Winter Whack is Christchurch’s annual polo tournament. Held each year for the past three at the beginning of winter, this has to be one of the coldest tournaments in the southern hemisphere. Despite this, the tournament just keeps growing in popularity and size each year.
Included in our registration was accommodation in one of Christchurch’s finest Scout Halls. I think there were around 30 of us that stayed here. The mattresses were comfortable, the showers amazing (once I worked out how to turn it in) and the breakfast supplies greatly appreciated. Communal living at it’s best!
Friday night festivities got under way around 8pm with drinks, pizza and knife fights at the courts. It was really good to catch up with old friends and meet so many new people. It was my first time playing knife fights and I really sucked at it! I think I knocked my own goal down 3 times. Andy Balcar was much better than me and won a new wheel set for his efforts!
Saturday morning it was time to be up bright and early and get started on the main event. I was really happy to see my team was in the same group as Christchurch’s Frosty Boys and Auckland’s Half Wank, Full Bladder and the games against them were definitely my favourites.
The rounds rolled through really nicely. It didn’t feel rushed or stressful, just fun and I enjoyed every game that I played. Around me everyone else looked like they were having an amazing time to.
Before long we were at the elimination rounds. The 18 teams were split into 2 separate single elimination finals – the Whackers bracket and the Hackers bracket, based on their round robin results.
The Hackers bracket was taken out the Samurai Polo Cats, a mixed team of Melbourne and Auckland players. Their final against 2 Girls 1 Guy was highly entertaining to watch.
The Whackers bracket was taken out by European Melbourne Anchor who defeated the valiant Christchurch team of Flat City Rollers (who had already knocked both Sydney teams). It is really good to see the standard of New Zealand polo getting better and better each year.
Such a great day of polo. I’ve always found bike polo tournaments in New Zealand to be very different from the ones we have in Australia, and different in a good way.
For a start, there are no referees, which means there is already one less person to yell at.
People seem more relaxed and less concerned about winning at any cost. It definitely rubs off on you.
Even my team seemed to play with a lower aggression level than usual. Well maybe…
Many thanks to Craig and everyone else in Christchurch for putting on such an amazing tournament. The warmth of our hosts more than made up for the freezing temperatures. Hope to see everyone back there next year.
All photos courtesy of Richard Brown of Timaru. Many thanks to Richard for letting us use them.
By Virginia Castellan