Another new polocrosse club arrived on the UK polocrosse scene this week with the announcement of the formation of the Dorset Giants. The Giants are being started to incorporate Pony Club members already playing in the area, their families and other people from around the area who are keen to start playing the sport. The club is being formed by Liz Williams, who is originally from Australia and who has been doing a lot of coaching and development work with local pony clubs.
This continues a trend of new polocrosse clubs over the last few years in the UK, last year saw the Canterbury Colts and Ledbury Polocrosse Clubs form and the Cotswold club revive itself to its full strength. Three years ago it was Vale Impi who formed and four years ago Solent formed.
There is also a good trend of new polocrosse clubs doing well. Vale Impi won the Polocrosse Extreme Cup for the UKPA and Polocrosse Extreme League according to size last year, and finish second in the main league, having developed their players over the previous two seasons with numerous wins in the lower grades. Solent have also gradually developed their players, starting off with wins in E and D grade back in 2007 and 2008. Then they won the league according to size two years ago and rounded off the 2010 season very well as they won the B grade at the National Championships last year. Cotswolds burst back onto the scene in the A grade competition last year, ultimately finishing second at Nationals to a very strong Kent side. Canterbury Colts also enjoyed a very good initial season in 2010, finishing 4th and 3rd in the leagues. 2011 will show if the Giants can make a similarly impressive debut.
However, it has not all been growth in the UK polocrosse scene and there are suggestions that this year the Highlanders might fold which could be a blow to the high level polocrosse competition in the UK, though there are suggestions that a number of their players might form a new club in the north or go to Pennine, which could restrengthen the club, which has lost a number of its top level players over the last couple of years.
That does seem, however, to be the only blot on the horizon for the growth agenda on the UKPA, which this year launched various schemes to help its clubs and regions to develop and grow the sport in the run up to the World Cup being held in the UK. Early indications seem to suggest they are having an effect with more early season training days and “have a go” days being promoted by various clubs around the country. There are also more reports of growth within the pony club within the UK, with a number of new branches taking up the sport and working with local polocrosse clubs to deliver the sport to their members.
The UKPA Sport Development Officer John Whitehead said “The starting of another new club is another encouraging sign for UK polocrosse. Each and every new club is a natural step along the way to growing the sport and making it more widespread throughout the UK. My aims for the future include continuing to develop Pony Club polocrosse in a more cohesive way and and also work with a network of people from around the UK to grow polocrosse in all five UKPA regions.”
John, who, at 20 years old, is the youngest Sport Development Officer the UKPA has ever had, went on to add, “In particular I want to encourage the younger players to give something back to the sport, I would like to see them get involved with coaching new players and Pony Clubs and gaining their UKCC coaching qualifications. I would encourage anyone, of any age, who is interested in getting involved with developing polocrosse, on any level, to get in touch with me.”
If anyone is keen to get involved with the Dorset Giants then they are encouraged to get in touch with Liz Williams. If you are keen to help John Whitehead develop polocrosse he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org