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Wed 26th Sep 2018

October Issue of Polo Times Out This Week

Addressing the handicap rumours

As this issue of Polo Times goes to print, there are ripples of discontent from the British polo community surrounding the Hurlingham Polo Association’s seemingly knee-jerk decision to implement en masse handicap changes at the lower end of the handicap spectrum. Rumours of these changes were underfoot over a week before the HPA’s announcement, but when asked for information, initially the HPA declined to comment. 

In the October issue, we have therefore dedicated a feature in an attempt to explain the handicaps in full – as well as highlighting some of the disturbing handicapping inconsistencies, we hope that the feature will highlight the potentially negative effect that the proposed handicaps will permanently have on the future polo prospects of many young British players. Having spoken to ‘those in the know’, we have clarified that 56 percent of -2 goal players have been increased to -1 and 20 percent of -1 goal players have been moved up to 0 goals. Above that, the percentages make a steep nosedive, proving the ‘handicap bottleneck’ has just been shifted up, rather than dispersed. A number of individual Club Committee Members have also come forward to Polo Times, informing us that they had not heard of this imposed handicap change before it was implemented, which begs the question, who ultimately signed it off? Richard Tyrone, Chairman of the Polo Players’ Association (PPA) has commented, “The PPA is against the new proposed rule of not allowing -1 goal players to play in 8 and 12 goal tournaments, as we feel it limits teams being made and will ultimately put up a barrier for nurturing patrons, new and old. These patrons may also be put off higher levels of the sport, which is surely a bad thing.”
We hope that by airing the grievances of those who have come forward to comment on the issue, may well bring about further explanation, or, better still, a ‘sea change’ in judgement from the HPA on what seems to be a hurried decision, which evidently did not involve the consultation with the wider polo community.
Putting the handicapping issue to one side, with the UK summer grass season now wound down for another year and the arena season yet to start in earnest, the focus inevitably shifts overseas. However, as always, Polo Times has aimed to bring you up-to-date polo news from both home and abroad. This issue therefore includes a focus on the concept of the Women’s International Polo Network (WIPN) and its impact globally, as well as closer to home, the new legislation which will affect polo pony hirers. What’s more, the October issue will feature our exciting regulars including Reports, Women’s Polo, Youth Polo, Knowledge Features and Sidelines coverage of social events from across the globe. Not a subscriber, click here to change that now!
Photograph: The October issue of Polo Times is out now, with a dedicated feature on The HPA end of season handicap changes. By John Hankin Photography

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