(WRITEN BY ROBYN WATSON)
South African Polo , let me paint you a picture- 1994 ; S.A vs Australia. The South African team made up of Russell Watson, Clive Hill, Doug Lund and Rory Bryden taking on the great Aussies ( Aussie Aussie Aussie – Oi Oi Oi). The banks of Shangwene were packed head to toe like matches in a matchbox; the atmosphere sent shivers down your spine. Horses walking with the echo of there shoes on the soft grass, BMW cars , families with strawberries and champagne, kids on the jumping castles having the time of their lives. This is what polo was all about and of course South Africa won ……
A few years later things changed, Polo was still Polo but there was a negative energy around the people involved and the politics. The shift from KZN Polo to Plett Polo shortly happened and with that being said KZN Polo slowly died a little. Sponsorships fell through , families stopped playing and generations of traditions were lost.
Fast forward time to 2019 , now let me just tell you this is a new picture – high revaluation or should I say Resolution , clear focus and taken with intent and purpose. S.A vs Australia au held at Lions River Polo club one of the 1st polo club in South Africa formed in 1921.
Although we didn’t win this time , a great feeling was reawaken, a memory that once was forgotten was bought back to life , the atmosphere was powerful , the banks were once again filled with families and friends. I dreamt of that day (back in 1994) again, and to be honest I wasn’t sure if it would happen in my lifetime.
I Robyn Watson Started playing polo from the time I could hold a polo stick which was basically in 1994 when I exited my mothers womb. I was born into the game but being a woman in this sport wasn’t easy. After a 2 year stint working abroad on the cruise liners left me dreaming of riding and playing polo again – what can I say it’s in my blood. Well dreams do come true, I’v played in the Lions River tournament followed by the Karkloof Natal Champs recently and let’s just say I was not disappointed, I was actually proud. I’v now seen polo in SA through a different lens, the sport is not dying it’s growing. I am very excited for what the future has to hold, with the right leadership in place and someone to take the reins for South African polo, I think we can see the shift has already started and the evidence is in the 2019 season, imagine what 2020 has to hold.
I’m going to say it ….. Polo in SA is great again.