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The team game combining lacrosse and polo began in its modern form as an exercise at a London riding school in the 1930s, having been devised to improve pupils’ control of their mounts.

Played on a field about the size of a football pitch, teams of six, split into two sections of three, score goals by flinging a grapefruit-sized rubber ball between two posts. Players are confined to certain areas of the pitch, as in netball, and only the attacker is allowed to score. Sections play alternately, giving the horses a rest between chukkas, and the overall score of both sections counts.

The UK Polocrosse Association (UKPA) was set up in the late 1980s. Matches now take place every summer weekend, catering for all levels of player, with a grading and handicap system ensuring that teams of similar abilities play each other.

UK teams tour abroad and a thriving Pony Club polocrosse scene means players are brought into the game younger. More experienced (A or B grade) players favour polo-type ponies, but cobs, native ponies, eventers and even trotters are a common sight at tournaments.

Polocrosse Fact File
  • Selling point: “King of the one-horse sports” — the speed and excitement of polo without the expense

  • Where: Around 20 clubs in England and Wales

  • When: April to September

  • How much: around £25 per person per weekend competition

  • Participants 2002/2000 season: 400/250

  • Extra gear required: Four overreach boots (£9), four bandages (£15-£20), breastplate (£20), overgirth/surcingle (£15-£20), polocrosse stick (£50), polocrosse ball (£16)

  • Current age range: 5-63

  • Restrictions: players must use one horse only for each weekend tournament

  • Where in the world: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Uruguay
  • Future prospects: first world series should raise profile of the game, new clubs continue to be established t and an indoor winter league is finding its feet

Contact: UKPA chairman Dave Brookes (tel: 0114 286 2869) or visit www.polocrosse.org.uk