Ashfields Polocrosse Club has folded and won’t play the 2012 season, causing a number of players to seek new clubs. Ashfields were a fairly small club for the last two seasons, with about 10 players in each season. However, for their size they were a successful club and finished as runners up in the UKPA league (when size of clubs was taken into consideration) in both 2010 and 2011. They won the UKPA C Grade National Championships in 2010 and then took a completely unchanged team up to B grade in 2011, where they picked up two second places during the season and claimed the third highest points tally of any club in the season in B grade. In their heyday as a larger club they hosted the UKPA Nationals twice, once in 2007 and once in 2009. However, since 2009 their player numbers dropped and though they kept together a good core of players they failed to recruit any new ones and with a couple of players leaving this season the club has now folded and all the players will move on.
In terms of number of players, Kent Target are believed to be the main beneficiary of Ashfields demise with the sibling trio of Joe, Matilda and Katie Marsh all moving there to play at various levels. Livvy Foley has moved across to Vale Impi to play for their B grade side while the brother and sister act of Iain and Hazel Heaton have switched to Canterbury Colts. The remaining Ashfields players are either not believed to be playing this season or have not switched to another club yet.
There have also been a lot of other transfers this year, not least the move of a lot of Arden players across to the newly formed Rugby Polocrosse Club based at Onley Grounds, though that is believed to have been more of an agreed splitting of Arden into two in order to form the Rugby club.
Elsewhere, Vale Impi have further strengthened their B grade team by signing Simon Shearing to play for them. The UK World Cup coach said that he wanted to spend this season developing a young horse so doesn’t want to play in A grade, hence the move away from Kent. Canterbury Colts have also signed Kerry Bean and Grant Hayes from Solent as they look to pull together an A grade team or section for the season, rumour has it possibly partnering up with Solent to field a full team.
There is no sign of a large number of foreign players being imported this season, though Scott Gurney is returning to Kent for the second season in a row. It is believed he will be back in the country in May, soon after he finishes playing at the Australian National Championships for the Victorian Senior Men’s team. It does seem likely that Pennine intend to bring in at least one foreign player this year and possibly more as they look to strengthen their A grade team and challenge the top clubs in the country.