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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
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
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PNG Players and Trophy Winners

Lae held a full carnival at Nadzab, at which the guest coach/umpire, David Sillis and his wife Janet were present. They also played, Janet with Lae and David filled in for a player in the Markham Valley team. Lae1, playing well, defeated Ramu1 by one goal. Ramu defeated Goroka1 and won the first Division, and Markham 2 won the second division.

Michael (Smiley) Wright, from Stanthorpe had come to work at Dumpu. He was a good horseman and polocrosse player. He boosted Ramu A team in the absence of Jephcott family members, and top players from Gusap. At the National Titles, riding Sandi Jephcott's Spitfire, Smiley was the Best Player, and led Ramu A team (Smiley, Rob, Mata, Kimao, Osifa and Kipas), to victory over Goroka (Dan Leahy, Paul Frame, Aitape, Gordon Spannagle, Gordon Guy and John Tuckerman) 13 goals to 10. Ramu 2 was relegated to C Grade, defeating Goroka 3. B Grade was played between MV1 and MV2, and Markham Valley Juniors beat Goroka Juniors. Mata won the Best and Fairest, playing a good No.3 against Dan Leahy. There were a record nineteen teams at the carnival. The Best Horse was Jim Launder's solid little Mr. Dapper, ridden by Aitape.

In the next two years, Ramu Club almost faded away. Few good players were left to make up a strong A team. Rob and Angela Blomfield had moved to the Markham. Mata had been enticed to Goroka and Smiley Wright had returned to Australia.

A disease in the Ramu sugar known as "Ramu Stunt" had developed. The sugar was stunted and hard to harvest, with low yields. It was worse in 1986, and all the sugar had to be re-planted. This had a big economic effect on Dumpu and Gusap. ANGCO staff was prominent in the Goroka A Team. The Markham Valley Club was building into a strong Club, with an improved quality and quantity of players, and good sponsors. Attendance at the carnivals throughout the year was low. Ramu did not attend many.

The highlight of the early part of the season was the visit of a team from Warwick. The players were, Merv Mangan, Terry Woods, Charlie Brook, Bryan and Greg McGahan, Robert Newcombe and Simon Brennan. They were led by Ken Shepherd, as manager, and accompanied by Pam Osborne and Rosie Brook.

On 24th May 1985, they arived in Lae. The Lae Club hosted them at a carnival at Nadzab, where they defeated the teams available there. After a few days sight seeing around Lae they came to Dumpu, transported thus by Tony, Bernie and Barb. They went to Ramu Sugar Mill and Club, up to the lakes on the Shaggy Ridge road, rode and drove around Dumpu, played tennis and some social polocrosse. Barb took them to Madang. It was a holiday so there were some sing sings on. We stayed at Jais Aben on a lovely moonlight fine night.

Their next move was with John Tuckerman, from Watarais to Goroka; to sightsee and ride the horses available for the polocrosse carnival on 8/9 June. They defeated all the AGrade teams on the Saturday. Ramu1 defeated Goroka and Lae. On Sunday, Warwick defeated Ramu 1 in the morning. In the afternoon a PNG team (Smiley, Kipas, Itap, Arthur, Bruce D. and John T.) played Warwick, who were mounted on the best of the remaining A Grade horses. Warwick won 22 goals to 12. The play was fast, too fast for some of the horses. Dan Leahy's Joe, became overheated, but recovered with treatment. By then Merv Mangan was manager, as Ken had gone home to his father-in-law's funeral.

There was a carnival at Dumpu on 22/23 June 1985. We played with handicaps. This was not successful in games between teams in different grades. Too much hard use of horses to throw enough goals to make up a large margin between teams. It was successful for Ramu1. With a handicap of 3 in their favor against Goroka1 the ten all score gave Ramu the match by 3 goals; 13 -10. Likewise in the B Grade, Ramu2 defeated Markham Valley 1 15 - 5, Ramu 2 were given 5 goals. We only played 4x6 minute chukkas in the finals, about which Goroka had complained, but the fields were wet and it was supposed to be a "relaxed" carnival, plus we had had some late nights.


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