Alnwick clubs host fast and furious combat on horseback

Polocrosse action.
Polocrosse action.

Thirty polocrosse players from around the country battled it out over a three-day event of tough and furiously-fast competition.

The Alnwick Polocrosse Weekend was staged at a farm close to Longhoughton, courtesy of Harry and Caroline Chrisp, from Saturday, May 24, to Monday, May 26.

Polocrosse action.

Polocrosse action.

The event was staged by the Percy Hunt Pony Club, as well as The Northern Lions, which is a new UKPA club which spans the border between England and Scotland, with players from Scotland, Northumberland and the North East.

Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day, timed perfectly for the start of the matches and competitive play.

Competitors were split into three sections – A grades, C grades and juniors – so all the teams were well-matched and able to challenge each other.

A fabulous afternoon ensued with plenty of thrills and minimal spills.

Prizes were then given out and awards distributed for each section.

The Monday of the event witnessed the start of the Polocrosse Calcutta Cup, which ended in a draw between the English representatives and the Scottish members.

The event represents a growing interest in polocross in the region.

In the ’90s, polocrosse (a sport combining lacrosse and polo) had an extremely successful track record in the north with the local team, The Northern Lion Crusaders, having members playing for the UK team and many victories at a number of tournaments.

Unfortunately, between 2003 and 2010, no one was willing to take on the title of team manager along with all the responsibilities it includes. However in 2012, Harry Chrisp started the Alnwick training weekend, aimed at bringing some of the best coaches in the UK to the north to help bring polocrosse back to life.

In that first year, we had many new faces joining us at Longbank Farm, including the Over Dalkeith team from Scotland lead by Katie and Shaun Gillanders.

At this point, we were only competing at one competition and we were competing against each other.

So, in order to rectify this, Katie and Harry came up with a plan.

This time last year, The Northern Lions UKPA squad was created. Now there are more than 30 members, with the aim of competing at nearly every UKPA tournament with unwavering force and competitive spirit.

The club is known for its friendliness and has players from as young as seven.

We welcomed Iain Heaton, Tom Simkin, Dave Brookes and Emily Gillfilian to this year’s Alnwick Polocrosse Weekend to help with training and also to umpire the matches.

Without coaches like these, the club wouldn’t be able to provide the top-quality coaching and assistance that we do, so we hope that we can carry on this high standard for many years to come.

The club would like to thank Harry and Caroline Chrisp for the wonderful care and catering which gets better every year, Katie and Shaun Gillanders, all the coaches and, of course, all the players for travelling up here to make this weekend very special.

The club’s first tournament is on Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22, at the Onely Polo Ground in Rugby, Warwickshire.

For more details, visit the club’s Facebook page.

The club is also looking for sponsors. Call Caroline on 07753 822427 or email Harry at hc@gibsons-law.com.

The club practices every Sunday at 3pm at Longbank Farm, Longhoughton.

Anyone interested should come along and see what we are all about as well as learn about this amazing sport.