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A meeting was held to outline the programme for the visiting team from North-West Queensland. Eleven were coming, ten of which were players. Port Moresby also expressed a wish to return to defend their C Grade title. A lot of horses and accomodation was needed at Dumpu. A large tent was lent to Dumpu and Ramu Sugar Mess would have space. It was to be a big National Titles in the old style, the last such Test match would be held after the Nationals with a choice of good horses, provided by those not in the PNG team.
Generous sponsors helped Ramu Club, the Jephcotts and Dumpu staff prepare for the Nationals. The first gift was rejected. Ramu Sugar offered some smart new green and white Ramu Beef shirts; the reaction was "They are not Red". Our equipment had run down, but we found red shirts in Madang and Barb sewed the logos onto them. SP Brewery supported us with two kegs of beer; Coca Cola with soft drink; Angco with Coffee and Goroka people with vegetables; Dumpu Pty Ltd and Gusap - beef; Ela Motors, Boroko Motors, Farmset, Toowoomba Saddlery, Blundstone, Huon Pharmcies and Rice Industries all helped with trophies. Southern Pacific Insurance donated two years Public Liability cover to the PNGPA. Over the years, many generous sponsors supported PNG Polocrosse. Others included Bridgetone Tyres, (the backbone of Markham Valley Club's finances), Collins & Leahy, ANGCO and Air Nuigini.
A busy week was spent cooking and rearranging the house to accommodate as many people as possible to sleep for the weekend. It all began at Dumpu on the Friday, when the eleven Queensland visitors arrived, courtesy of a bus, organised by President Trevor, and Bruce Duffield's car. The visitors were - Peter and Sue Ievers, Ross Ievers, Ian Ievers, Jenni Byrant, Jamie Gallego, Keith Logan, (all from the Richmond Club) and Peter Hall, Patrick Hick and Jane Walsh from the Cloncurry Club.
There were about twenty-five for dinner. The eleven visitors were crowded into the "Flat", the rest of us, Duffields, Kennedys, Arthur and Mike into the main house. Kipas accommodated many local players in his house, which was the old manager's house.
On Saturday, the Port Moresby players flew to Nadzab, not arriving until midday. By the time they drove up with the Beirnes and Bob Simmons we were late starting. The Ramu truck was slow with its second load.
To get started, the Dumpu B and C graders played a match against Markham. When all the Ramu players finally arrived, the teams were in disarray and remained so for the carnival. Of the eight B/C teams, including Port Moresby and one Goroka team, the Markham Valley teams were the strongest. They and Ramu each had three teams.
In the A Grade the four teams, N-W Qld, Lae, MVPC and Ramu played a round robin. The visitors, all good horsemen, were given the younger and friskier Ramu horses. It was not intended for them to win the National Titles, but they were to be well mounted to play against a PNG team the following weekend in Goroka. They were allowed to change available horses around. The Port Moresby team was mounted on quieter horses with some polocrosse experience. In spite of the late start, with two fields and punctual umpires, we got through the preliminary games on Saturday afternoon. Ramu played NWQ first and won. As their horses improved the visitors won against the other A Grade teams.
The usual Saturday night mu-mu at Dumpu, started badly. Grant and the Dumpu stockmen had to go out to fight a fire. We had had this problem all the "dry". In the meantime hordes of non-playing villagers (some of which had probably started the fire) arrived for free beer and food. Scott Young and Simmo moved most of the non-players on their way, and the fire fighters were back for dinner. The party continued all night, with Grant and Kipas the only A grade finalists still there at 4.30 am. Kipas was organising the barbecue breakfast, and had others cleaning up at 6.30 am. Grant emerged at 9.a.m. by then Kipas had gone to bed! All those billeted at Ramu and Gusap had piled into the tent or the lounge. These included seven from Port Moresby including Kevin West, Eddie Broad, Barry Hastie, Cherie and three others.
The play continued on Sunday according to schedule. Markham Valley 2 defeated Ramu 2 in the B Grade and MV 4 defeated Ramu 3 in the C Grade. Port Moresby, Ramu 4 and Markham 3 were the beaten teams. In the A Grade, MV (Keepas, Kimber, Bob, Michael, Heather and Tony) played NWQ for a "beaten" teams match.
Lae and Ramu were to face off for the final. The Lae team, a collection of good players from other Clubs, (Arthur Jones, David Hannon, Mike Bromley, Bruce Duffield, Andrew Awotang and Trevor Kennedy) were favored to win. Awatang's horse was lame on Sunday enabling him to play Mike Bromley's good mare, Duchess. Ramu team as usual were made up of Gusap and Dumpu staff, this time most of the old Dumpu A Grade players had retired themselves from polocrosse, only Kipas Moti on Sarlot and Grant Jephcott on an unreliable mare Cirrus (nicknamed Miss Piggy) remained. The team was Joe Bruno, Kevi, Kipas, Grant, Scott Young and Sulli. Kipas played a top game; Joe threw accurate goals, for the first section to outplay the Highlanders. Miss Piggy behaved enough for Grant to drive away from Awantong in the area. Scott also played well to give the top No.2 Trevor Kennedy a hard time, and Sulli sedately managed to contain Bruce. The final score was 14 - 9 to Ramu. Kipas was named Best Player and Best No.3; Grant was Best No1 and Best and Fairest, and Scott was judged Best No2. Enough people stayed to entertain our visitors and party on. Grant took the NQ visitors to Madang, after getting steers for Kipas to truck to Lae, putting cows back into their paddock off the road, and controlling a small fire.