By Alex Webbe
The last time La Dolfina (Adolfo Cambiaso, David Stirling, Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero) and Alegria (Polito Pieres, Hilario Ulloa, Lucas Monteverde and Alfredo Cappella Barabucci) met was nearly a year ago in the final of the Argentine Open.
In spite of a tight first half that had the score all even at 8-8 at halftime, La Dolfina rode on to score a 16-11 win for a sweep of the high-goal season.
This time Alegria rode onto the field at 34-goals, with Alfredo Cappella Barabucci (8) replacing Alegria’s 9-goal captain, Fred Mannix, to face the powerful 40-goal La Dolfina lineup, and although the outcome left La Dolfina undefeated, Alegria gave them a scare and stayed in the game right down to the final horn.
La Dolfina took initial control of the game, scoring four first chukker goals. Alegria responded with a single goal, and trailed by three goals from the onset, 4-1.
Both defenses played solidly in the second period. Alegria managed just a single goal while holding La Dolfina scoreless. La Dolfina continued to led, but Alegria had cut the lead to two goals, 4-2.
Four third chukker goals from Alegria had La Dolfina reeling. They managed a single goal but found themselves in the unfamiliar position of trailing at the end of three chukkers, 6-5.
Alegria outscored La Dolfina for the third consecutive chukker, putting two more goals on the board while holding Cambiaso and company to one goal. At the end of the first half Alegria found themselves on the winning end of an 8-6 score.
La Dolfina began to turn things around in the fifth period. La Dolfina scored twice while Alegria was held to a single goal. Alegria continued to lead but the lead had been cut to a single goal, 9-8.
La Dolfina continued to peck away at the Alegria lead in the sixth. Two more La Dolfina goals were answered by a single Alegria score. At the end of the sixth period the score was all even at 10-10 with Cambiaso riding Chocolate, winner of the Susan Townley Cup, in recognition as the Best Playing Pony of the 2013 Argentine Open.
Seventh chukker play saw La Dolfina score two unanswered goals as Alegria failed to get on the scoreboard. With one chukker remaining to be played, La Dolfina led, 12-10.
There was no letup from Alegria in eighth chukker action. La Dolfina added another goal while Alegria’s two eighth chukker goals came up just short in the 13-12 loss.
La Dolfina earned their nineteenth consecutive high-goal win and a berth in the Hurlingham Open final, but it wasn’t easy. A constantly improving Alegria team proved that it could play with the big boys in the one goal loss to the 40-goal powerhouse.
Adolfo Cambiaso led La Dolfina with six goals (four on penalty shots). Juan Martin Nero added three goals while Pelon Stirling and Pablo MacDonough scored two goals apiece in the win. Polito Pieres scored two of his team high six goals on penalty shots. Hilario Ulloa and Alfredo Cappella Barabucci were credited with three goals each in the loss.
The second Hurlingham Open finalist will be determined on Sunday, October 26th when Ellerstina (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalo Pieres Jr., Mariano Aguerre and Nicolas Pieres) and La Aguada (Facundo Sola, Guillermo Caset Jr., Miguel Novillo Astrada and Ignacio Novillo Astrada) put their perfect 2-0 records on the line. The winner will face La Dolfina on Saturday, November 1st at 4:30PM.