The official launch of Arunga Polo Club could not have got off to a better start. We were thrilled when 17 teams nominated from near and far to share in this momentous occasion. Thankfully the weather Gods were on our side as we welcomed the glorious Spring sunshine.
The Arunga Field was in prime condition, playing fast polo and holding up beautifully on both days. Matches were also played on the Windsor Number One, which was in its usual fine form. The quality of these two fields resulted in wonderful polo being played by all grades.
The Clubhouse was christened on Saturday night with a delicious BBQ dinner and drinks around the spectacular yachting bar. It was quite the talking point, but more importantly it gave us an excuse to explain where the name ‘Arunga’ stems from. The clubhouse was filled with family, friends and great atmosphere.
Sunday finals were all crowd pleasers! They were open, fast, tactical and all played in good sport. Spectators rolled in to cheer on their favourite teams and enjoy the country polo atmosphere. Congratulations to all teams who participated over the weekend.
First up was the final of the D grade. No matter what happened in this match, Riverlands was going to be a winner. Riverlands White took on Riverlands Blue, and the blue beauties managed to get a win up 2 - 1. Well done, it looked like everyone was having a ball out there.
In the C Grade, Kurri Burri challenged Killarney in the 0 Goal. Although Ray Bruce was scoring goals left right and centre, they couldn’t topple the 4 x J’s as John, Jeremy, Jason and James displayed discipline, experience, and polo expertise. Kurri Burri defeated Killarney 8 – 5.
The B Grade 4 Goal hailed the largest number of contenders and it was nice to see so many family members on the field, even if some were playing against each other! The Arunga B Team may have had the biggest ring-ins with Hugh coming out of retirement, Amanda flying in from Hong Kong, and our old faithfuls Buchert and Toby, but the team spirit wasn’t enough to get them into the final. Windsor Altios had the secret ingredient of insider knowledge as they passed to each other seamlessly. But it was GFI and their absolute showstopper goals that got them into the final against the ever so strong Sydney Polo Club. It was a thrilling final and a well deserved win by Sydney 8 1/2 - 2
The A Grade final was some of the finest 8 Goal polo I have ever seen. The horses were given full rein as they powered from end to end following the big open shots by both teams. It was free flowing, fast and riveting, and both teams should be very proud of their performance. Arunga defeated Troika 9 – 5, needless to say, the club captain was very happy.
But it was the boys from the North that dug deep and fought to the bitter end like only country boys can do. The subsidiary A Grade final was a high scoring, nail biting, colourful match that had us all cheering from the sideline. Although there was a mighty comeback from the North Star lads, it was Kurri Burri who avoided the wooden spoon (oar), winning 10 - 6 1/2
MVP was awarded to Eustie Hill, for his outstanding sportsmanship and performance over the weekend. Dick Doolin had a tough job of judging the champion pony and team of ponies. There were some fine horses on the field at all times, but it was Adam Tolhurst’s horse ‘Rosie’ that stood out as the Champion, and Andrew Williams won the team of ponies. Both well deserved and the beautiful trophy for Champion pony was kindly donated by ‘Slinkard Racing Stables’.
On the sideline, Wade and Doreen Slinkard were the stand out winners of the best country picnic spread! It was a feast fit for kings, and with friends all contributing it was a glorious buffet and certainly the place to be if you weren’t on the field.
We were hoping for a quintessential country polo weekend, where great atmosphere, good fun, and excellent horsemandship would be prevail. We certainly weren’t disappointed. Thank you to all players, spectators, club committee, grounds manager, catering, friends & family, everyone who picked up a hammer, the wonderful grooms and the incredible horses who made it all possible.
See you all again in Autumn.