In last weeks edition of the City Report we talked with Craig Johnston from Christchurch, New Zealand. This week we talk to Brook Tait-Styles about bike polo in Sydney, Australia.
How long has polo been played in Sydney?
6 years. It was first played in Sydney at the 2006 World Cycle Messenger Championships
How many regular players do you have?
We have around 35 to 40 active players, and usually get between 15 and 25 players at each session.
How often do you play?
Twice a week! Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons.
Tell us about your courts
Our main court is at Alexandria Park, Alexandria. It is a 35 x 18m basketball court which is enclosed with wire fencing. The surface is painted concrete and is really smooth. We have “unofficial” permitted access and use by the council for our main court at Alexandria Park. We have a great backup court on a smooth asphalt court enclosed by brick wall 3 blocks away if ever needed. Our courts are now free for us to use including lights at Alexandria until 10pm.
Have you had any tournaments or demos lately? Do you have any tournaments or demos coming up?
We have recently held an informal Pick-Up tournament and BBQ on Australia Day. In February we also held the “Cirque du Sydney” tournament with over 60 players from around Australia and NZ. The first day had 20 teams (an equal first for largest in Australasia) with the first time teams from NZ has travelled over for a major tournament. The tournament was also free, supplying food and coffee for all the players and also successfully ran without referees (a first for a tournament of this scale in Australia).
Do you have a league?
We ran our first league around 2 years ago. Recently, we had a 6 team league running over summer and we may begin planning the next one over winter. The teams were seeded and randomly drawn to spread experience and help raise the skill level for the beginners.
What have you found works the best to get new players?
Being open and friendly to all spectators with a goal to get them on the court the first time they come down. Best method to get new players has been word-of-mouth and an active and helpful Facebook and internet profile. Previous demos have worked but results are much longer in showing.
Tell us something cool about your city
Sydney is home to many deadly creatures including the Funnel Web Spider, the Red Back Spider and the Blue Ring Octopus. Of the roughly 140 species of snake known to occur in Australia about one seventh are found in the Sydney region
Don’t forget to look for next weeks City Report featuring Timaru, New Zealand.
Questions by Virginia Castellan
Answers by Brook Tait-Styles
Photographs by Mace Robertson and Brook Tait-Styles
When he’s not playing polo or receiving massages from other Brisbane males, Jordan likes heckling the crap out of anyone playing. Here’s a few more things about Jordan.
City: Brisbane, Australia
Team: Majestic Pink Shafts
Years played: 2.5
Super power: I don’t have one at the moment
Favourite heckle: “Do you go down on your mum like that”, “Nice legs, what happened to your face”, “Hey cutie, where’s your sister?”
Bike: Traitor frame, freewheel with dual brake and 35:21 ratio
Mallet: MKE shaft with cut out sides on the head
Protection: Force field
What do you love most about bike polo?
That it constantly gets me into fights with my girlfriend. It’s the only time we talk.