Kiwi team crosses ditch
THEY'VE crossed the Tasman Sea and have had to find new four-footed partners to play here in Warwick, but the New Zealand team is ready to show its polocrosse prowess on the field this weekend.
Seven women, aged between 17 and 40-something, arrived in Warwick late Thursday night to play in the Barastoc Ladies' state competition.
Among the team members is a mother-and-daughter pair.
The women had just yesterday to train with their horses, which have been loaned to the team while they play in Warwick.
Manager Anne Mickell said it was too expensive and time-consuming to try and bring the players' horses over from New Zealand.
“You have to put them into quarantine for several weeks before they're allowed to play,” she said.
“It'd be hugely expensive and it would outweigh the advantages of playing on your own horse.”
Yesterday each player was matched with one of the 12 horses based on ability and style.
“We look for which horse suits which player. Two of the girls' partners have come over to help assist with that,” Mrs Mickell said.
“They're very knowledgeable and they match the horses to what kind of riders the players are, and also on what position they play.”
Although having new horses impedes the New Zealand team's strength, Mrs Mickell said it also provided a chance for each girl.
“It's an opportunity to get on new horses and play. They'll also learn more about riding new horses,” she said.
“Here you've just got to play as best you can.”
Three of the players are from the Waikato Club and the other four are from King Country, all in the north island.
Mrs Mickell said the sport in their homeland was not nearly as popular as in Australia.
“It's certainly not as big in New Zealand,” she said.
“We'd have on average 24-25 teams at each polocrosse carnival, whereas here it's about 100 teams.”
The women are not aiming for a result from the weekend – they say they're just here for the experience.
“If we win, it'd be a bonus. We're just here for the opportunity,” Mrs Mickell said.
“In our team some of the ladies will play at the World Cup in England in July.
“It's a harder competition here so it will be a good experience in the lead-up to the World Cup.”
Polocrosse action at Morgan Park resumes today at 8am and finishes with evening entertainment and dinner.
Tomorrow's finals will be at 10am for the Barastoc Interstate Series Carnival and around 1pm for the Shell Cup series.