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Before the series began, Grant, Kepas, James and Michael were joined by Gordon Spannigal and Scott Johnston to play in the Zone Titles at the Gold Coast. They were soundly trounced by the eventual winners, Hunter Valley, but defeated North Coast 2 to win the A Grade beaten teams.
Between the 1983 Tests and the 1988 Bi-Cenntenial, polocrosse in PNG continued strongly. The Ramu Club hosted the 1983 Nationals at Dumpu. There were fourteen Teams, four of them Juniors. The usual large crowd, increased on a daily basis by spectators from Ramu Sugar.
The guest umpire was Ross Shepherd, who was an expert at the game of "chop the chook's head"! He was also a very efficient umpire and coach. Ramu 1 (Grant Rob. Kipas, Kimao, Keri, Mata) defeated Goroka 1 (Rose Palm, John Tuckerman, Gordon Spannagle, Paul Frame, Gordon (doubling up for an injured Dan Leahy) and Sandy Kosi) for the A.L.Rose Cup. The score was 18 - 10. Goroka were missing some of the ANGCO players due to a busy coffee season.
In the B Grade, Markham Valley 1 defeated Ramu 2, 9 - 3. For Markham, the players were, John Harsant, Waubie, Trevor Kennedy, Scott Johnston, Keepas Kamare and Tony Beirne. The Ramu 2 team comprised Sulli, Nimmo, Annis, Yavieng, Lucas2, and Osifa. Goroka 3 defeating Lae 2, 11 - 10, won the Hannon Cup for C Grade. For Goroka - Mike Bromley, Marie Smith, David Haynes, Russell Smith, Lynell Green and James; for Lae - Gary Lung, Kristi Scott, Rob Jacobsen, Micky, Ned Pegg and Athol Smith.
In the D Grade, Lae 3 defeated Ramu 4. Markham Valley Juniors defeated Lae Juniors. Damien Duffield -No.1, Tonga - No2 and Haleron - No.3, won the Junior's Trophies. Grant Jephcott won the Fraser Trophy for Best Player. Dot Jephcott's Nelson (ridden by Kipas) won the Impact Trophy, and Rose Palm the Broadbent Trophy for the Best and Fairest. The B Grade trophy winners read like A Grade, Scott, Keepas and Lucas 2. Mike Bromley won the C Grade No1, a good start to his career as a polocrosse player!
The carnival did not end until well into Monday. There were floods in Lae, finally the Lae people drove to Nadzab and flew into Lae. The final of the America's Cup kept us glued to radios (or TV) as it was postponed night after night. That was the year Australia won.
The very sad event of 1983 was the death of Keri Novah from leukemia, towards the end of the year. He had played in the Test team, and for Ramu 1, winning the A Grade. A memorial was erected at his village by the NGPA. Keri was our best New Guinean ambassador for his country. He was amiable, kind and thoughtful. On the polocrosse field he was a fair, clean player. Off the field he was quietly sociable, not subject to excessive alcohol, and always there when required. We all missed Keri.
In 1984, the Nationals moved back to Goroka. The early carnivals were mixed teams and chukka games. At Goroka, in June, Lae1 defeated Goroka1 in a round robin, and won overall, on goals. Lae were overjoyed by their first A Grade win. John Atherton lost his balance on a handy Golf Course tee and rolled down the hill to cap off a good night!
The first Ramu carnival at Dumpu in July was in the middle of the sugar cane harvest. The Dumpu players came and went between the polocrosse and sugar field. Goroka won A and B Grades and Ramu the C and D grades.
Goroka Club were involved in two international tours. In May, Richard and Rose Palm, Russell Smith, Aitap, and Kamaki visited the Burradoo Club in NSW. They played with the Club at the Hall and Milton carnivals. Rose rode Neville Gilpin's horse, Joyline, which was judged best women's horse of the carnival.
A Victorian team visited in August. They played at the Goroka carnival on the 10th and 11th, in the A Grade competition the first day. Ramu 1 defeated Goroka in the A Grade final and the Victorians played a PNG team, which won. During the week the nine Victorians, led by Ian Smith, visited Dumpu. We had a dinner party for them, and then sent them mustering, before they continued on to Nadzab for a one day carnival, followed by the races.