Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Australia takes first Polocrosse

Story and photos John Elliott

ImageAt the closing ceremony of the Polocrosse Wold Cup in Warwick, Queensland, in early May a message was read from Prime Minister John Howard. He said, "Polocrosse will end up as an Olympic sport." Gauging from the crowd response at the sellout World Cup, he may be right.

The Australian sport of polocrosse is an action-packed, fast-paced, skillful and exciting game played on horseback. It presents an incomparable athletic challenge involving speed and stamina, and demands lightning-quick reflexes of both horse and rider. Polocrosse is a colourful and fast-moving sport with plenty of room for clean competition.

The event was held over six days and involved teams from Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, USA, Ireland, Canada and South Africa. The competition was held at Morgan Park, in the historic town of Warwick, and in the final Australia emerged victorious over arch rival New Zealand.

World Cup horse co-ordinators Neville Gilpin and Kent Wells travelled all over Australia to borrow 150 horses for the competition. Several horses came to Warwick after competing in the interstate championship at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and 15 made the long trip from Western Australia. The horses were graded and each competing international team was able to draw 12 mounts.
Morgan Park can rightly lay claim to being the number one polocrosse facility in Australia. The 24-hectare complex has seven turfed and irrigated playing fields and permanent stables for up to 300 horses. The excellent camping and visitor facilities were put to good use by large crowds. Early in the week local schoolchildren were given a day off to attend the World Cup and visiting teams appreciated their spirited cheering, with each school adopting a different team on the day.

A very proud Les Fraser, chairman of the Polocrosse World Cup Queensland Committee, said at the closing ceremony "Polocrosse was invented in Australia in 1938, so it is appropriate that the most prestigious polocrosse event ever staged was held here in Australia. Our goal for the World Cup was to forge a new direction for horse sports in Australia - especially for polocrosse - and to lead the game in the 21st century."

ImagePolocrosse is one of few sports where men and woman compete in the same game, even if at different times. In the grand final between Australia and New Zealand, the men and women contested four chukkas each. The Aussie ladies went to a comfortable lead, mostly through the efforts of Australian number one Jane Cooper, who was dominant in centrefield.

In the men's chukka the Aussies went further ahead. The final was the first game in which the Aussie men outscored the Aussie women. As the game progressed the Australians extended their lead, eventually winning 31-13.

1st Australia, 2nd New Zealand, 3rd South Africa, 4th Zimbabwe, 5th United States, 6th Ireland, 7th United Kingdom, 8th Canada. Story end

More photos: OUTBACK June/July 2003

Go to:


Subscribe today

Subscribe now and receive each bi-monthly issue for only $45 mailed to any address in Australia. Overseas rates at Subscription Centre. OUTBACK has been Australia's fastest-growing magazine for the past two years in a row.

R.M. Williams Summer 2004/5 Catalogue

Visit rmwilliams.com.au for R.M.Willams history, news and the on-line product catalogue