The basic requisite for the successful Polocrosse player is a love of horses and the ability to ride easily and comfortably rather than any expert ball skills. Ball and riding skills are improved by regular practice and a competitive edge becomes important in tournament play but many people play Polocrosse just for the fun of the game.
Polocrosse has great appeal as it can be played as a sport for all the family and attracts a wide range of ability levels. In England the Pony Club has become involved in organising Polocrosse and there is an increasing number of teams across the country. Club level Polocrosse is generally very sociable - for riders and non-riders…
All you need to take part (aside from your own horse or the loan of one) are a few safety items such as bandages and bell boots, and a Polocrosse stick and ball for yourself.
Horse size is restricted for Primary Juniors who should only play on pinies of 14.2hh or under.
There are no other restrictions, you can play on any horse but the more agile the horse the better your chances of winning when you start to compete provided that you have the skills as well.
Playing a match
A team consists of 6 players, divided into two sections of three who play alternate chukkas (a term taken from polo, which refers to the lengths of time into which the match is divided up) of a maximum of 8 minutes each. Six or eight chukkas compromise a full match. The three players in each section play the position of a No. 1 "attack", a No. 2 "centre", or a No. 3 "defence".
The field is 60 yards (55m) x 160 yards (146.5m) divided into three separate areas. The goal scoring areas, on each end, are 30 yards long. Only the No.1 of the attacking team and the No. 3 of the defending team can play in these areas. The middle area is 100 yards long. The line separating the goal scoring and centre areas is called the penalty line. Goal posts are 8 feet apart. To score, the ball must be thrown from outside an 11-yard semi-circle in front of the goal.
Players can pick up the ball from the ground, catch it in their racquet, and ride with it. They will throw it to other players until the No.1 has possession in the goal scoring area. A player cannot carry the ball over the penalty line, but must bounce it so that they do not have possession of it while actually crossing the line. However, it can be thrown to a player over the line. When carrying the ball, a player must carry it on the stick side, i.e. right-handed players must carry it on the offside of the horse. They can, however, pick-up or catch the ball on the non-stick side provided they immediately bring it back to their stick side.
The game starts in centre field with the players lining up, one section beside the other, with the No. 1's in front. This is called a line out. The umpire then throws the ball, over the players’ heads. The game recommences similarly after a goal has been scored. Whenever an attempt at goal fails, the No. 3 throws the ball back into play from behind the penalty line, as directed by the umpire.
Hitting at an opponent's stick, either to dislodge the ball or to prevent them from gaining possession of it, is allowed in an upward direction only. Riding off is allowed, but crossing, stopping over the ball, or elbowing constitutes fouls. Sandwiching of one player between two others also constitutes a foul. Fouls result in a free throw to the offended side.
Equipment that is needed includes a recognised safety helmet and a racquet. For the horse you will need leg wraps and coronet boots.
In the UK there are clubs situated all around the country with the season starting in May and finishing in September although you will find taster and practise sessions run from as early in the year as February. During the season itself there is often a tournament taking place every weekend somewhere in the UK. The major event of the year is the Club National Championships and the Inter-Regional Championships.
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