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Polocrosse - Papua New Guinea style Print E-mail
Written by Barbara   
Tuesday, 04 July 2006
Article Index
Polocrosse - Papua New Guinea style
Page 2 - Organisation
Page 3 - Trophies
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7 - Playing the game
Page 8
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Page 10
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PNG Players and Trophy Winners

The social side of the 1983 series was very well organised and most enjoyable. Thus, when three players from each of, New Zealand, PNG and Zimbabwe, were invited to play in a Test series, as the Rest of the World against Australia in the Bi-Centenary Year - 1988, Barb said to Robyn Fraser,"It will be a farce as a competition, but we will have a good time". Well we had more than a good time, the PNG and New Zealand combination, with the help of a Zimbabwean No.3 in the PNG section, defeated the Australian team in the last Test at Chinchilla, Queensland. It was the first time an Australian team had been defeated.

Australia had played Victorians (A.Boulton, G.Olsen and J. Buchanan) and South Australians (S. and P. Clark and I. Blackmore), in the First Test. Supposedly Western Australia and New South Wales in the second Test, but there was only one from WA playing; the team was (G.Spackman, Graham Wilson, D. Smith, T.Donnelly, P.Brennan and P.Choice) and players from Queensland and the Northern Territory in the third Test. The horses supplied were variable, best in Queensland and worst in NSW, which has the largest pool of good horses, but not many are lent. One of the best, ridden by New Zealander was a very good type of stockhorse, which the owner admitted had never played competition polocrosse but had won campdrafts. The "spare" section, PNG, was delving in the umpires horse's yard for mounts to play on at Buradoo.

The first Test was played at Ballarat where the Zimbabwe section (Roy Bennett, Glen and Clive Johnston) and the PNG section (Grant Jephcott. Keepas Kamare and Michael Beirne) comprised the visiting World team. James Launder was ill. Australia won the Test 28 - 17. In NSW, at Burradoo, the Zimbabweans and New Zealanders went down 39 - 20 in a big scoring match. All Tests were 8 x 6 minute chukkas.

In Queensland at Chinchilla, the World Team consisted of New Zealand (Errol Gloyn, Ashley Christian and Gary Malcolm), and PNG (Grant Jephcott, James Launder and Zimbabwean, Clive Johnstone). PNG really had no No.3, but was allowed to borrow Clive. In the preliminary matches, this team had narrowly defeated Qld and the reserves, while Australia had easily defeated the same teams.

However, the play had cost Ross Shepherd his place in the Australian team, he had hurt his back, again. He was replaced by Noel Hassall from NT to play No1 with Pat Davidge and Les Fraser. The second section was Stewart Neal, Darren Hassall and Peter Fraser.

Grant Jephcott had been allocated a smart but "steady" horse. On Sunday, Keith Bowling kindly lent him a very good mare after she had had a game that morning.

The play was spectacular. New Zealand held up their end, in the first chukka 3 - 3, third- 5 - 1, fifth 6 - 1. Grant started nervously with strong defence from No3. Peter Fraser opposed by Clive Johnston, Australia 3 - 1. By the fourth chukka, Clive and Grant had the long throw working well with a score of 4 - 2, followed by 6 - 2 in the sixth. By then the overall score was 25 - 11 to the Rest of the World.

The Australian team changed positions; Pat Davidge went to No.1 positon. Stewie Neal played well, and Peter Fraser took a lot of ball from the lineout. The scores in the last two chukkas were 1 - 5 and 2 - 7, but the lead was sufficent for the Rest of the World to win 28 - 24. The horses lent to the visitors from as far away as Longreach were also excellent. Grant's horse was tiring, but she had played that morning and did a lot of work in the Test.

In Sybil Thompson's words in Behind the Goal Posts, "The R of W were well mounted, they used their horses well, as underdogs had nothing to lose. They tried everything and it came off. The long pass was used to advantage. They had good crowd support. A great game umpired well by Bob Sargood and Paul McIntyre."

The Chinchilla Club and supporters organised the Third World Series Carnival extremely well.

The word spread quickly in the excitement. Paul Duffield telephoned his family in Lae. By the time I had celebrated for a short time with the team, and driven about forty miles to my brother's property, (no breathalysers and only one small kangaroo), they had heard from people trying to telephone me from PNG.

Peter Fraser said he should crawl up a hollow log, it was the first time Australia had been defeated at Polocrosse. The next time an Australian team was defeated was in Zimbabwe. After that, drawing for horses was a fait accompli.

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 November 2006 )
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