Tipa y Caña MVP Award: Millie Hine.

Motorola Award for the top scorer of the final: Candelaria Fernández Araujo.

Carolina Herrera Award to the Revelation player of the tournament: Hope Arellano.

Myriam Heguy and Municipality of Cañuelas Fair Play Award: Nina Clarkin.

AAP and Casa Libertas Award to the best horse of the final(BPP) : Lamore Que Ironía, played by Mía Cambiaso.

AACCP Award to the best registered player product Raza Polo Argentino: Don Ercole Cruz de Malta, played by Hope Arellano.

Duthie & Doille Award to the best ridden player of the final: Hope Arellano.

By RB Presse, Pascal Renauldon
Photos: RB Presse, Jan Zavazal

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