Big weekend as polocrosse takes over
POLOCROSSE: The Queensland Polocrosse Association (QPA) is working on ways to bring the sport to the forefront with the annual Eidsvold polocrosse drawing in crowds at the weekend.
Despite not having a team for the past seven years, Eidsvold remains the battlefield when it comes to hosting polocrosse events.
Board member for the QPA Geoffrey Hartwig said he was optimistic Eidsvold would one day have a team.
"This weekend we held the club carnival which is a big event in polocrosse,” Hartwig said.
"Our club doesn't have a travelling team anymore 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.”
Established in 1937 by a couple living in Sydney, polocrosse is a fast paced, skilful and exciting game played on horseback.
Hartwig reckons the team will form one day; but in the next five to ten years.
"It will happen one day, we just need a couple of families to move in here that will want to polocrosse,” he said.
"I've been playing for 45 years and still playing the sport and absolutely love it.”
Hartwig has a huge job as part of the board committee for the QPA ensuring polocrosse is a sport that is thriving across the region.
"We manage polocrosse all across Australia, every team member is registered through the national database,” he said.
"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 hopes 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 secretary Karen Slater echoed Hartwig's words and said the entire weekend was a success despite heavy rain pouring down 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 turn out of members from across the region.”
"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 need to be very fit as well as the players to ensure polocrosse runs 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 polocrosse for the past 30 years and believed this year was the best one they've had 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.
Polocrosse rider for Calliope Ken Pengelly said he's played the sport for a few decades and now enjoys watching his grand children participating in competitions.
"There's a hundred 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 grand-kids who are playing it, it's definitely a sport the entire family can play.”
Pengelly remarked "it's a sport where everyone looks out for one another.”
"I was always a rugby league player and decided to go into polo-crossing, 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 horses 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.”
Travelling the world was all 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 remains the number one family sport and is getting bigger across Australia.
It has been announced that in 2019 Warwick will be hosting the polocrosse world cup taking place on April 22-29 and will be celebrating 80 years of the sport.
The event is expected to draw in tens of thousands of spectators.