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Handicap changes to boost women’s polo

A new handicap system and a league for amateur players is being introduced this season to promote women’s polo.

The new ladies’ handicap system, approved by the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), will bring women’s polo in England into line with America, France and Argentina.

Under the new system English female players will still hold their current handicap but will have also have a women’s handicap, similar to arena players who hold both an indoor and outdoor rating.

Their female handicap will only be used when playing in sanctioned women’s polo.

Britain’s highest-rated female player, Nina Clarkin, told H&H that the problem with the current women’s game is “the issue of compression”.

Of the HPA’s 765 female polo members (including those under 18 years of age) only 20 have a handicap of 1 or above.

“There are too many players squashed together, resulting in a huge difference in standard between players on the same handicap,” she said.

“Implementing a women’s handicap system in England will allow the female side of the game to grow, without affecting the women who play competitively in the men’s game.”

All the women’s tournaments in England this year will be played with the new handicaps.

“It is simply a way to allow women’s polo to continue to develop and grow as it should,” added Ms Clarkin.

For amateur players a new ladies’ polo league is being launched by Women In Polo (WIP).

Ladies’ tournaments will be held throughout the summer season (April – September) at the participating clubs in the West Country.

Points will be awarded (by placing) to all teams that take part in each of the clubs’ own ladies tournaments.

“The idea is to create greater access to playing opportunities for women,” said WIP co-founder Sarah Wood.

Ref: Horse & Hound; 12 February 2015

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