La Aguada beat Pilara Piaget 15-14 to clinch title
polo by Jorge Andrades
On a hot sunny afternoon in Hurlingham, La Aguada edged Pilara 15-14 to take the 115th Hurlingham Open championship yesterday. The decisive goal was scored by Ignacio Novillo Astrada through a place penalty in an extra Chukker.
The match was not as good as expected but the spectators still enjoyed it as the winner was still uncertain up to the final bell.
The Novillo Astrada brothers deserved the victory as they showed better team work.
Meanwhile, Pilara committed some errors in defence, losing their marks and leaving Miguel Novillo Astrada alone in the midfield. In spite of this, the losers were always close in terms of the score line and played well in the last three chukkers.
The match had a good standard from the start, with both squads playing quickly and openly. While the losers were dominating the action they could not find a way of making it count.
In the second period La Aguada showed their best form, winning it 4-2 to take a two-goal lead whichthey kept in the next two chukkers.
During that time the champions had an easy job in midfield, recovering the ball quickly and creating the best scoring opportunities. Afterwards both teams slowed their rhythm, committing many fouls which led to numerous stoppages and made the action rather boring.
The losers reacted after the fifth Chukker and progressively narrowed the gap thanks to the many penalities scored by the match’s top scorer, Agustin Merlos (12). La Aguada lost their concentration and allowed Pilara to equalize 11-11. Both teams then traded goals up to the end of the eighth.
In extra time the winners had two opportunities to score as the losers stopped a 60-yard penalty hit by Ignacio Novillo Astrada but, after a short clearance, Pilara’s players committed another foul near their posts which was easily netted by La Aguada’s back.
On the podium Javier Novillo Astrada, one of the men of the final, was calm despite the victory.
“We did not play well. I did not enjoy the match and thus I’m not completely happy. Fortunately we obtained the title which gives us confidence to face the Argentine Open, but we must inprove our play if we want to win in Palermo”, he said.
Nearby, Agustin Merlos said he wasn’t content with the result.
“It was a great thing to reach an extra Chukker against La Aguada, but we lost the match so I can’t be happy. We scored 14 goals against the Novillo Astradas and this is important, taking into account that just a few teams can do that”.
TEAMS, goals in brackets and Chukker scores:
La Aguada(15): Javier Novillo Astrada 9 (4-3 pen). Eduardo Novillo Astrada Jr 9(3), Miguel Novillo Astrada 10 (3), Ignacio Novillo Astrada 9 (5 pen) – 37.
Pilara(14): Agustin Merlos 10 (12-9 pen-1 corner), Santiago Chavanne 8 (1), Sebastian Merlos 9, Marcos Heguy 10 (1) -37.
Chukker scores:La Aguada 1-1; 5-3; 7-5; 9-7; 9-8; 10-9; 12-12; 14-14; 15-14.