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Mon 30th Oct 2017

Hurlingham Open Final

Ellerstina snatch victory from the jaws of defeat

This year’s Hurlingham Open has not been short of surprises as underdogs Alegría beat high goal stalwarts La Dolfina in the Semi Finals. With this win, it was Fred Mannix’s squad vs Final regulars Ellerstina in the long-awaited Hurlingham extravaganza Final, and what a game it was!
Play was close from the word go. As the teams rode into the fifth chukka, with Alegría holding an unprecedented 9-8 lead, the worst thing that could possibly happen, happened to the Pieres brothers. A horse tripped, throwing its rider right out of the front door. Lying in the middle of the pitch, all eyes turned to the boys in black – it was Facundo Pieres and he wasn’t moving. 
He was whisked away by the medical team to the nearest hospital and ended up staying overnight, but whilst this dramatic interlude was going on, there was still the Hurlingham Final to finish. With a distinct lack of 10 goalers to hand, Ellerstina substituted 7 goal Lucas James onto the field, shuffling the line-up around with Polito Pieres ably taking up the rear. 
Stressful intermission over, all eyes focused back to the field with Ellerstina turning on everything they had. James, Nico Pieres and Gonzalito Pieres all stepped up their defensive game, focusing on clearing away the Alegría players to enable Polito to utlise his strong dribbling skills to bring the ball forward. It’s safe to say, Polito came into a world of his own, controlling the ball up field, as he turned a three goal deficit into a two goal lead. Over the next three chukkas he scored a whopping 11 goals, no doubt a personal best for a match, saving the game but with Alegría taking every opportunity they had on goal, the score sat at 13-12 at the end of the seventh chukka. But, with more and more gusto, Ellerstina took the match 16-14 and with it the Hurlingham Cup title.
The Hurlingham Open Final Teams:
Ellerstina Johor (39): Polito Pieres (9), Gonzalito Pieres (10), Facundo Pieres (10 – substituted by Lucas James 7) & Nicolas Pieres (10)
Alegría Land Rover (35): Guillermo Caset (9), Hilario Ulloa (10), Facundo Sola (8) & Fred Mannix (8)
Photograph: Ellerstina win the Hurlingham Open in a nail-biting Final. By Katerina Morgan

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