A polocrosse revival

By TONY WHITE

POLOCROSSE is about to be revived in Grafton.

The South Grafton Polocrosse Club, formed in 1956, once boasted a large membership with teams of 40plus exponents regularly travelling to gymkhanas across NSW.

Eight years ago, due to a lack of interest, the club folded.

However, former presidents Chris McDonald and Ivan Hambly hope to revive the sport and are looking for interested players and anyone wanting to be involved to attend a meeting at South Grafton's Polocrosse Shed, Hawthorne Park, tomorrow.

The pair are looking to form a new committee and map out practice and carnival weekends for 2005.

In the 1980s South Grafton Polocrosse Club was one of the biggest in NSW with Hawthorne Park hosting the Australian championships.

"The club remains financially stable, there was no acrimony when it folded," McDonald said.

"We're hoping to kick it off again following renewed interest in polocrosse.

"The grounds at Hawthorne Equestrian Park are great. There are five playing fields, 100 stables, a clubhouse and bar.

"The facilities are first class. The grounds are council-owned and managed by a user group committee.

"We just need some en- thusiasm to kick this off.

"We also see this as a community service. An outlet for the kids to progress after pony clubs and the like.

"There is a team of kids progressing well at pony clubs and a general core of support including administrators, but we're looking for players of all ages.

"Polocrosse is for all age groups from sub-juniors to open men, women and masters and all played in various grades."

Polocrosse is an Australian adaptation of polo, de- veloped in Sydney during the 1930s and currently played in 13 countries internationally.

There are six players in a polocrosse team compared to three to four in polo, and the equipment also differs.

Polocrosse players use a racket with a net, and use a 10cm rubber ball, while polo uses a mallet with a cigar end and a 5cm wooden ball.

While polo players change horses every 'chucker', polocrosse players play one horse per 'chucker'. And it's a cheaper sport than po- lo as well.

Top-end polo players have six championship horses and numerous young horses in training.

The type of horses also differs. Polo horses are often former thoroughbred racehorses, where as polocrosse horses have to be bigger, chunkier specimens.

Stock horses are often preferred for their ability to stop and rotate quickly.

"Polocrosse horses are more the rugby league type workers. Some say it's like a mob of hookers playing," McDonald joked.



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