Australian polocrosse captains named for World Cup
POLOCROSSE: Cousins from the Albury Holbrook club in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales have been charged with the responsibility of winning the World Cup for Australia for the first time in 12 years.
After Australia won the first two World Cups at Morgan Park in 2003 and 2007, South Africa won in 2011 and 2015.
Abbott Grills has been appointed captain for the Adina Polocrosse World Cup on April 22-28 at Morgan Park. His first cousin Lucy Grills has been named vice-captain.
Two years ago at Morgan Park, Lucy was best ladies' player in a 3-0 Australian win against a ladies team from South Africa and said at the time her sporting ambition was to play in a winning World Cup team.
Abbott, 32, will line up for his second World Cup after being vice-captain to Jane Cooper in 2015 when Australia came third in South Africa.
"It will be a wonderful feeling to captain Australia and I believe we have the team to win the World Cup,” he said.
"Our team is stronger than four years ago.”
The four men in the Australian team, Abbott and Jim Grills, Will Weston and Lance Anderson, have played together for NSW down the years and three, Abbott, Jim and Will Weston have played for Southern Highlands at zone level.
Abbott recalled playing in the club competition at the last Warwick World Cup in 2007.
"I am 32 now so was just going up from the intermediate age group at the time,” he said.
The same four NSW men also played for the Australian mixed team that beat Zambia 3-0 in a series last year in Zambia.
Zambia will play in Warwick for the first time after pushing its way into the top eight in 2011 instead of Canada.
In one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, Zambia beat South Africa in a round game in the 2015 World Cup in South Africa.
Australia is in the same pool as Zambia, Zimbabwe and the US in April and the national captain believed their toughest game in the round robin would be against Zambia.
"We have never played Zambia at a World Cup,” Abbott said.
"South Africa will be the toughest of all the teams in the World Cup. They have had the same men for three World Cups.”
He is required to supply three horses for the World Cup horse pool but has four of his own and sourced another four.
Abbott's father Roger Grills is from a family of 12 so he expected many Grills family members and friends will be in Warwick for the cup along with wife Carlie and 18-month-old son Ned.
Australia will play games against New Zealand in February at Ballarat and will travel to New Zealand in March for a weekend of games. Warwick player Cameron Shepherd is assistant Australian coach under Arch Anderson.
Cup tickets on https://polocrosse worldcup.com.au/
Australia: Abbott Grills (c), Will Weston, Jim Grills, Lance Anderson, Lucy Grills (v-c)(NSW), Lauren Sillitoe, Beth Hafey (Qld), Suzette Thomas (WA).