La Dolfina Captures the 2019 Hurlingham Open
The much-anticipated final in the 2019 Hurlingham Open featured the first meeting of the Triple Crown between 40-goal La Dolfina and 39-goal Ellerstina, with La Dolfina emerging victorious, claiming the 16-13 victory on the #1 field at Palermo.
An intense match displayed the prowess of all eight players on the field as both La Dolfina and Ellerstina produced balanced attacks that saw contributions up and down the line-up. Little separated the two teams in open play, evident by La Dolfina and Ellerstina shooting 59% and 53% respectively on 17 shots each, leaving the result to the penalty line where Ellerstina was unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Finishing the game 4 for 9 from the penalty line resulted in Ellerstina unable to match the efficient 6 for 7 shooting from La Dolfina in the three-goal defeat.
A fast pace was seen from the opening throw-in as part of a six-goal opening chukka that favoured La Dolfina. Adolfo Cambiaso made a definitive impact in the early stages of the game, scoring two goals and adding an assist to give his team a two-goal lead. A defining moment in the game proved to be the second chukka when Ellerstina was held scoreless and La Dolfina extended their lead to four after two goals from distance by Juan Martin Nero and Pablo MacDonough. Facing a four-goal deficit left Ellerstina chasing La Dolfina throughout most of the game as they tried to close the gap and challenge for the lead. Missing their third and fourth penalty attempts of the first half, all from the 60-yard line, Ellerstina struggled to match the offense of Ellerstina despite the numerous chances from the penalty line that was a direct result of the pressure they applied to the La Dolfina defence. A penalty 4 conversion from Nero ended the half, giving La Dolfina the 8-5 lead.
Inside the first two minutes of the second half, Ellerstina turned a three-goal deficit into just one behind goals from Polito and Facundo Pieres, changing the dynamic of the game with nearly four chukkas still remaining. Accurate penalty shooting from Nero allowed La Dolfina to respond with a three-goal run of their own, restoring their four-goal lead and leaving Ellerstina disheartened in their comeback attempt. In an attempt to secure the victory, the duo of Cambiaso and MacDonough were effective in the seventh chukka, combining for three straight goals as part of a perfect 3 for 3 shooting performance to leave Ellerstina’s hopes slim in capturing the victory. With the outcome all but determined, tensions rose with just minutes left in the very intense game as Nero received two yellow cards, along with a yellow each for Polito Pieres, Nico Pieres and David Stirling in the eighth chukka, but La Dolfina completed their impressive performance, holding off Ellerstina in the final minutes to finish with the 16-13 victory and claim the 2019 Hurlingham Open title.