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Hurlingham 2011

La Dolfina Takes Hurlingham



Story by Alex Webbe  Photography by Katerina Morgan


It is hard to imagine that any of the 10,000 in attendance for the finals of the Hurlingham Open at the Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires weren’t moved by the skill and the speed of the eight players who took the field for Saturday’s finals. . . .


Last year’s Triple Crown winning Ellerstina team had already defended its Tortugas Open title, but needed a last minute rally to rebound from an early seven goal deficit to the very same La Dolfina team it faced on Saturday in the finals of the Hurlingham Open.

Both teams began aggressively, with neither able to take control in the opening two chukkers.

Adolfo Cambiaso opened the scoring with a penalty conversion that was answered by a penalty goal from Ellerstina’s Facundo Pieres.  Another penalty goal from Facundo had Ellerstina taking a brief 2-1 lead, before Cambiaso tied it up at 2-2 on a penalty shot.

Ellerstina went up 3-2 to open the second, marking the fourth consecutive penalty goal of the match, but Cambiaso knotted it up at 3-3 about a minute later on a beautifully executed 80 yard shot through the Ellerstina goal posts.  Nico Pieres scored his first goal of the game to give the lead back to Ellerstina, 4-3. Cambiaso’s second goal from the field closed out the scoring for the chukker in a 4-4 tie.

La Dolfina took control of the game in the third chukker putting up four goals while holding Ellerstina to just a pair of goals from Gonzalito Pieres.  Cambiaso opened the chukker with a penalty conversion followed by a 60 yard neck-shot for a goal from Pablo MacDonough.  Gonzalito Pieres scored two well-executed goals from the field followed by another penalty goal from Cambiaso.  MacDonough’s second goal of the chukker gave La Dolfina an 8-6 lead after the first three chukkers of play

A penalty goal from Cambiaso in the fourth chukker was followed by a goal from the field from MacDonough while Ellerstina was held scoreless for the first time all afternoon.  At the end of the first half, La Dolfina held a 10-6 advantage.


Pelon Stirling opened the second half with a pair of goals from the field before Facundo Pieres responded with a goal for Ellerstina.  Juan Martin Nero closed out the scoring giving La Dolfina a very comfortable 13-7 lead after five chukkers.

Ellerstina got on track in the sixth, getting a pair of goals from Facundo Pieres (one from the field and one on a penalty shot) and a single goal from Nico Pieres.  Cambiaso scored twice for La Dolfina but for the first time all day, Ellerstina outscored Cambiaso and company, 3-4.  At the end of six chukkers, La Dolfina led by five goals, 15-10, but the Ellerstina offense was stirring.

Cambiaso added a goal from the field in the seventh, but penalties cost La Dolfina dearly.  Facundo Pieres converted all four penalty shots, and with one chukker left to play, Ellerstina trailed by just two goals, 16-14.

An untimely foul committed by Ellerstina at the end of the seventh put La Dolfina  at the penalty line, with Cambiaso converting it for a score and a 17-14 edge.  Stirling’s third goal of the game from the ensuing throw-in, and another goal from Cambiaso had Ellerstina trailing 19-14.  Just when it appeared that La Dolfina was closing the door on Ellerstina Facundo Pieres struck.  Scoring three goals from the field and one on a penalty shot, Facundo Pieres had Ellerstina back in it, with La Dolfina trying desperately to protect a 19-18 lead with time running out.

Ellerstina drove the ball deep into the La Dolfina end of the field and had several opportunities to tie it up and force overtime when the final bell sounded, giving La Dolfina the 19-18 win.

Facundo Pieres led all scoring with fourteen goals, converting nine penalty shots and scoring five goals from the field, and was named MVP for his efforts. Gonzalito Pieres and Nico Pieres added two goals apiece in the loss.

  Polo Argentino, played by Facundo Pieres, was named Best Playing Pony.

Cambiaso led the La Dolfina attack with twelve goals.  Stirling and MacDonough scored three goals apiece; Nero added one goal in the 19-18 victory.

High-goal play will continue on Saturday and Sunday, November 19th and 20th with the opening rounds of the Argentine Open Championship.  Ellerstina enters the competition as the 2010 defending champion.