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The Victorians were most hospitable to all our players and accompanying wives, friends and officials. The horses they lent the PNG team members were good, but the Victorian season had just ended and some of the horses were looking for a spell. They played at a Sale Carnival at which there were seven teams, including a PNG team-Bruce, Keri, Kipas; Mata, Paul and Kosi.. Scott, Neil and Ned Pegg (he and Liz. came along as supporters) made up another team with three Victorians. At the carnival they had two wins against two second teams on the Saturday. On Sunday the Test team was selected, with Scot replacing Mata, who had not played to form on a strange horse. They then defeated Bairnsdale, just went down to Trafalgar, and lost the final to Sale City 1. A few more days were spent in the area, before driving to Buchan in the Snowy River area, and the homeland of the Victorian President, Norm. Woodhouse and his wife Marg. Three daughters played polocrosse, as had Norm and his son. Scott had flown to Sydney at his own expense, Bruce and Barb drove him to Victoria. The Jephcotts accompanied the team to Buchan. We all progressed to Canberra, and the hotel. The players gave priority to the care of their horses, among the sightseeing and receptions/dinners.
1983 International Grand Parade
PNG followed by Zimbabwe
The play on Saturday was a round robin of 4 x 8 minute chukkas, played to international rules (including the African throw at goal over the horse being allowed). The results were as expected with the Australians, on their own horses and being the better players, won all their matches comfortably. New Zealand went down to Australia 21 - 14, defeated PNG 22 - 5; and Zimbabwe in a close 13 - 11. PNG lost heavily to NZ and AUST, but held their own against ZIM going down 13 - 10. Our first section played well against Michael Crossey, Ken King and Clive Johnston winning 7 - 3. Our second section, playing the stronger Zim players - Anthony and Alastair Keith, Iain Kay (Captain), lost 3 -10. In the finals, Zimbabwe won the beaten teams 23 - 7. Again the first section combined well and held their score at 5 - 5. Some, particularly one, of the PNG players did not take the responsibility of playing for one's country seriously enough, by staying out late and drinking.
The road show moved on the Queensland for the second Test to be at the Gold Coast. PNG went to Warwick to be allocated horses. Les. Fraser assembled some good horses. Grant Jephcott joined the team. The first section remained intact, with Bruce lent horses by Charlie Brookes, Keri on Fraser MacFarlane's, Fraser and Kipas on Les Fraser's, Chesnut. The second section was reshuffled. Grant played No1 on Ross Shepherd's Boxer, Sandy - No.2 on Ian Baker's (Wandoan) Gentle Ben and Neil Donaldson - No 3 on Bryce Jackson's Fred. Sonia Donovan and Kent Wells lent reserve horses.
1983 International PNG Players at Gold Coast
Neil Donaldson, Waubi, Bruce Duffield, Grant Jephcott, Keri
Sunny Queensland's Gold Coast was wet and quite cold. The fields were sodden, so the play was reduced to one game for each team per day. Australia demolished PNG, 30 goals to 5. In the beaten teams final Zimbabwe defeated PNG - 33-13. The first section lost form and went down 19 - 3, against a re-arranged team with Clive Johnson as No.1. Our second section - Grant, Sandy and Neil played well to hold Alastair and Iain Keith and Iain Kay to 14-10. Of course Australia won the beautiful trophy, (a Rische painting on a polished blackbean frame, with a gold medal and trim) donated by the Patron, Mr. Arthur Earle. They defeated New Zealand 41 - 19. In Canberra, Australia played two Victorians, Geoff. Jolly and John Buchanan, with NSW players, Graeme Spackman, Neville Gilpin, Jim Davidge and Darryl Smith. Darryl played again at the Gold Coast with Queenslanders Ross Shepherd, Les Fraser and Steve Moloney, and from NSW David Sillis and Mike Gorman.
New Zealand was to host the next Test Series in 1986, but the Australian officials refused to play because NZ planned only one Test, to suit the availability of horses and venues. A weak effort was made for PNG and Vanuatu (where some had started to play polocrosse) to form the three teams required for the competition, to play for the trophy. The decision to "boycott" the NZ Series was made at a meeting between Australia and Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe; PNG and NZ had no say. Sir Bruce wrote to Mr. Walters about this lack of consultation re the Test series and pooling of horses. The "International" Test series faded until it was revived in a much larger and fairer format, (an excellent horse pool was made available from which ALL drew their mounts), and successful Series at Warwick in 2003. I wonder what happened to that Earle Trophy?
In 1983 there were still only four countries really playing polocrosse, the other being South Africa, with 800 players, which were not allowed to play due to apartheid. The South African Presidents attended the IPA meetings. The USA, Ireland, England and Canada were only starting to think about polocrosse then.