Report by Camilla Blom

The 6th Dutch Open was held on 1 and 2 September 2012. There were players from Holland, France and Norway present. Germany unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute – but it was yet again another fantastic weekend for the up and coming European nations!

From the moment players, supporters and their horses arrived Friday afternoon it was dry on the field, and it remained that way throughout the weekend – rather unlike the rest of the tournaments we’ve seen this year. The tournament took place in a cheese-producing and camping farm in Bennekom about an hour from Amsterdam.

The games were played in two pools – an A pool with four teams of advanced players and three teams in the B group of novice players, most of the B-pool players playing their first real tournament.

As always the Dutch organisation was fantastic – horses organised in the very cool Dutch paddock system (worth investigating!) (editor’s note: we have no idea what this system was, we are imagining paddocks surrounded by stereotypical Dutch items such as clogs, tulips, bicycles, windmills and…let’s stop there!) and all the meals and games organised according to a very complete and precise schedule.

On Saturday the A-pool teams all played against each other. There were a few issues regarding a horse that didn’t really want to play – but this was solved in true sportsmanlike ways and some of the games were 2 on 2 and in the other games horses were lent to other players so that everyone could have a go. Okay, we all want to win – but polocrosse is all about the game and sportsmanship and especially on our level the most important thing is to get everyone playing!

In the B-pool Oldamt did very well – especially since it was their first tournament as a team. Especially nice to see Bennie who has been one of the main organisers of Dutch polocrosse doing really well when he finally got on the pitch with a horse instead of just organising everything on the ground!

Sunday morning the games started at 9 am – the Dutch had done a great job of marketing the event – and the number of spectators grew throughout the day. Also, the games were all played next to the highway – so there were quite a few spectators who drove past and a lot of truck-drivers to gave us an encouraging honk of the horn!

All the games were exciting – and the B-pool was closer than one would have thought from Saturday as the blue and grey teams really picked up against Oldamt in purple. The final in the A-pool was already clear from Saturday so both games, NL1 vs NL2 and France vs International were both played twice.

The actual final of the A-pool pitted the International team against France for a true test of strength. Both teams did some clever rearranging of numbers and it ended up being a very exciting and fast game. As the final whistle blew – the International team had beaten the French despite giving away a few free goals.

All in all a fantastic weekend!

Best player in the A pool was Katherine Gilbert from France
Best horse in the A pool was Nuit Sacreé ridden by Bruno Wallet from France
Best player in the B group was Andrea Riise from Norway.
Best horse in B pool was Quincy ridden by Tessa Boekholdt from Holland
Best newcomer Rozemarijn Adams from Holland

The organising committe of the Dutch Open 2012 was Marlieke Luitse, Joline Poulie, Nathalie Garben and Niels Kemperman.

And as a Norwegian writing this report I cannot thank the Dutch organisers enough. This was a great experience – and we really love the way all the European players are welcomed to Holland!

Most of the games have been loaded up on Youtube, just search “Dutch Polocrosse Open 2012”