COVERAGE SPONSORED BY BARASTOC

By HARRY CLARKE

LOST horse shoes and ankle guards are likely to remain buried deep underground for eternity at Morgan Park, after the Warwick Polocrosse Club persisted through intense mud and rain for as long as safely possible at its international mega carnival over the weekend.

More than 700 horses and 500 players flooded the town’s iconic fields for the combined Shell Cup Carnival, Barastoc Interstate Series and Adina Anzac Test.

The bigger flood came in a more literal sense, as relentless rainfall and heavy mud made for some of the most “tough” and “gritty” polocrosse many players had experienced.

Victoria versus New South Wales in the Barastoc Interstate Series. IMAGE: Amy Walker

But as opposed to completely spoiling the weekend, the incredibly challenging weather conditions made for a fascinating spectacle.

The world’s best had no choice but to adapt their games – using racquets to literally dig the ball from the mud and then doing their utmost to keep it off the ground, as horses trudged shin-deep across the Morgan Park paddocks.

After two days of tough polocrosse, officials had no choice but to call off the highly anticipated finals which were scheduled for Sunday.

“I left the complex at half past twelve (on Sunday morning) and it was still raining. As I drove out the gate I thought ‘we won’t be playing here tomorrow’,” said Les Fraser, president of the Warwick Polocrosse Club.

“We can’t change the weather, we’ve got to cop it as it comes. But our international guests still got two tests games and that might not have happened because the rain was pretty imminent from day one.”

COVERAGE SPONSORED BY BARASTOC

The Adina Anzac Test Series between Australia and New Zealand was the the first international polocrosse to be played in Australia since before the pandemic.

Kiwi men’s and women’s teams travelled across the ditch to take on Australia, who are raining champions from the 2019 Polocrosse World Cup.

Ultimately only two out of three games were played due to the bad weather, and both were won comfortably by the green and gold.

“Any time you get to play for your country is awesome and to come away with two wins – it would have been nice to play three – is exciting, we’ll take it,” said Australian women’s captain Lucy Grills, from the Albury Holbrook Polocrosse Club.

“It’s great to get the opportunity to play not only some of our good friends but also some of our bigger rivals in New Zealand.

The victorious Australian women’s team (L-R) Lauren Sibley, Lucy Grills, Katie Wills, Beth Hafey, Laura Donnelly, Taylor Radford and Lindsay Doolan

“In that mud, it’s tough. It’s old school sloggy polocrosse. It’s slow, it’s gritty, you’ve got to be determined to get that ball, have your head down and be really smart when you’ve got it.

“It doesn’t allow for many mistakes, if you want to convert you’ve got to be pretty clean.”

The Barastoc Interstate Series comprised teams from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, and a makeshift team from the Northern Territory also took part.

In the absence of third day finals the winners of each division was decided on score tallies. In the case of the junior women, equal scores from Queensland and New South Wales resulted in the winner being decided on a coin toss. NSW won.

Grant Carroll, winner of the Barastoc champion player and best horse and rider award.

It was a hugely successful carnival for Warwick player Grant Carroll, representing Queensland. Carroll took home trophies for champion player and best horse and rider in the open men’s Barastoc competition.

“It’s a big honour, especially being at the home carnival here in Warwick,” he said.

“It’s probably one of my favourite things to do, putting on the Queensland jersey. It’s always an honour and we’ve got a great team now. It’s a good young team and I’m looking forward to the future with them.”

Follow the Country Caller for a full video wrap from the wet weekend.

SOCIAL PHOTOS – SLIDESHOW

COVERAGE SPONSORED BY BARASTOC

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