The impending 2011 Polocrosse World Cup in the UK has seen the import market for foreign players booming, with no less than 6 players already confirmed as coming to the UK to play the 2011 season and at least another two looking highly likely. As might be expected it is Australians who are proving the favourite choice for foreign players and in particular this year Western Australians.
The biggest spenders in the transfer market are the Highlanders, who have confirmed that they are definitely bringing in Jared Martin and Emily Walsh and then may also bring in Mitch Anderson and Ralph Lyster. Arden and Kent have also been busy in the import market which each having got two Australians, Kent bringing in Sharna Hall and Scott Gurney Allen, while Arden have got Chanelle Goldsmith and Erin Dempsey on their way. Kent also have Chris Dunlop returning for the third year in a row, though rumour has it they lost him at Heathrow airport shortly after he flew in which isn’t the best way to look after your foreign stars.
With the UK economy still in the doldrums this level of expenditure on foreign talent was quite unexpected but it is believed a lot of the players want to be the UK to watch the World Cup anyway and so are willing to come over on very cheap deals. There were rumours a few weeks ago that Highlanders were dead and buried as a club with the majority of their players looking for moves elsewhere but they have confirmed that they will play as a club this year and their new chairwoman Charlotte Pykett has said that currently they have about 10 players, so very similar in size to how they were in 2010.
The Highlanders have, however, lost some of their biggest names, with both Guy and James Robertson believed to not be playing at all this year and James Davidson has confirmed that he has moved to Celyn to play in their A grade side. He said that he wasn’t sure that Highlanders would play the entire season as most of the Australians will only be over until just after the World Cup and he couldn’t risk not having a team for Nationals in September.
If the Highlanders do, however, bring in all four Australians then at least for the first part of the season they will have a fairly formidable team. The Highlanders have avoided having any foreign players in their team for the last few years, indeed they were very proud of their 100% British winning teams which won the A grade at Nationals in 2006 and 2008. This year though it would seem importing is necessary if they wish to remain a strong team in UK polocrosse and also their new chairwoman has said she is keen to change the image of Highlanders, who have at points over the last few years been painted as the bad guys of UK polocrosse, a image perhaps not helped by their jet black shirts or the fact they were formed by the original bad boy of UK polocrosse, Mr Rick Murray himself, so maybe some fresh blood can help put a fresh face on the club.