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Argentine Open Play Begins

By Alex Webbe

A  determined and veteran Chapaleufú team (Alberto Heguy, Francisco Elizalde, Bautista Heguy and Eduardo Heguy) rode onto the Number 2 field at Palermo Saturday afternoon and took an early 2-1 lead after the opening chukker, but that would be the last lead Chapaleufú would enjoy all day as Ellerstina/Piaget (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, Mariano Aguerre and Nicolás Pieres) rode on to register a commanding 23-14 win.

A great deal of anticipation awaited Ellerstina as they took the field for the opening match of the 2013 Argentine Open, and the fact that they were outscored 2-1 by Chapaleufú in the opening chukker didn’t bode well for the defending  Argentine Open champion.

Following the opening seven minutes of play, however, a revitalized Ellerstina went to work.  A combination of five goals and shutout defense had a stunned Chapaleufú team scratching their heads as they left the field at the end of the second chukker of play trailing 6-2.

 Chapaleufú slowed down the Ellerstina offense in the third period, limiting them to just two scored, but were only able to ring up one goal of their own.  Ellerstina has extended their lead to five goals, 8-3.

The two teams marked one another pretty evenly in the fourth period.  Ellerstina continued to control the flow of the game, outscoring Chapaleufú three goals to two and sitting on a comfortable six goal, 11-5 halftime advantage.

Chapaleufú fought valiantly in the fifth chukker, matching Ellerstina goal for goal, but attained no advantage.  After five periods of play Ellerstina continued to lead by six goals, 14-8.

Four more sixth chukker Ellerstina goals extended the black-shirted team’s lead once again.  Chapaleufú managed three goals in the chukker but fell behind by seven goals, 18-11.

Ellerstina coasted through the seventh while Chapaleufú continued to try breaking through a resolute defense.  Each team was limited to a single goal.  Ellerstina’s seven goal lead held, 19-12.

Ellerstina seemed to be getting stronger with each passing chukker.  Four more Ellerstina goals in the eighth were countered by a pair of goals by Chapaleufú.  The final bell sounded and Ellerstina rode off with a convincing nine goal win, 23-14.

Facundo Pieres scored seven of his game-high 12 goals on penalty shots.  Mariano Aguerre and Nico Pieres added four goals apiece and Gonzalito Pieres was credited with three goals in the win.  Eduardo Heguy scored all six of his goals on penalty conversions.  Pepe Heguy added four goals; Francisco Elizalde scored three times; and Bautista Heguy scored once for Chapaleufú.

ALEGRÍA 16, LA AGUADA 13

In the second Argentine Open game of the day, Polito Pieres returned successfully to Alegría (Polito Pieres, Lucas Monteverde, Hilario Ulloa and Frederick Mannix), scoring twelve times as his team recorded a 16-13 win over La Aguada (Guillermo Terrera, Facundo Sola, Miguel Novillo Astrada, and Nachi du Plessis).

Pieres had missed both the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open as he was recuperating from an appendectomy, and would be playing in his first tournament game in weeks.  Diego Cavanagh had filled in for him in his absence, but now it was time to see if the lineup that team captain Fred Mannix had assembled would perform as hoped.

First chukker action was tentative as the teams felt one another out.  It had been weeks since La Aguada had last met (Tortugas Open), and it had been Alegría that had taken the win by a five goal margin.  La Aguada team captain, Miguel Novillo Astrada and his team had developed their teamwork in the interim, and were looking to atone for the earlier loss, but could do no better than a 1-1 tie after the first chukker.

Alegría stepped it up in the second period, outscoring La Aguada 3-2, but the game remained tight as Alegría held a narrow 4-3 edge.

Neither team could break from the other as the match continued.  La Aguada matched Alegría goal for goal in the third.  The chukker ended with Alegría on top by a paper thing 6-5 margin.

By the fourth chukker, Pieres had settled in with the Alegría team.  Two goals went unanswered as Fred Mannix and company held La Aguada scoreless while picking up a pair of goals themselves.  At the end of the first half of play, Alegria had stretched its lead to three goals, 8-5.

Three more Alegría goals were countered by a single La Aguada score in the fifth chukker.  The Alegría lead had grown to five goals, 11-6, and it began to look like a replay of their meeting in the Tortugas Open.

A determined defensive effort by La Aguada shut down the Alegría attack for the first time all day in the sixth.  Two La Aguada goals went unanswered as they cut into the Alegría lead.  La Aguada continued to trail, but the margin was cut to a manageable three goals, 11-8.

For the second straight chukker La Aguada outscored Alegría, adding three goals to their total while limiting the Alegría attack to two scores.  La Aguada was working on a mini-rally as the lead was cut to just two goals, 13-11 with one chukker left to play in regulation time.

Alegría stopped the bleeding in the final chukker, scoring three times while limiting the La Aguada attack to just two goals.  Alegría had Pieres back in the lineup and had beaten a talented La Aguada challenger by three goals, 16-13.

Polito Pieres amazed spectators as he scored twelve times in the Alegría victory (four on penalty conversions).  Lucas Monteverde added two goals and Hilario Ulloa and Fred Mannix each scored once.  Facundo Sola’s five goals (two on penalty shots) led the La Aguada attack.  Guillermo Terrera and Miguel Novillo Astrada added three goals each while Nachi du Plessis registered two goals in a losing effort.

Argentine Open continues with two games slated to be played on Sunday, November 17.  La Dolfina (Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling, Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martín Nero) will start their run for the final leg of the Argentine Triple Crown (having won both the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open) in a 2PM contest with Magual (Alejandro Muzzio, Ignacio Toccalino, Marcos Di Paola and Jaime Huidobro); followed by a 4L30PM match between La Natividad (Sapo Caset, Nachi Heguy, Rodrigo Andrade and Lolo Castagnola) and La Aguada - Las Monjitas (Lucas James, Magoo Laprida, Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Alejandro Novillo Astrada).