World-class action at polocrosse

2018-06-05 06:01
Brothers Jannie and Refief Steenkamp (SA).PHOTO: Supplied

Brothers Jannie and Refief Steenkamp (SA).PHOTO: Supplied

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POLOCROSSE fans are in for a weekend of thrilling equestrian action as some of South Africa’s and the world’s highest-ranked players are gearing up for the third Land Rover Durban High Goal Polocrosse Tournament, which will take place at the Durban Shongweni Club between June 22 and June 24.

Running each day between 9 am and 4 pm, the event will showcase the talents of some of the country’s best polocrosse players. There will be four matches daily, two women’s and two men’s, where world-class equestrian displays can be expected from national as well as international players. Sam Heynes, a member of the Shongweni Polocrosse committee, explained the tournament process: “The High Goal Tournament has eight teams, four men’s and four women’s, which will compete for the top spot. Each team consists of six highly ranked players, each of whom is given a handicap.”

Heynes said that the handicap indicates his or her skills level, ranging between 0 (beginner) to 10 (highest ranking). She said that in a high goal competition, the team’s total combined handicap must average at 45 for men and 26 for women.

Similar to last year’s event, the 2018 edition will feature wild card players in both the men’s and women’s categories, who will be auctioned off to the highest bidding team at a special black-tie gala dinner on June 20. The wild card feature creates an aura of surprise as teams can only be finalised on the eve of the competition.

This year’s wild cards are all of South Africa’s top-ranked players, who will be representing the country in next year’s World Cup in Queensland, Australia.

Brent von Benecke, chairperson of the Shongweni Polocrosse Club and event organiser, said: “This is a premier event on the South African polocrosse calendar, featuring players of international ranking. Spectators are guaranteed an outstanding weekend filled with nail-biting sporting action.”

MEN’S WILD CARDS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Jannie Steenkamp: With a handicap of 10, Steenkamp will captain the South African team at the 2019 World Cup. Hailing from Wellington in the Western Cape, he plays for the Cape Unicorns Polocrosse Club. He has been a part of two World Cup winning teams.

Graham MacLarty: MacLarty has also represented his country in two World Cups. He has a 10 handicap and plays for the Nyati Polocrosse Club in Ladysmith. He was the youngest player, aged 14, selected to play for the South African men’s team in 2009.

Travis Timm: Played for South Africa in two World Cups. Timm has a 10 handicap and also plays for the Nyati Polocrosse Club in Ladysmith.

Retief Steenkamp: Playing for the Cape Unicorns Polocrosse Club, Steenkamp has a handicap of nine and is brother to captain Jannie Steenkamp; part of a long-standing polocrosse family.

WOMEN’S WILD CARDS:

Jacquie Minnaar: Has a handicap of six and plays for the Nyati Polocrosse Club in Ladysmith. She made her international debut at the age of 11.

Celicia Jacobs: Has a six handicap and plays for the Arnot Polocrosse Club in Mpumalanga. She has represented South Africa at three World Cups, one as captain.

Caley Higgs: Plays for the Richmond Polocrosse Club. She is a six-handicap player who has played for South Africa at junior and senior levels, including the winning team for the 2015 World Cup.

Natalie MacLarty: Plays for the Nyati Polocrosse Club in Ladysmith. She has a handicap of six and was part of the victorious 2015 SA World Cup team. She has represented the country at both junior and senior levels.

Land Rover Durban will be sponsoring a team in both the men’s and women’s categories. — Supplied.

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