South Africa overcame Zambia in a hard fought world cup final which ebbed and flowed in the early stages, as both teams looked a bit nervous and there were a few mistakes, but after chukka four South Africa took the lead and by the end they led 32-23 to win the world cup for the second time. Zambia’s and South Africa’s ladies drew their half of the contest but Zambia really needed their ladies to win by a fair margin to give them hope, something they achieved when the teams met in the group stages and Zambia won overall by 1 goal.
This looked possible after the second ladies’ chukka which Zambia dominated with Lauren Watson, who won best overall lady player in the World Cup, winning lots of ball out the back of the line out. However Zambia rested her and her horse for the fifth chukka and South Africa took full advantage as they won the chukka 5-1 and seized an overall 21-13 lead. Their ladies won their next two chukkas but only by small margins.
The Zambian men always had their work cut out against the South African men’s team but they started pretty well, losing their opening chukka by just one goal. However the fourth chukka was a different story with South Africa grabbing ball and winning it 7-1. The next two chukkas for the men were very close, with some exciting play on both sides and some very impressive long ball polocrosse, but the Zambian men could never make up the damage done in the fourth chukka.
So at the final whistle South Africa were deservedly world champions for the second time as they showed the world some truly brilliant polocrosse, particularly through their men who win ball through players like Jannie Steenkamp and then fearlessly throw passes forward for Graham Mclarty to catch, even when the pass goes a bit astray and ends up near his horse’s fetlocks.
Zambia will probably ultimately be delighted with coming second, though at first undoubtedly they will be annoyed to have lost to a team they beat in the group stages. For a county which only has 50 registered playing members to come second in the world cup is a fairly major achievement and something which will hopefully cause polocrosse in Zambia to grow. They have benefited from a few players moving from Zimbabvwe but that should not detract from the achievement of the team who have played brilliantly throughout the world cup.
In the third fourth play off earlier on in the day Australia overcame the UK but the score was far closer than when the two sides met in the group stages. Australia won by 25-19 but the UK were always within a big chukka of pulling it back and they lead after the first chukka as their ladies won it 3-2. The UK ladies won overall as they saw off their Australian counterparts but the UK men were fairly comfortably beaten in the end, though they did draw the second men’s chukka 4 all and will have been pleased in particular with the performance with their 17 year old Max Pedley who scored most of the men’s goals and looked pretty composed under pressure. The UK will also be delighted to see Charlotte Pykett win best lady player in the third fourth play off. She has lead the line brilliantly for them all world cup.
Australia’s Will Weston was their star player, as he won them balls a’plenty out the back of the line out and set up his number 1’s to score the goals. He deservedly won best male player for the 3rd and 4th play off for his efforts.However, Australia will not probably be that pleased with ending a second world cup in third place. They are hosting the next world cup in Australia and they will definitely expect to win the trophy back on their home turf. To do that though they will have to find a way to beat the African style polocrosse of countries like South Africa and Zambia.
So that’s in for another world cup. The South Africans should be congratulated on not only winning the world cup but hosting a great event, they provided a great venue and some brilliant playing horses. We also had great weather (though we are not sure if that was organised or just luck.). It was a shame that they couldn’t sort out video streaming of matches so people all around the world could see it but understandable given the cost involved. However, we would like to say a big thank you to Daniel Johnson, from the USA, who organised the audio streaming online via Mixlr so that people all around the world could listen in at least! The amount of effort he put into sorting it was very impressive, particularly as he coordinated it all from Texas, and it was a great example of polocrosse people around the world clubbing together to make things happen! We are now off to the final night party, we hope it will be a good as the rest of the competition!