Polocrosse

Polocrosse is a team sport that is played all over the world. It is a combination of polo and lacrosse. It is played outside, on a field (the pitch), on horseback. Each rider uses a cane stick to which is attached a racquet head with a loose, thread net, in which the ball is carried. The ball is made of sponge rubber and is approximately four inches across. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball between the opposing team's goal posts. Anyone who can ride a horse can play polocrosse, which also helps improve riding skills. All ages and abilities are encouraged to play and the Pony Club have recognised polocrosse as a horse sport. To get started, players need a recognized safety helmet, a racquet, a ball, leg wraps and coronet boots for the horse. Unlike polo, players are allowed only to play one horse, except in the case of injury. There is no restriction on the horse's height, although the ideal should not exceed about 16 hands. Horses of all breeds play polocrosse and the Australian Stock Horse is the most popular breed playing in Australia. Stallions are not permitted to play. A team consists of six players, divided into two sections of three who play 3-4 alternate chukkas of six minutes, and eight minutes in international games. A match comprises six or eight chukkas. The three players in each section play the position of a No. 1, attack, a No. 2, midfield (a combination of defence and offence), or a No. 3, defence. The team structure was designed to force players to pass the ball about amongst themselves, making it a better skilled, faster sport. There are four quarters in an average game and these are called chukkas. The field is 60 by 160 yards (55 m ? 150 m), with three separate areas. The goal scoring areas, on each end, are 30 yards long. Only the No. 1 of the attacking team and the No. 3 of the defending team can play in these areas. The middle area is 100 yards long. The line separating the goal scoring and centre areas is called the penalty or thirty-yard line. Goal posts are eight feet apart. To score, the ball must be thrown from outside an 11-yard semicircle in front of the goal. Players can pick up the ball from the ground, catch it in their racquet, and ride with it. They throw it to other players until the No.1 has possession in the goal scoring area. A player cannot carry the ball over the penalty line, but must bounce it so that they do not have possession of it whil actually crossing the line. It can also be passed to a player over the line. When carrying the ball, a player must carry it on the stick side, i.e. right-handed players must carry it on the offside of the horse (if a person has possession of the ball and crosses the racket over the centre-line of the horse (the line that runs from the horses ears to the tail) it is a foul). A player can, however, pick-up or catch the ball on the non-stick side provided they immediately bring it back to their stick side. The game begins in centre field with the players lining up, one section beside the other, with the No. 1s in front, followed by the 2's and then the 3's. This is called a line up and occurs at a spot in the middle of the pitch called the T. The umpire then throws the ball between the players, between shoulder and racket height so that all players have a chance to catch the ball. The teams always line up so that the other team is lined up between the number 1 and the goal they must score at. The game recommences similarly after a goal has been scored, with the line up taking place on the alternate side of the field for every goal that is scored. Whenever an attempt at goal fails, the No. 3 throws the ball back into play from the penalty line. This throw (like all penalty throws) must travel at least 10 yards. The No. 3 can throw the ball to themselves or to a team member. If they elect to throw to themselves, the ball must bounce before they can regain possession, but they are to have first call on the ball, before opposition players can attempt to regain possession. This penalty throw is called a 10 yard throw. The most common award given in the case of a penalty is a 10 yard throw. Where the foul occurred determines the position on the field at which the throw is taken. If the throw is awarded in mid-field, any member of the team can take it. If a penalty occurs in the end zones only the player allowed to play in that area may take the throw. Depending on the nature of the penalty, the 10 yard throw may be taken at the spot where the penalty occurred or it may be moved down the field to give advantage to the fouled team. For example, if the team carrying the ball is fouled, the penalty will most likely be moved down the field to give advantage to the fouled team, however if the team carrying the ball commits the foul the ball may just be turned over to the other team at the point where the infraction occurred