Equestrian carnival a big hit

Kylie RoweCountryman

On the weekend of July 13 to 14, the tiny Murchison settlement community swelled from 15 people to more than 200 polocrosse players and spectators for the Murchison Polocrosse Carnival.

An impressive convoy of trucks, goosenecks, camper trailers, caravans, horse floats and large buses began descending on the Murchison, 200km north of Mullewa, as early as Thursday.

A perfectly timed 12mm of rain fell on Thursday night to ensure the grounds were not too dusty and every mother with children at the event would have a full week's worth of washing waiting on her arrival home.

The weekend began with ritual Friday night festivities that lasted well into Saturday for many of the truly devoted.

Saturday morning dawned fine and sunny with finely groomed ponies being prepared for the day's competition.

Nineteen teams from around the Mid West region battled each other for a chance to play in the elusive Sunday finals.

Competition was strong in each of the five grades.

In a tradition that typifies polocrosse as the ultimate family sport, chukkas were often composed of combinations of father and daughter, brother and sister or the more dangerous mix of husband and wife.

The festivities ramped up around the campfires again on Saturday night for another evening of laughter and fun.

Sunday provided perfect sunny weather for finals.

Ponies were again beautifully presented, clean white pants and a dose of nerves were mandatory for players.

Expert commentary was provided of the finals action by local polocrosse icon and pastoralist Sandy Mctaggart with some help from his descriptive apprentice Tom Levitt.

The Irwin and Greenough teams fought a tight goal-for-goal contest in E-grade, with Irwin prevailing in extra-time.

The best pony accolade was won by 12-year-old Patrick Clohessy on Rosebrook Winks.

In his acceptance speech, young Patrick thanked his mother for "letting me steal him while you weren't looking".

D-grade was won by the Walkaway team, which beat Moonyoonooka by one goal. Best D-grade pony award was won by Charlie Freeman on Gilgannon Cameo.

C-grade was won by Irwin over Moonyoonooka, with Robyn Bowtell winning the best pony with her horse Pokemon.

B-grade was won by the Murchison team which went into the game as odds-on favourites over Moonyoonooka.

Best pony honours went to Adrian Cobley on Optimus Prime.

The A-grade competition was contested at a fast and furious pace and was eventually won by Greenough over Walkaway.

Best pony category winner was Jeremy Thurkle on his grey gelding, Berragoon Easy As.

The Murchison Polocrosse Club put on a superb event to kick off the WA polocrosse season which was thoroughly enjoyed by players and spectators alike.

The grounds were perfectly manicured and dust was kept at a minimum with the Shire of Murchison water truck.

The lines were constantly re-laid by a pair of hardworking English men, and the food, all of which was mostly homemade, was delicious.

The carnival was a superb example of community working together to providing a setting and atmosphere conducive to promoting polocrosse as a family sport.

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