La Dolfina Polo Ranch and La Ensenada Victorious on Opening Day of 2018 Argentine Open
After a week-long rain delay, play began in the 2018 Abierto Argentino de Polo with La Ensenada defeating Alegria-La Irenita 18-14, while La Dolfina Polo Ranch used a strong finish to defeat La Aguada 14-11 at Palermo.
The opening game of the tournament saw La Ensenada once again get the better of Alegria-La Irenita behind a strong second half and a revitalized defensive effort from La Ensenada. Alegria-La Irenita was held to shots over the final two chukkas as La Ensenada’s defense anchored their ability to run away with the game. The fast-paced game favoured La Ensenada’s quick attack that was led by Juan Britos’ eight goals, along with four goals from Jeronimo del Carril, who came forward effectively from the back position. Alegria-La Irenita’s stagnant offense provided the opportunity for La Ensenada to take hold of the game to complete the 18-14 victory.
Alegria-La Irenita gained an early two-goal lead in the game behind Fred Mannix’s goal on the opening throw-in. Britos quickly ignited the La Ensenada attack by setting up Juan Martin Zubia and then scoring three consecutive goals of his own to give his team a two-goal lead. Matias MacDonough countered Britos by scoring four goals over the second and third chukkas, two of which came from the penalty line as Alegria-La Irenita went on a 6-1 run to open a three-goal advantage. Before the end of the half, La Ensenada had their best chukka of the game, with all four players scoring at least one goal in a dominant 5-1 chukka resulting in 10-9 score at halftime in the back and forth affair.
The two teams traded goals over the fifth and sixth chukkas, with Juan Gris Zavaleta making his impact on the game, scoring his team’s first three goals of the half. The game changed in the seventh chukka when Alegria-La Irenita’s offense went cold, failing to record a shot, while La Ensenada took full advantage of their opportunities from the field. A balanced offense saw them run the ball through the goal, as well as score from distance as Alegria-La Irenita was a step behind. The game was put away in the eighth chukka when La Ensenada added two more goals, including Britos’ eighth goal of the game to seal the 18-14 victory.
In a crucial game in the rankings for both teams, La Aguada and La Dolfina Polo Ranch battled in a hard, fought affair that saw the two teams within one-goal of each other after six of the eight chukkas. Foul trouble for La Aguada both early and late in the game, provided La Dolfina Polo Ranch with the chances from the penalty line where they converted 6 of their 8 attempts, while overcoming foul trouble of their own in the second half. With both teams shooting below 50% in the game, the outcome came down to the penalty line with La Dolfina Polo Ranch claiming the narrow 14-11 victory.
In contrast to the first game, the second game started at a slower pace with the two teams combining for just eight goals in the opening half and were deadlocked in a 4-4 tie. La Dolfina Polo Ranch had their chances to grab the lead early in the game but missed 2 of their 3 penalty attempts. While La Aguada struggled with fouls in the opening half with seven fouls, La Dolfina Polo Ranch committed zero fouls, keeping the game in open play. Alfredo Bigatti stepped up for La Aguada scoring two goals to join Diego Cavanagh as the scoring leaders in the game heading into the second half.
Back-to-back goals from Alejandro Novillo Astrada were followed by back-to-back goals from Ignacio Novillo Astrada to give La Aguada a two-goal lead. La Dolfina Polo Ranch took control of the final three chukkas behind five goals from Diego Cavanagh, outscoring La Aguada 8-3 despite shooting just 4 for 12 from the field. La Dolfina Polo Ranch held La Aguada off the scoresheet in the final chukka to claim the 14-11 victory.