On Saturday, November 8th, La Dolfina and Ellerstina played the finals of the oldest polo open of Argentina, and the second crown of the Argentine Triple Crown, the Hurlingham Open. This was the 13th match that Ellerstina and La Dolfina were playing for a title.
La Dolfina, conformed by Adolfo Cambiaso jr. (+10), Juan Martín Nero (+10), Pablo MacDonough (+10) and David Stirling (+10) and Ellerstina, with Facundo Pieres (+10), Gonzalo Pieres (+10), Mariano Aguerre (+9) and Nicolás Pieres (+9) started this polo battle at 4pm (Argentinian time) under sunny skies. This match had been postponed twice due to bad weather, but now, it was time to know who would take the Crown home. The first throw-in was won by La Dolfina, and Adolfo Cambiaso opened the score with a goal before the first minute. Pablo MacDonough scored a stunning second goal, after a great pass by Pelon Stirling. Facundo Pieres tried to stop it, but the duo was stronger. A quick yet effective move by Cambiaso followed, and on the first six minutes of the game, La Dolfina was leading by 5-0. The first goal for Ellerstina was scored by Facundo Pieres by penalty, in the last seconds of the first chukka, that ended on 5-1.
The second chukka started with a surprising long distance goal by Facundo Pieres, the coach Ernesto Trotz had cheered Ellerstina up between chukkas and that definitely made an impact on the team. Pablo MacDonough would not rest, and the skillful player scored a goal, and Cambiaso another two, leaving the score at 8-2. Mariano Aguerre scored at the end of the second chukker, and it ended on 8-3.
The first goal of the third chukka was performed by Nico Pieres after an astonishing race, and Cambiaso closed the chukka with yet another goal, taking the score to 9-4. The fourth chukker had Cambiaso riding the award-winning mare Chocolate. A 30-yard penalty was awarded to Ellerstina, and Facundo converted the 5th goal for the black shirts. Juan Martín Nero gave La Dolfina their 10th goal, and Facundo speeded up and scored a new goal. Now the score was 10-6 and such score closed the fourth chukka.
From the “palenques” the rumor was that Ellerstina was thriving to get stronger, La Dolfina scored again, opening the score of yet another chukka, but Facundo Pieres stayed true to their objective, and scored. Cambiaso left the scoreboard in 12-7. The rivalry between the two star teams was getting stronger minute after minute, and the goal difference got bigger after Nero´s goal, 14-8, closing the chukka. A 60-yard penalty awarded to Ellerstina was missed by Facundo Pieres in the start of the seventh chukker, but he was not done and scored a goal shortly after. The difference was 6 goals, and already at the sixth chukker, everything looked like all was set for La Dolfina to take the Crown home, but Gonzalito Pieres scored his first goal in the match, and Nico Pieres another, and then Mariano Aguerre: Ellerstina toughened up, scoring four goals in a row, and the 6th chukka ended in a surprising 15-12 score.
And the 7th chukka started, with a thrilled audience, that could not give an early veredict due to the abrupt change of the game during the 6th chukka. Facundo Pieres scored, and while everyone cheered, the score got closer, 15-13. La Dolfina recovered, and Nero scored two consecutive goals, closing the 7th chukka 17-13. Then the last chukka of this fast game on which the horses surpassed the 60 kmph arrived, and Facundo scored once again, 17-14, but his arch-rival Cambiaso followed and scored. Facundo Pieres scored the goal that closed the match, over the last 4 seconds, but La Dolfina had won by 18-15. Now Palermo awaits, and the polo fans are wondering if Cambiaso´s team will be able to win the Triple Crown for the second consecutive year.