The Pony Club Polocrosse Championships took place on the 12th and 13th of August at Offchurch Bury in Warwickshire, as part of the overall JCB Pony Club Championships and there were lots of new players and ponies there who, combined with our more epxerienced members, put on a great display of polocrosse over the weekend.

Throughout all the grades there were some really close games, with five ultimately going to golden goal, including the Novice Juniors Final on Sunday which just added to the drama on Finals day. It was the North Warwickshire section who won that game and grade as they grabbed the golden goal after a couple of minutes of nail biting, end to end play against a strong Area 8 section. Area 2 then grabbed third spot on the podium.

The Novice Minis grade saw a record number of entries for recent years with 9 sections taking part and each team playing four games over the weekend. There were lots of new players taking part in their first championships and it was fabulous to see them and their ponies competing on the pitches. It ended in a win for the Area 8 Pumas who came out of top against Thetford Chase, making it a one-two for sections from East Anglia on the podium. North Warwickshire team finished in third place, showing that they have young talent coming through as well as continuing to do well in the older grades.

The Open Minis saw a win for a strong Area 6 team made up of Burghley and Belvoir Hunt members. They won all their games over the weekend but South Shropshire pushed them the closest and finished second with the Area 7 in third.

The podium for the Open Juniors teams

The Open Juniors started with two matches which both went to Golden Goal and that set the tone for the weekend with lots of close games. However, it was a combined North Warwickshire and North Down team that ended up winning all their games and finishing in first place. The mixed Dragons team was in second and then Area 2 finished in third.

The Open Seniors matches were always exciting, as the oldest and most experienced players put on a great display of polocrosse over the weekend and we were privileged to watch some great play by members and their horses. The final on Sunday had everyone gripped as North Warwickshire and Area 8 battled it out. Area 8 lead by one goal after chukka 1, pulled it out to two goals by the end of chukka 2 and then in chukka 3 managed to get away to a five goal winning margin, despite North Warwickshire initially reducing the gap back to just one goal. This game ended North Warwickshire maginificent winning streak of winning the Open Seniors every year since 2017 but they will surely be back next year to try and reclaim the crown.

The Area 8 Open Seniors pose with their prizes and the iconic JCB

At prize giving a special award was presented to Stella Stearn of the Suffolk Hunt for her work developing the sport of polocrosse in Area 8 and supporting all their players, whilst also playing in Open Seniors herself.

As well as the play on the pitch there was also the tack and turonout competition, which was judged on Saturday morning with prizes presented at the parade on Sunday morning. The parade itself was brilliant to watch, with all the players and their ponies looking fantastic as they paraded in their branches and areas. The tack and turnout prizes were awarded by age category, with Area 8 winning the Seniors, North Down and Area 2 Open Juniors jointly winning the Juniors and the South Shropshire Novice Minis winning the Minis.

Overall it was a brilliant weekend and it was wonderful to have so many members there, both experienced and new players and we hope to see them all back next year with even more players with them. A huge thank you to all our volunteers who make the Championships happen, including all the umpires who came along and umpired over the weekend and bought in umpire ponies. Also, a big thank you to the Pony Club office team and the team from Lands Eventing who put so much work into getting the Championships and the site ready. We couldn’t do it without everyone’s help so thank you and we hope you enjoyed watching the play over the weekend!

Tack and Turnout:

Seniors – 1st – Area 8, 2nd – Eagles, 3rd – South Shropshire and Denbigh

Juniors – 1st equal – Area 2 Open Juniors and North Down Novice Juniors, 3rd – Dragons

Minis – 1st South Shropshire Novice Minis, 2nd – Walpole and District, 3rd – Thetford Chase

Novice Minis:

1st) Area 8 Pumas – Abigail Robbins (Deanswood Equestrian Centre), Kaitlyn Allen (Walpole & District) and Elli-May Baskerville (South Norfolk)

2nd) Thetford Chase – Lola Batch, Savvanh Hibbs and Niamh Barron

3rd) North Warwickshire – Elise Flint, Josh Holliwell and Harry Young

4th) South Shropshire – Lily Leeke, Jim Leeke and Harriet Williamson

5th) Area 6 – Clarrissa Gale (Burghley Hunt), Thomas Vickers (Rufford Hunt) and Georgina Cheetham (Rufford Hunt)

6th) Walpole & District – Andromeda Freegard, Daisy King and Izzie Hardy

7th) Warwickshire Hunt – Oscar Calstandini, Charlie Calstandini and Iona Greenwood

8th) Area 8 Lions – Zach Dale-Cave (Essex Hunt North), Cooper Rich (Essex Hunt North) and Raiya Martin (Suffolk Hunt)

9th) Area 2 – Angus Dixon (South Northumberland), Isobel Dixon (South Northumberland) and Fraser Lowden-King (North Northumberland)

Open Minis:

1st) Area 6 – Olivia Sharp (Belvoir Hunt), Ava Lambert (Burghley Hunt) and Morvah Luke (Belvoir Hunt)

2nd) South Shropshire – Maggie Clark, Abigail Boswell and Grace Hockly

3rd) Area 7 – Isla Oliver-Byrne (North Warwickshire), Millie Taylor (Warwickshire Hunt) and Abi Braine (North Warwickshire)

4th) Falcons – Fraser Lowden-King (North Northumberland), Violet Bates (West Warwickshire) and Oliver Winter (Burton Hunt)

Novice Juniors:

1st) North Warwickshire – Monty Peckham, Hannah King and Archie Peckham

2nd) Area 8 – Sammy Westerling (Essex and Suffolk), Toby Milner (Suffolk Hunt) and Connie Fitton (Suffolk Hunt)

3rd) Area 2 – Tegan Lorey (North Northumberland), Jasmine Ford (North Northumberland) and Nina Lowden King (North Northumberland)

4th) North Down – Abbey Wallace, Eloise Keers and Mia Lewis

5th) Hawks – William Dixon (South Northumberland), Jess Gill (Rufford Hunt) and Ava Lambert (Burghley Hunt)

Open Juniors:

1st) North Warwickshire and Down – Isaac Flint (North Warwickshire), Max Lewis (North Down) and Jayda Williams (North Warwickshire)

2nd) Dragons – Alifie Vollans (Llangeinor), Charlotte Gee (South Shropshire) and Isabella Stone (Flint and Denbigh)

3rd) Area 2 – Ethan Campbell (Morpeth Hunt), Anya Tate (Morpeth Hunt) and Tilly Threlfall (North Northumberland)

4th) Area 6 – Perdy Gale (Burghley Hunt), Morvah Luke (Belvoir Hunt) and Zara Stafford (Burghley Hunt)

Open Seniors:

1st) Area 8 – Jack Page (Essex Farmers), Hannah Davitt (Deanswood EC) and Xanthe Goodman (East Essex)

2nd) North Warwickshire – Theo Cornforth, Keeley Rock and Katinka Frassoni

3rd) South Shropshire and Denbigh – Jess Clark (South Shropshire), Alice Leeke (South Shropshire) and Katie Davies (Flint and Denbigh)

4th) Eagles – Emma Joslin / Seona Mccredie (Essex and Suffolk), Stella Stearn (Suffolk Hunt) and Chloe Stevens (Warwickshire Hunt)

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