Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Congratulations to the South African team in winning the BMW International Series 2-0 against India. Unlike 2011, the weather Gods were kind and provided two gloriously hot days at Shongweni and Johannesburg respectively. The South African team consisting of Leroux Hendriks, Lance Watson, Duncan Watson and captain Bryan Hein played entertaining polo to take the Series. Our commiserations go to Gillespie Armstrong who suffered a fracture to his left hand during a training session and was unable to take the field. Gillespie has since had surgery on his hand to rectify the problem and is recovering well.

Tours such as this would not be possible without the generous contribution from the pony lenders. The Association records its thanks to those players that continually lend their valuable ponies to ensure that touring teams have a fair chance of winning. After digging up some stats of pony lenders the following interesting points arose for the Shongweni internationals:

Played the last 4 out 4 Tests:
Paula belonging to John Gowar

Played the last 3 out of 4 Tests:
Grease Lightening (Brad Gace)
Pluto (Brad Gace)

Played in the last 3 Tests:
Shiraz (John Eustace)
Valuer (Chippie Watson)
Atomic (Sean O’Sullivan)

Played in the last 2 Tests:
Copper Union (John Eustace)
Chukka (Sean O’Sullivan)

Played 2 out of the last 3 Tests:
Serene (Chippie Watson)
Socks (Chippie Watson)
Cross Wind (Joe Mandy)
Blushing Tail (Harry Mandy)
Becky (Angus Williamson)
Flight (Brad Gace)
West (Brad Gace)
Baranja (Sean O’Sullivan)

In the last ten years, Sean O’Sullivan, John Eustace and Chippy Watson have lent ponies eight out of the ten years whilst Selby Williamson, Skei Marlton and Brad Gace have provided ponies six out of the ten. Mike Osborn has made his entire string available every year for the past four years. Unfortunately, we do not have detailed stats for the Johannesburg Tests but managed to glean the following information: Between 2006 and 2012 the listed players have loaned ponies on the following basis:

Duncan Ellis - Every year – in 2010 the tourists played 6 of his ponies
Nigel Pilling - 5 times – in 2006 they played 4 & 2010 x 3
Davey Evans - Every year – in 2008 they played 8 Evans ponies
Dirk Uys - 4 times – in 2010 they played 4 & 2012 x 6 ponies
James Kane Berman - 5 times – in 2007 played 6 & 2010 x 4
JP Rey - 4 times
Hannes Pickard - 4 times – in 2012 the Indians played 7 of Hannes’ string including the best playing pony.
Dirk van Reenen - 3 times - in 2011 Dirk’s pony was best playing pony & in 2012, 3 of his ponies were used.
Brad MacGibbon - 3 times – lent ponies whilst he himself was playing for SA
Ian Stewart - 3 times??? information not clear

SAPA salutes the gentlemen who support South African polo so unselfishly. Bear in mind that SAPA is a non-profit organisation with income generated from the internationals being ploughed back into improving polo in South Africa. Our thanks also go to many of the younger players who have lent ponies – Dirk van Reenen, Cody Ellis, Byron Watson James Gardiner, Tyson O’Sullivan, Travis Timm and Joe Mandy. If I have omitted anyone my apologies – I am merely reporting from information supplied. Our gratitude to the Pony Masters, Kate Holmes and Wayne Hartley for the thankless task of mustering horses and seeing to the tourists needs at both venues.

We recently circulated a questionnaire regarding the format of the 2012 fixture list and what changes you, the players, would like to see implemented particularly with regard to the Sat/Sun format of four chukka polo. My thanks to all those who took the time to respond and provide feed back regarding next year’s fixtures.

The general consensus seems to be that most players are happy with the 2012 format with the exception that major tournaments introduce 4 chukka Sat/Sun polo for sections below three goals in handicap. This would still enables 4 x one-goal players the opportunity to play together in 6-chukka polo. The 4 chukka format should encourage players with a limited number of horses to play over weekends without losing work time – likewise school children with minimal disruption to their school studies.

It was felt that individual Clubs should decide their own tournament formats i.e. 4 chukkas Sat/Sun or the conventional three-day format - or both. 

An interesting concept was proposed regarding Club tournaments (excluding SAPA tournaments and Provincial Championships) whereby a “free market” system be introduced allowing Clubs to hold their tournaments whenever it suited with the onus on the Clubs to make their fixtures attractive enough to entice players to participate!!!! Any comments????

We will be formulating a draft fixture list with related handicap levels, which we will circulate to selected players and officials for comment. Please let’s not have a repeat of last year where positive replies were later over turned with negative comments by certain individuals after the calendar had been ratified.

As many of you may now know, all equestrian disciplines have to affiliate to SASCOC (South African Sports Council & Olympic Committee) via the South African Equestrian Federation. SASCOC report directly to the South African Sports Council under the leadership of the Minister of Sport and Recreation.

SAPA’s affiliation to SAEF/SASCOC has added a huge administrative burden on this office; however the upside to its membership is accessibility to Lotto funds for sporting transformation and development.

This means all affiliated Associations need to have their “houses in order” with Constitutions in line with those of government policy, submission of annual audited financial statements, business plans complete with budgets, five year strategic plans, and high performance plans for selected athletes. Associations can no longer issue National Colors to athletes without prior permission from SASCOC who will only consider such upon receipt of the conditions listed above. In addition, notification of the event has to be made to government and provincial bodies, the SAPS and local health and safety JOCs.

Government legislation implemented through SASCOC requires that by the end of 2013, coaches in all sporting disciplines must be qualified and that by the end of 2016 must be registered and licensed with the Department of Sport & Recreation. Failure to do so will apparently lead to prosecution of the individual coach. In addition, sporting disciplines not conforming will not be granted national colors nor allowed to hold international events. Whilst these measures appear draconian, it is Government’s and SASCOC’s intention to keep abreast with worldwide coaching practices and for sporting disciplines to improve their skills before the 2016 Olympics.

Details of their plans will be explained at a Coach’s Conference to be held in Johannesburg from the 16-18 November. I recently attended a “coach’s roadshow” in Durban along with other equestrian disciplines, including polo crosse where there was widespread opposition to the legislation. We were emphatically informed that the legislation is “here to stay” and it is SASCOC’s intention to implement such. Coaches who qualify will be recognized by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) with a passport to coach in any country under the FEI umbrella.

My understanding is that there will be various levels of coaches, from Level 1 being the basic care and welfare of the horse to Level 4 being a national team coach or “Head Coach”. Each national Association will need to submit technical standards for their sport over and above normal horse care/welfare for the different levels up to “Head Coach” level. Aspirant coaches will be assessed by SASCOC appointed assessors probably from within the discipline.

Anyone over 40 years of age who has been coaching will not be required to learn/write the exams but be given recognition for their knowledge. This is termed “Recognition of Prior Learning” or RPL. Such coaches will be required to demonstrate their knowledge/skills to assessors but not physically write the exams. The entire system and roll out will be explained in depth at the Coaching Conference in November. Anyone wanting to attend the conference please let me know before 30th September so we can register you. The venue for such is still to be announced.

There is more than enough for digestion in the above but we will keep affiliated members informed as to developments regarding the above. Those Clubs holding spring “mini” tournaments – may the weather be kind with plenty of fun polo for all.CLIVE PEDDLE
Executive Director – South African Polo Association

1 comment:

  1. Polo is a great game in which skill of horse riding is very important. It is played in many countries and polo international festival is conducted in which many country teams take part.

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