The United Kingdom Polocrosse Association has named the team that will travel to the 2015 Polocrosse World Cup which is taking place in South Africa in July. The UKPA has opted for a mixture of youth and experience in its eight person team, which is coached by Jason Webb, the well known horseman.
Jason is also one of the four male players in the team. He played and captained the team for the last World Cup in 2011 but he is now replaced as Captain for this team by Debbie Harris, the most capped player in UK Polocrosse history. Debbie is the only UK Lady player to have played in all the previous Polocrosse World Cups, which started in 2003 and take place every four years.
The other men who will play alongside Jason Webb are the 16 year old Max Pedley, who is making his World Cup debut and is also the youngest player the UK has ever called up to its Open team, Joel Sics, who is also making his World cup debut, and Danny Duhig, who played in the 2011 World Cup.
The other ladies in the team are Charlotte Pykett, who played in 2011, Rachel Duhig (nee Gayler), who actually played for the USA in 2011 but is now married to Danny Duhig and living in England, and Kerry Bean, who hasn’t played for the UK team since 2002 but has made a successful come back to the sport and ended 2014 on a high with a call up to the team.
The team also has five named reserves with Annemieke Mitchell and Emily Gilfillan for the Ladies section and Alex Richardson, Will Halcrow and Matt Smith named for the Men.
Jason said, “We have an exciting mix of experience and youth who can’t wait to get out and make their mark on the tournament. Obviously the pool of horses we are allocated will have an effect but I have every confidence in the team’s horsemanship and riding abilities to form great partnerships with them in a short space of time.”
The team will travel out to South Africa at the end of June to spend a week working with their pool of horses. Each team in the competition draws a pool of horses at random and gets five days to work with them for one hour a day before they have to play their opening match. This makes it a test of horsemanship as well as pure polocrosse ability.
The team will take on seven other countries in the competition, including three hotly tipped African countries. South Africa are the hosts and reigning champions, Zimbabwe finished second at the last World Cup and Zambia have also improved greatly since their World Cup debut in 2011. The other countries are the double world champions Australia and then New Zealand, Ireland and the USA.
The UK team has a number of sponsors supporting it, including Toggi, who will be supplying the team’s casual clothing. Pukka Clothing will then provide the team’s playing shirts, while Equilibrium horse products are providing them with a number of the essential items for their horses, such as bandages and overreach boots. The Northern Racing College is also kindly sponsoring the rugs for the UK team’s playing horses.
You can follow the team on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/UKpolocrosseteam