Tortugas Opens with La Aguada Win

Tortugas Open Polo Championship Underway

ByAlex Webbe

The Tortugas Country Club Open Polo Championship is currently underway, as six teams competefor the Emilio de Anchorena Cup in the highest level of polo competition in theworld.

The Tortugas Open signals the startof the high-goal polo season in Argentina, unveiling familiar names and facesbut a number of different combinations as the first of Argentina’s Triple Crowngot underway.

The Novillo Astrada brothers tookthe field in their familiar La Aguada line-up Tuesday afternoon, where after aslow start turned it on to capture a 12-8 win over a disorganized Pilarafoursome.

An injury to the wrist of Pilara’sback, Tomas Garcia del Rio (not expected back until the Hurlingham Open at theearliest) brought Chilean 8-goaler Jaime Huidobro into the lineup, supplyingthe spark that allowed Pilara to jump out to an early 3-2 first chukker lead onthe strength of a pair of goals from 9-goaler Hilario Ulloa and a single scorefrom Magoo Laprida.  Javier NovilloAstrada drove the ball through the goal posts for both of the La Aguada scores,but Pilara led 3-2 going into the second period.

Javier and brother Nacho NovilloAstrada combined for three goals to tie it up at 5-5 in the second, withBautista Heguy scoring twice for Pilara.

Pilara continued to give La Aguadafits in the third chukker, limiting the veteran team to a single goal fromNacho Novillo Astrada while getting another goal from Ulloa to keep it all evenat 6-6 after the first three periods of play.

The veteran La Aguada team settledinto its familiar rhythm in the fourth chukker, however, and four unansweredgoals put La Aguada on top of a 10-6 score as they carried the lead through thebalance of the seven chukker match for a final 12-8 victory.

Shutout defense in the fourth andfifth chukkers really put the game on ice as the Novillo Astradas held Pilarato single goals in the final two periods of the game; one from Heguy in thefifth and another from Huidobro in the seventh.

Javier and Nacho Novillo Astradacombined for all twelve of the La Aguada goals as the brothers looked to be gettingready to take on all comers in the 2011 season.

Action will continue at Tortugas onWednesday when Estancia Grande makes its debut with Lucas Monteverde and LoloCastagnola joining Agustin and Sebastian Merlos against Indios Chapaleufu II(Pepe and Eduardo Heguy, Negro Novillo Astrada and Marcos di Paola).

We won’t get to see the remnants oflast year’s Argentine Open finalists until the weekend with a 39-goal LaDolfina team of Adolfo Cambiaso, Pablo MacDonough, Juan Martin Nero and PelonStirling facing Pilara in a Saturday contest, followed by a Sunday contestbetween Ellerstina’s Pieres brothers (Gonzalito, Facundo and Nicolas) and NachiHeguy against the loser of Wednesday’s game.