Polocrosse is riding high after Eidsvold
POLOCROSSE: The annual Eidsvold Polocrosse Carnival was staged at the weekend and its success is sure to help the Queensland Polocrosse Association in its bid to further increase the popularity of the sport.
Despite not having a team for the past seven years, Eidsvold remains a popular venue for polocrosse events and a large crowd turned out at the weekend.
QPA board member Geoffrey Hartwig said while Eidsvold did not field a team, it was important for the club to remain involved.
“This weekend we held the club carnival which is a big event in polocrosse,” Hartwig said.
“Our club doesn’t have a travelling team any more due to the limited numbers of people in the bush but it takes a few to keep the club alive and people love coming here so we’ll continue to hold these events.”
Polocrosse is a fast-paced, skilful and exciting game played on horseback and Hartwig the success of the event meant he remained optimistic Eidsvold would one day again have a team to represent the region.
“It will happen one day, we just need a couple of families to move in here that will want to play polocrosse,” he said.
“I’ve been playing for 45 years and still play the sport and love it.”
Hartwig has a huge job as part of the QPA board ensuring polocrosse as a sport thrives across the nation.
“We manage polocrosse all across Australia,” he said.
“Every team member is registered through the national database. We handle insurance, animal liberation, RSPCA matters, umpiring problems, rule changes and player safety within the organisation.
“It’s quite a big task. We are coming up to the World Cup in Warwick which is taking place in two years and it’s a very big thing.”
The Eidsvold showgrounds have been a well established venue for hosting polocrosse and Hartwig is confident it will remain like that for many more years to come.
“The showgrounds are a very good facility for hosting polocrosse and we played here for years when we used to have a team,” he said.
“As people left the bush we didn’t have enough playing members to keep playing, there’s lots of small clubs that have died but there’s other clubs that have gotten stronger, I’d envision that in time we’ll get it back.”
Eidsvold Polocrosse Club secretary Karen Slater echoed Hartwig’s words and said the entire weekend was a success despite heavy rain on Sunday.
“We don’t have a team in Eidsvold but every year we love to host the polocrosse in the region and it’s always a great event for the family,” Slater said.
“We’ve got a really good venue here and we usually have a pretty good carnival with a great turnout of members from across the region.
❝ As people left the bush we didn’t have enough playing members, there’s lots of small clubs that have died but there’s other clubs that have gotten stronger. — Geoffrey Hartwig
“We were impressed with how the fields were holding up, it’s obviously been quite dusty because the weather has been so dry but other than that we’ve had some close games and some really good polocrosse.”
Slater said the animals needed to be very fit as well as the players to ensure polocrosse ran successfully.
“Good horsemanship is vital as well as the health and well-being of the riders and the horse,” she said.
Slater has been the secretary of the Eidsvold club for the past 30 years.
She said she believed this year was the best event the club had hosted in a long time.
“We’re probably up six to eight teams to what we would normally cater for in a weekend which is wonderful,” she said.
Calliope polocrosse rider Ken Pengelly said he’s played the sport for decades and now enjoys watching his grandchildren participating in competitions.
“There’s 100 odd teams that compete in Queensland and it’s a big event,” Pengelly said.
“It’s a sport that gets into your blood and you just love it.
“I played polocrosse for 35 years, my wife played for 15 years, our kids all played for Queensland now we’ve got the grandkids who are playing it, it’s definitely a sport the entire family can play.”
Pengelly said it was a sport where everyone looked out for one another.
“I was always a rugby league player and decided to go into polocrosse, it’s a sport much the same but instead on a horse,” he said.
“The adrenaline rush was great, as a rider you’d fly up the field flat out relying on the horse’s four legs to keep you up there otherwise you’re on the floor, but the adrenaline rush and the mateship of the game really drew me to the sport.”
Pengelly said travelling was part of competing in polocrosse.
“I’ve been across Australia with my wife and daughters and have played in Darwin, Victoria, Western Australia, every two years we’d go away for nationals,” he said.
Polocrosse is growing as a popular family sport and is getting bigger throughout Australia.
It has been announced that Warwick will host the Polocrosse World Cup in April 2019 and will be celebrating 80 years of the sport.
KICKING UP DUST: A rider looks to retain possession as his rivals close in during the Eidsvold Polocrosse Carnival played at the weekend.
A player charges downfield during the weekend action
A rider lets fly with a shot on goal.
The polocrosse competition was fierce at the weekend.
Rival players vie for possession.
A cloud of dust surrounds the players and their horses.
The Tansey team in action at the weekend.
The competition is thriving at the Eidsvold showgrounds.
Members of the Junior polocrosse team get ready to play.
Jim Neill-Ballantine and John Donovan in action at the weekend.
Riders battle for position during a match at the weekend.
Owen Lindley with champion horse Opal Kaska at the Eidsvold polocrosse
Members of the Tansey team compete for the ball.
Riders race towards the action at the weekend.