Trans-Tas­man polo in Tai Tapu

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

The New Zealand polo team is set to take on clas­sic ri­vals Aus­tralia this week­end for the first time in the South Is­land, and all for a char­i­ta­ble cause.

The an­nual Day At The Polo hosted by the Port Hills Polo Club (PHPC) raised funds for the Ron­ald McDon­ald House South Is­land. Those funds sup­ported fam­i­lies who had to travel to Christchurch for their chil­dren’s med­i­cal needs.

This year, the PHPC had man­aged to se­cure the ser­vices of the rid­ers in black and gold for a test match. PHPC’s Hamish Cot­tier said the pop­u­lar and of­ten packed out event reg­u­larly raised around $100,000 for Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

‘‘We don’t charge any­thing, it’s all free en­try. We all want to get be­hind the cause for Ron­ald McDon­ald day. It’s great the [New Zealand team] are get­ting in­volved.’’

Com­ing from dif­fer­ent clubs around the coun­try, New Zealand play­ers Jimmy Wood, Lochie Hunter and Sam Martin said the team would be rid­ing with past team mates and ri­vals on Satur­day.

‘‘A lot of us have played with or against each other be­fore, so it doesn’t take too long to pick up the com­bi­na­tions and know each oth­ers game quite well,’’ Hunter said.

Each side would have four evenly matched play­ers on the field at a time for the course of six chukkas - seven minute pe­ri­ods.

Wood said his first in­ter­na­tional test was against the Aus­tralians and the Kiwi side was lucky to ‘‘come away with a wee win’’.

‘‘They’re tough, they al­ways put up a good fight. There’s al­ways that New Zealand, Aussie ri­valry so it’s al­ways a big game,’’ Wood said.

Hunter said it was a ‘‘pretty awe­some hon­our’’ to play the test match for the Ron­ald McDon­ald House cause.

Aus­tralian cap­tain Jack Archibald said he and his team were ex­cited for the char­ity event, which promised to be a tough match be­tween mates.

‘‘They’ve got four very good play­ers so it’s go­ing to be re­ally tough for us. We’ll have our work cut out for us.’’

Spots on the catered ta­bles were sold out but en­try to watch the match at PHPC’s Tai Tapu field was free.

As well as the in­ter­na­tional test match, there would be a match be­tween emerg­ing young South Is­land play­ers, auc­tions and a bar and food tent pro­vided by ma­jor spon­sor Lion Nathan. There was also an on­line silent auc­tion, which peo­ple could reg­is­ter for by tex­ting POLO2017 to 3840.

MATTHEW SAL­MONS/STUFF

Jimmy Wood and Lochie Hunter are set to ride against Aus­tralia this week­end.

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