The UK is gearing up for the biggest polocrosse weekend of the season as they prepare to take on the South African open teams at Ashfields Polocrosse Club in Essex on the 18th and 19th of July. The UK and South African squads are both already on site and have drawn their horse pools for the occasion. They will spend the next four days riding their horses and preparing to face each other at the weekend.

Full Ladies and Men’s sides from the two countries will play this weekend, with there being a ladies test match and a mens test match on both days. The test matches will start at 3pm local time on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday and the organisers have tried to ensure there is plenty to do before that, with a mini fun fair on site and also a great number of stalls for people to browse. There is also the Ashfields polocrosse tournament running for players not involved in the National sides to compete in.

The organising team have also do a great deal to promote the test matches and bring in spectators, handing out thousand of flyers to the local community and arranging for the local media to cover the test matches. Today the UK and South Africa teams met with the mayor of the local town, Great Dunmow, in another promotional stunt.

There has also be a push towards polo style hospitality, on the Saturday there is a corporate marquee with over a hundred people booked in to enjoy a three course meal before watching the polocrosse. There is a charity auction being held in this marquee in aid of Breast Cancer UK.

With the UK hosting the next polocrosse World Cup in 2011, and the majority of the IPC commitee over in the UK to watch these test matches and attend an IPC committee meeting, the UK is keen to show that it can put on a big polocrosse event, something which some in the polocrosse world have been questioning in recent months.

However, alongside the serious stuff of the matches and promoting the sport, there will, of course, also be time to party with Ashfields planning parties on both the Saturday and Sunday night. The Sunday night party is because the test match players from both teams will be banned from partying until after the test match series is over and will want a chance to let their hair down after the intensive week they have in front of them.

The Teams:

UK Ladies:

Annie Waterer
Charlotte Pykett
Debbie Harris
Kerry Bean
Lucy Shell
Sarah Simkin
Sophie Lodder

UK Men:

Dan Duhig
Guy Robertson
Hamish Michael
James Robertson
Jono Keen
Jason Webb
Martin Brookes

South Africa Ladies:

Celicia Jacobs
Dawnay Jacobs
Lee-Ann van Wyk
Cursti Windt
Che Taylor
Tracey Taylor
Kerren Windt
Karin Cocker

South Africa Men:

Gavin Cocker
Freddie Kriel
Jan-Albert Steenkamp
Gordon Shaw
Gys Boonzaaier
Steven Kane
Retief Steenkamp
Andrew Heynes