Ellerstina Claims First Spot in Hurlingham Open Final
The first semi-final of the 2018 Hurlingham Open saw Ellerstina claim the first spot in the Hurlingham Open final with the 19-8 victory over La Aguada, while the opening game of the day featured a strong performance from La Dolfina Polo Ranch in a 15-11 victory over Alegria-La Irenita at Hurlingham Polo Club.
In a match-up between two teams with an undefeated 3-0 record, it was Ellerstina that dominated play with an efficient display from the field, shooting 71%, while also converting all seven penalty attempts to run away with the game. Although La Aguada were able to produce enough offensive opportunities of their own, their inefficiencies from the field and penalty line kept them from keeping pace with the quick Ellerstina attack.
Just a minute into the game, Polito Pieres scored from distance to give Ellerstina the lead and they didn’t look back. They built their lead with a balanced attack, that was led by Facundo Pieres who contributed to the first three goals of the game with a penalty 3 conversion and two passes that set up goals for Polito and Nico Pieres. After the opening chukka, Ellerstina went on a 7-1 run as La Aguada converted just one of their seven shot attempts in the opening half to fall behind 10-2. Polito Pieres provided an offensive spark, scoring his fifth goal by the end of the fourth chukka as Ellerstina held a commanding eight goal lead.
The second half saw la Aguada finally find their footing offensively, converting their chances around goal at a much higher rate of 71%. Despite the increased shooting accuracy, La Aguada failed to close the deficit due to foul trouble over the final three chukkas. Seven fouls for resulted in five penalty goals for Ellerstina, with all five coming from the 30-yard line. With the Ellerstin attack continually placing La Aguada in difficult positions defensively, La Aguada was kept on their heels while Ellerstina ran away with the game. Finishing with the 19-8 victory, Ellerstina advances to the final to await the winner of La Dolfina and Las Monjitas.
In the opening game of the day, Alegria-La Irenita were searching for their first win of the tournament but ran into a La Dolfina Polo Ranch team that saw three players score at least four goals in a fast-paced game that saw few fouls and plenty of scoring chances for both teams. La Dolfina Polo Ranch held a two-goal lead after the second chukka but took control of the game after a dominant third chukka that saw them convert four of their five shots from the field, including two goals from Ignatius Du Plessis. Matias MacDonough helped Alegria-La Irenita reduce the deficit, setting up one goal and scoring one of his own to reduce the deficit to 8-5 at halftime.
The fast, flowing game continued into the second half and Alegria-La Irenita built on their momentum in the fourth chukka to reduce the lead further to two, thanks to goals from Clemente Zavaleta, Juan Martin Zavaleta and Fred Mannix. La Dolfina Polo Ranch continued to press forward offensively and they heavily outshot Alegria- La Irenita by the end of the sixth chukka, outshooting them 22-12. A five-goal sixth chukka saw the duo of Diego Cavanagh and Guillermo Terrera combine to score the five goals and seal the victory for La Dolfina Polo Ranch as they held a 15-8 lead. Three consecutive goals from Juan Martin Zavalaeta were not enough as La Dolfina Polo Ranch completed the 15-11 victory.