Polocrosse is rid­ing high af­ter Eidsvold

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT - Philippe Co­querand philippe.co­querand@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

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