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Kiwis up for chukkas at Tambo

Top shots: Tambo players Jamie Sargood, Jekka Lloyd and Jacob Ross playing against Taroom at Emerald’s annual carnival in 2016. Photos: Anne-Maree Lloyd.A polocrosse spectacle not seen before in western Queensland is in the making, thanks to the Tambo Polocrosse Club.
Nanjing Night Net

Vowing to save the sport from the ravages of drought and hard times, the club is bringing some ofNew Zealand’s best polocrosse players across the ditch to takeon the cream of Queensland’s clubs at its annual carnival.

The chance to play against a team from thePutaruruTirauPolocrosse Club, a North Island club which boasts several NZ representative level players, is expected to attract around 40 teams for the May 20-21 carnival, and large crowds.

Tambo club president Rachael Sargood said the initiative was designed to save polocrosse in the west.

“One pregnancy, or one person moving away, and our club is in jeopardy,” is how she described the current state of play for what is undoubtedly the region’s most enduring club.

“Tambo’s done it tough –everyone’s busy and trying to make a dollar. Even hardcore players couldn’t muster last year.”

Jamie Sargood taking the ball up against Jess Taylor at Emerald’s 2016 carnival.

The effects have been felt even more deeply elsewhere –neither Longreach nor Muttaburra clubs were able to host a carnival in 2016 –and Rachael and others fear that with only one active club, there will be no more central west polocrosse zone.

“The main thing is to keep holding carnivals and giving spectators really top level competition,” Rachael said. “We can put on a great carnival every year but you don’t get that same adrenalin rush without a crowd there cheering.”

As well as the highest seeded teams playing a round robin against New Zealand, the Bob Sargood Memorial competition will take place below that.

Charleville is Tambo’s closest club, two hours away, but as the central west competition has declined, players generally have to travel upwards of four or five hours one way to get a game on weekends.

“Polocrosse is growing hugely in the south east, and we needed to find a way to drag those players up to our part of the world,” Rachel said.

Tambo Polocrosse Club president Rachael Sargood with club patron Robyn Sargood.

Theidea has received a lot of support from clubs in the south–Tansey, Chinchilla, Wandoan, Warwick and Cunningham are expected to send teams up for the chance to try out their horsemanship against an international team.

The Tambo club is paying for airfares for New Zealand the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council has offered to house them for their five-day stay.

Arriving on Wednesday night, the Kiwis will try out their mounts on Thursday and Friday as well as taking part in a sponsor meet and greet, before “hooking in” on Saturday.

The New Zealand polocrosse season runs from December to April so the players will be match fit and ready for the many challenges expected from NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, as well as around Queensland.

Rachael hopes Tambo’s initiative will pave the way for clubs such as Longreach to “have a crack” at doing something similar in two years’ time, which they would be standing ready, willing and able to support.

“The ones that are playing now want to keep playing, and their kids are coming through,” she said.

“It’s an amazing family sport. (My husband) Jamie and I both play, as well as our two sons, aged 11 and 13, who will be representing Queensland in April.

“Polocrossegives them the opportunity to play at all sorts of levels. It would be sad for people not to have the chance to play such a good sport in the future.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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