Fast equestrian action lined up

2016-05-24 06:00
 Photo: supplied Wayne Collett from Richmond (front) and Graham Maclarty from Nyati in action.

Photo: supplied Wayne Collett from Richmond (front) and Graham Maclarty from Nyati in action.

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THE inaugural Land Rover Durban High goal event will bring spectacular equestrian action to the Durban Shongweni Club from 27 to 29 May where the country’s top polocrosse players are sure to deliver some of the best action and excitement this growing sport has to offer.

“This fast-paced, high intensity sport is such a treat for both spectators and players alike, and the highgoal is the pinnacle of the polocrosse calendar,” said event organiser and Shongweni Polocrosse Club chairman, Brent Von Benecke.

“We are so excited to be bringing this level of polocrosse to KwaZulu-Natal and look forward to this becoming an annual fixture at Shongweni, KZN’s premiere equestrian club.”

There will be eight teams competing for the top spot – four men’s and four ladies’ teams – consisting of six quality players each. Each competitor in polocrosse is given a handicap which indicates his or her skill level, ranging from 0 to 10 with 10 being one of the best in the world and 0 a beginner.

As this is a high-goal tournament, the combined handicaps of the six teammates must average between 42 and 45 (out of a possible 60), which means that the teams are of World Cup-level quality.

As well as being principal sponsors of the event, Land Rover Durban is also sponsoring two of the participating teams; Land Rover Durban - Team Evoque (ladies’ team) and Land Rover Durban Men - Aubrey Strauss (men’s team).

Team Evoque is captained by Jean Hackland from Bishopstowe, one of the members of the 2015 World Cup winning team with a six-goal handicap. Also on the team is Emma Hall, a four handicap from Gauteng who plays for Walkerville; Albie Kamffer, a three handicap from North West Province of the Huhudi Club; Camilla Harris, a three handicap from the Cape; Elri van der Merwe, a five handicap from Mpumalanga who plays for Bethal and has previously made the SA Junior teams and SA Ladies’ side as well as Karen Cocker, a four handicap who plays for Shongweni Club and has represented South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Of the six Land Rover Durban Men’s team members, five have an incredible eight handicap. The team captain is Gavin Cocker who has captained the South African side for the past decade. Cocker is joined by Andrew Heynes, the reserve for the World Cup 2015 with an eight handicap. Heynes has also played on numerous international teams. Richmond player, Scott Hosking, as well as Australian players Lance Anderson and Beau Moore, also have an eight handicap. Swatberg’s Shaun Gilson, who has a four handicap, has played through the ranks at a junior level.

“Several of the teams entered include level 10 handicap players, of which there are only about 15 in the world,” said Von Benecke.

“This ensures that the competition is fierce and all the participants are determined to win the first Land Rover Durban Highgoal tournament.”

Andre Schrenk, dealer principal for Land Rover Durban, said they were very excited to be involved in an event as prestigious as the Land Rover Durban Highgoal, which is sure to be a huge success.

“Land Rover has traditionally always been involved with the equestrian lifestyle,” explained Schrenk. “This is due to Royal Warrant held by Land Rover and the royal family's love of all things equestrian.”

He said that, because of this connection, Land Rover had become an intrinsic part of equestrian events attended by the royal family and it is in this spirit that Land Rover worldwide is now associated with the equestrian lifestyle.

“In addition, Land Rover vehicles are ideally suited to satisfy all the requirements of the discerning horse owner,” said Schrenk.

“Land Rover Durban has a deep understanding of what is needed and has built relationships, over a number of years, within the equestrian community. Through our support of events such as the Land Rover Durban Highgoal, we will continue to build on the foundations already in place.”

The Land Rover Durban Highgoal will see polocrosse action every day from 8am to 4.30pm with six to seven games per day. Each game will be divided into six-minute chukkas with the men’s and women’s team alternating. The format ensures a fast-paced, action-packed game, entertaining for even the novice spectator.

There will be a number of vendors on the outskirts, jumping castles for the children as well as evening entertainment for those wishing to stay after the polocrosse action.

“This is really set to be such a festive weekend for the whole family in a stunning setting,” said Gourley. “Entrance is free for everyone and we are anticipating large crowds looking to enjoy one of the world’s fastest equestrian sport.”

For more information, visit the Facebook page Land Rover Durban Highgoal Polocrosse 2016.

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