Polocrosse in the UK
There are 13 clubs and around 10 grass tournaments a year. We also play arena polocrosse in the winter and spring when the weather does not allow for grass play. We have seen a huge growth in the sport over the winter and spring months with successful leagues.
History of polocrosse in the UK
Contrary to popular belief, polocrosse began in the UK.
"Just prior to visiting England in 1938, Mr and Mrs Edward Hirst of Sydney read an article in an English horse magazine on “polocrosse”. As both were keen on horse breeding and horse sports they decided to find out more about it when they got to England. On arrival they visited the National School of Equitation at Kingston Vale near London where two riding instructors had developed an exercise to supplement the work at the riding school and to make the young riders take better charge of their horses. The exercise was played with two a side, indoors, and with markers on the wall from which the ball bounced back into play. The goals were elongated basketball nets hung at each end of the arena. The sticks were old polo sticks that had the polo mallet removed and replaced with a squash racket head. This had a shallow string net which they used to scoop up the ball. The idea was to scoop up the ball, which was a little larger than a tennis ball, ride with it to the end of the arena and drop it into the net to score."
Mr and Mrs Hirst then took the game back to Australia. There are a few photos of polocrosse being payed intermittently post war but it really came into its own in the eighties when the Shearing family brought it home from South Africa. Since then it has grown in popularity in the UK.
Previous World Cup record
The UK's highest place was 2nd in 2007. We came 4th in 2015
What is unique about polocrosse in the UK?
We play whatever the weather. The only time we’ve ever seen rain stop play was when the tiniest players at Pony Club championships last year couldn’t make their ponies line up because they kept turning their tails to the rain!
We give the horses three cheers to end every tournament.
Junior polocrosse in the UK
Kids start as soon as they can ride and hold a racquet. The UK Polocrosse Association has really strong links with the Pony Club - every area of the UK has a polocrosse co-ordinator. Their role is to grow the sport amongst the Pony Club membership and this has brought many of our best players to the game. Our youngest player at National Championships last year was Lottie Wilson-Fitzgerald at 8 years old. She played the year before aged 7 too!
In Juniors there are three sections played and this is reflected by the Pony Club. These are Primary Juniors (PJ) who are 12 or under on ponies of 13.2hh and under, Novice Juniors (NJ) who are any age on ponies or horses over 13.2hh and graded at less than 2, and Open Juniors (OJ) any age on over 13.2hh and graded 2 or over. There is an under 16 squad and a development pathway for all those deemed to have the potential to go forward to be considered for squads.