Once again the unofficial commencement to our polo season was with the ‘Polo in the City’ in November 2011. An event staged in Victoria Park in front of the historic grand stand, which makes for an impressive backdrop. With the wonderful setting it proved to be a fun day for those involved partying on late into the night. Again, local teams had their credentials boosted by having Glen Gilmore (7 goals), the captain of the Australian team playing with Adelaide, and the kiwi, Sam Hopkinson on 6 goals playing for Melbourne. Adelaide got up on the day.
For those interested in attending, the format has changed a little for this coming year and the date put back to Friday 14th December, which is more in line with our season and makes the preparation of players’ ponies, a little less onerous.
“The Christmas Cup”, a low goal event was played over Christmas and New Year for those around, followed by the Hunt Club Cup in mid-January.
Eight teams lined up to compete for the Captains Trophy on the first weekend in February – it is never an easy win! Sadly squalls of rain washed play out on the Sunday and no replacement weekend was found to play the finals, so the 2013 winners’ spot remains a blank!
Jock Maclachlan, Phil Clarke, Scott Tonkin and I played an 8 goal game in Melbourne against a Victoria B side in mid-Febuary as the ‘curtain raiser’ to the International match. Our SA team snuck in a win by one goal!
With Phil Clarke abrogating his responsibilities to maintain the ground at Penola (for just one tournament) the committee offered the Penola Polo Club use of our fields for the weekend, to play for the Penola silverware, just with a change of location. It was a good weekend in the lead up to the annual Adelaide Polo Club Tournament.
Seventeen teams graced the Adelaide Polo fields competing for our silverware on the weekend of 17/18 March. The tournament was held on the one weekend this year, which meant visiting teams could play one, two or three weekends without being committed to the lot. The format worked well.
A very exciting final for the Barr-Smith Cup (A Grade) was played between the Pitchfork team and Jeep which went down to the wire, with Jeep coming from behind to win in extra time 8-7. It was a tantalising and nail- biting finish. The question arose in the final which required thought and reference to the rule book, but still remains somewhat unclear: Does the chukker finish on the bell or when the umpires whistle blows (with the uncertainly coming into play if umpires don’t hear the bell and play continues for some time)?
The pony judging was ably judged and awarded by Rose Ross, Jaye Allen and Rosie Vincent. Reschke Wines, our long term sponsor once again supported the tournament – our thanks to the generosity of the principal Burke Reschke.
The tournament was well supported by our Victorian friends and also, for the first time in many years, a visiting contingent of West Australians, namely Twynam Cunningham and his son Seb. Lovely guys, demonstrating immaculate manners on and off the polo field, we hope to see them back again in 2013.
The Verco Tournament was the last weekend of the calendar and the enthusiasm injected into that by Chris Verco and his team is outstanding and makes for a wonderful grande finale to the season with the tone being set by the sponsor that we are after all – here to have fun and not to kill each other!
The affable Kym Afford remains our curator, though he often threatens to retire and I suspect if the sale of the property goes through, Kym will go with it! He does an amazing job in keeping the fields in pristine shape and will have been pleased to see a heavy application of sand on both fields at the end of the season, to keep them in the condition we are accustomed to.
Members might well question why spend those funds when we are looking to sell the property and move to another location. The answer being that the sale – with housing starts in rapid decline, and the numerous encumbrances to our site to be removed before we are in a position to be able to extract maximal return from the sale, may take some years. It would therefore seem folly to begin removing ourselves from inputs required to keep the field at the level which is attractive to both members and visitors alike.
The committee have engaged the services of urban planners Connor Holmes, namely Justin Hazell and Richard Dwyer, two very competent and professional individuals who have been assisting the sub-committee of President and Captain, in preparing the property for sale. Without delving into too much detail, with encumbrances such as one in one hundred year flood plain, ring road to go through the property, SEB, power lines duplication, Councils requirement for recreational open space (football ovals etc.), lack of deep sewerage accessibility, to name but a few, the preparation for sale involves removal of as many of these encumbrances as possible, the uncertainty of which a potential purchaser will have to factor into the sale price, at a discount, without their removal.
As such, much work has gone into this process and I must thank Angus McLachlan for his invaluable contribution in this regard. I really do see that maximising the returns for the club will allow us to relocate to another site and with proceeds behind us which should allow us to set the club up for generations of polo players to come.
A myriad of international and interstate players blessed the Adelaide Polo Club scene over the summer, adding to the standard of play, adding colour to the programme and fostering some colourful romances! We had polo’s bad boy Ollie Pettit back from Argentina with his cousin Pali Harrison, the lovely Tiva Gross from Kenya and for a short time her attractive English friend Izzy Parsons on the circuit. Phillipa and Bingham Fitz-Henry were also back in South Australia playing with the Shoesmith family with half-brother Pete Handbury.
Prominent member Liz Addams-Williams unfortunately sustained a broken wrist as a result of a fall from a horse and was unable to play the season. Liz employed the services of one of the great burglars on one goal, Pali Harrison to train her horses. Pali subsequently became in high demand, much to Liz’s delight.
I would also mention Liz Holland-Clarke, Gordon Tonkin, Chris Verco along with many other who contribute their time, thank you so much.
Dates for your diary: at the time of writing this Captain Report, I am unable to advise confirmed dates, but provide a draft calendar for your perusal which is unlikely to change. Note, with Easter early in 2013 (Good Friday 29th March) it is fair to say the calendar is somewhat condensed.
The date for this year’s AGM has been set for Friday 26th October at 5pm, Clubhouse, Adelaide Polo Club, Mt Barker. I encourage members to attend and direct questions at the committee, particularly on the subject of the development and sale of the property, which is proving to be multi- pronged and multi-dimensional in removing encumbrances to allow the club to maximise returns.
Your committee remains unchanged with Angus McLachlan as president, Andrew Gray, Mark Lindh, Luke Rowley, Andrew Michael, Jock Maclachlan and I.
Captain- Adelaide Polo Club
BARR-SMITH CUP was won by ‘Jeep’ comprising C.Warren, H.McLachlan, G.McLachlan and P.Clark defeated ‘Pitchfork’.
MELROSE CUP was won by ‘Adelaide’ comprising T.Gross, C.Gibbs, J.Maclachlan and C.Maclachlan defeated Vic Polo Academy.
MURRAY CUP was won by ‘Lane End’ comprising A.Gray, N.Roberts, C.Gibbs and P.Harrison defeated Silver Star Score 5-3.
MURRAY DAWSON CUP was won by ‘All Sheds’ comprising P.Handbury, M.Shoesmith, R.Shoesmith, B.Fitzhenry def Madsen Rowley.
Score 6 ½-4.
PORTER SHIELD was won by ‘Herschel’ comprising S.Nichols, G.Childs, M.O’leary, M. Fitzhenry defeated Ultratune.
TARZAN TROPHY – Champion A Grade Pony was won by Hamish McLachlans ‘Indi’
MCGREGOR TROPHY- Champion A Grade String was won by G.Keyte’s “Supreme”, “Ying Yang” & “Yoda”.
Captains Report Season 2011-12 – Champion B Grade Pony was won by P.Harrison “Sox”
DUMPS TROPHY – Champion 1st Season Pony was won by Tiva Gross “Grace”.
HURLINGHAM TROPHY - Most improved player for the 2011/12 season was won by George Nisyirious.