La Ensenada and La Aguada Impress in Victories to Begin 2018 Hurlingham Open
The 2018 Hurlingham Open kicked off with impressive showings from La Ensenada and La Aguada, with the continuing their strong play from qualifying in the Torneo Remonta y Veterinaria. La Ensenada defeated Alegria-La Irenita 12-8, while La Aguada defeated La Dolfina Polo Ranch 11-9 at Hurlingham Club.
Despite La Ensenada coming into the game ranked four goals lower on handicap, they matched Alegria-La Irenita stride for stride in the opening half as the two teams alternated the first 11 goals in the game with La Ensenada holding the narrow one-goal lead. Scoring four of his team’s first five goals, Juan Britos provided the energy early for La Ensenada as they created more opportunities in the game but were unable to pull away due to inaccurate shooting from the field and the penalty line. Converting four of their eight attempts from the field, but just two of their five penalty attempts, La Ensenada kept Alegria-La Irenita in the game as all four players on Alegria-La Irenita contributed at least one goal each in the opening half.
La Ensenada was finally able to pull away in the second half, scoring five of the first six goals in the half to build a large lead over their higher rated opponent. It was Facundo Fernandez Llorente and Jeronimo del Carril that stepped up offensively, scoring two goals each over the run, while Alegria-La Irenita was left chasing and unable to produce any offense of their own. Held to just three shots in the second half, Alegria-La Irenita never challenged La Ensenada late in the game with their only source of offense coming from Matias MacDonough’s three penalty conversions. Ultimately, the quick pace set by La Ensenada overwhelmed Alegria-La Irenita in the 12-8 victory.
The second game saw La Aguada avenge their loss to La Dolfina Polo Ranch in the Tortugas Open by controlling the game throughout in the 11-9 victory that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The opening two chukkas saw the teams evenly matched, scoring two goals each, but the momentum of the game went in La Aguada’s favour in the third chukka after Alejo Taranco was forced out of the game due to injury. Despite a good performance from his replacement Matias Torres Zavaleta, La Aguada scored six consecutive goals, with Alfredo Bigatti and Alejandro Novillo Astrada leading the way with two goals each. Holding a commanding 9-4 lead, La Aguada produced a consistent offense behind their passing attack, while La Dolfina Polo Ranch managed just five shots over the opening four chukkas and fell behind on the scoreboard.
The fifth chukka saw La Aguada maintain their control on the game, extending their lead to six despite losing all four throw-ins in the chukka, thanks to back-to-back goals from Ignacio Novillo Astrada. With just two chukkas remaining, La Aguada played defensive the rest of the game, content to sit back while La Dolfina Polo Ranch attempted a comeback. Scoring the final four goals of the game, Diego Cavanagh brought his team back within two goals, but were never able to threaten the lead over the final few minutes as La Aguada claimed the 11-9 victory to complete the opening day of play in the 2018 Hurlingham Open.