The 126° Argentine Open, the most important polo tournament in the world, continued on Sunday. The championship sees ten teams compete; La Dolfina is the highest handicapped team, boasting 40-goals. This year they are playing for their seventh consecutive title.
The day took on a tragic note as the death of Ruben Sola, Facundo’s father, was confirmed right before the Cria Yatay vs. Ellerstina match began. The passing of Ruben is undoubtedly one of the toughest moments in recent polo history. However, at the request of the Sola family, the players agreed to play the second match of the day on ground one.
But first, on ground two, Las Monjitas and La Natividad put on one of the best spectacles of the championship so far; the stands were packed and both teams played the highest level of polo. Las Monjitas claimed the win to secure their place in the zone decider against Ellerstina on Sunday, but La Natividad fought hard and were up to par throughout the match. The boys in green bid farewell to Palermo with their heads held high, and the knowledge that they will be back to compete for the title next year.
The Ellerstina – Cria Yatay match followed. The players all have a great relationship off the field, but that did not stop them from fighting tooth and nail for the win. The match was open and entertaining to watch. Lerín Zubiaurre stood out in all facets of the game: attack, defence, and mid-field play. But Ellerstina’s horse power tipped the balance in their favour and they took the victory.
Cría Yatay now face a decisive match on Friday against La Albertina Abu Dhabi. The loser of the match will be out of the direct qualification for the 2020 Triple Crown. Ellerstina will take on their great challenge of the tournament so far, as they face Las Monjitas for a rematch of the 2018 semifinal, when Camilo Bautista’s team defeated the Pieres boys to qualify for the final.
LAS MONJITAS 11-9 LA NATIVIDAD
Las Monjitas: Facundo Sola 9 (3 goals), Hilario Ulloa 10 (3), Guillermo Caset 10 (5, 3 penalties), Santiago Toccalino 9. Total: 38.
La Natividad: Camilo Castagnola 6 (7 goals, 2 penalties), Matías Torres Zavaleta 7 (1), Barto Castagnola 7 (1), Ignatius du Plessis 8. Total: 28.
Score Las Monjitas: 4-0, 6-2, 8-4, 9-6, 10-8, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.
Umpires: Guillermo Villanueva and Gastón Lucero.
Third man: Martín Aguerre.
Best Polo Argentino of the match: Latia Ramona (Open Cabernet x Future Rayuela), played by Barto Castagnola.
Nomination 1: Antu Walung Pobre Vieja (Machitos Chelo x 190), played by Guillermo Caset.
Nomination 2: Cabe Claudina (Machitos Chelo x Dolfina Schiffer), played by Camilo Castagnola.
ELLERSTINA 14-9 CRÍA YATAY
Ellerstina Johor: Facundo Pieres 10 (6 goals, 4 penalties), Gonzalo Pieres 9 (4), Polito Pieres 10 (3), Nicolás Pieres 10 (1). Total: 39.
Cría Yatay: Valerio Zubiaurre 8 (4 goals), Cristian Laprida 8 (1), Joaquín Pittaluga 8 (3, 1 penalties and 1 safety penalty), Iñaki Laprida 8 (1 penalty). Total: 32.
Score Ellerstina Johor: 2-1, 3-2, 7-2, 8-3, 10-4, 12-6, 12-8, 14-9.
Umpires: Martín Pascual and José I. Araya.
Third man: Gonzalo López Vargas.
Best Polo Argentino of the match: Open Azarenka (Sportivo x Rusita), played by Facundo Pieres.
Nomination 1: Open Léxica (Ellerstina Pícaro x Lexus), played by Gonzalo Pieres.
Nomination 2: Escriba Serpentina (Rengo Luicito x Escriba Serpiente), played by Valerio Zubiaurre.
The Argentine Open will resume on Thursday:
5pm: La Aguada vs La Ensenada