THE thunder of horse hooves reverberating across the Tara Showgrounds was music to the ears of polocrosse players who travelled from as far as the Gold Coast and Calliope for the state’s first carnival since March.

Easing lockdowns finally allowed the sport to resume, but it took time for clubs to navigate restrictions and commit players for a full scale event.

In a pleasing response for organisers, some 23 teams comprising 120 riders travelled to Tara, playing around 80 games over the Father’s Day weekend.

Tara Polocrosse Club president Ronnie Stephens said players relished being back in the saddle and reuniting with the sport’s extended community.

“There was a lot more planning than a regular carnival to make sure we complied with current restrictions,” Stephens said.

“QSport and the Queensland Polocrosse Association developed a safety plan for us and that really helped us get it all across the line.”

Toowoomba and Calliope players tussle for the ball at Tara. PHOTO: JAY PAGET

Stephens said rusty racquet work would have been forgiven with so little polocrosse having been played this year, but the standard was high in the circumstances.

“The level of polocrosse was really good considering everyone’s only just coming back from a big break,” he said.

“We had juniors right through to top tier state players.

“Everyone was very thankful for us running the carnival. People were just really keen to get back out playing again.”

Chinchilla polocrosse player Michael Barker umpiring a game between the Gold Coast and Calliope. PHOTO: JAY PAGET

Chinchilla player Michael Barker had a busy weekend in the saddle, playing for his local club and also umpiring several games.

He said participants were making the most of the carnival and getting the most out of their horses as well.

“It was great to finally get out and play polocrosse again,” Barker said.

“We weren’t playing for anything in particular, so it was great to just have a run and have some friendly competition. A lot of players took the opportunity to get their young and new horses going.

“It was also great to catch up with all of our mates from all over the state who play polocrosse. We haven’t had much chance to see them throughout the Covid.”

Clifton Polocrosse Club will host the next carnival on September 12-13 before Tansey rounds out the season on September 26-27.

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