First-up teams happy with polocrosse cup preparation
POLOCROSSE: Suzanne Sargeant will line up for her fourth World Cup when she plays for Zimbabwe against Australia at 10.30am Monday at IOR Morgan Park.
Sargeant was part of the Zimbabwe team for the first World Cup in 2003 in Warwick and only missed the second cup at Morgan Park.
When she takes the field on Monday, she will join Zimbabwe coach Gavin Cocker as one of only four players to play in four World Cups.
Ireland player Debbie Harris is the most capped World Cup player and will line up in her fifth cup and 21st cup game today at 1.30pm against South Africa.
"The cost stopped me coming in 2007,” Sargeant said.
Cocker played in the first four World Cups with South Africa and was part of winning teams in 2011 and 2015.
"After successive cup wins, I thought it was the chance to retire on a high,” Cocker said.
He said his team had to win at least one of its two games against Australia and Zambia to be in contention for a semi-final spot.
"We could have done with a bit longer on the horses but have done as much as we can before the first game,” he said.
"We have a nice pool of horses.”
Each team has a squad of eight, four men and four women. A section of three from each team is on the field during each chukka.
Cocker said Zimbabwe would definitely be using all eight players in the game against Australia which is over six, six minute chukkas.
While he lives in South Africa, Cocker has taken the three-hour flight to Zimbabwe for team camps on three weekends in the leadup to the cup.
Cocker is originally from Zimbabwe and played in a World Series Tournament in 1998 in the same team as Sargeant and they were part of the winning team.
Sargeant will be the most experienced player in the game against Australia on Monday morning. While a number of Australians are going into their second cup, only Will Weston is heading in to his third cup.
In the horse draw, Sargeant has ended up with a horse owned by Matt Davison from Holbrook, a mare called Truth.
"I tried a few different horses but Gavin said Truth was the horse for me and he was right,” Sargeant said.
"I am really happy with Truth.”
Cocker said the two major differences to the inaugural cup and this year's were the increase in the number of people at the cup and the improvement in the horses.
"Les Fraser and his committee are putting on a good show,” he said.
Cocker has noticed the increased number of people at Morgan Park and the cup hasn't even started.
The Warwick connection in the Australian team is assistant coach Cameron Shepherd.
Late on Sunday afternoon, he said the Australian team could not do anymore than they had done to prepare for the World Cup.
"We are spot on ready to go,” Shepherd said.
"It is a bonus four of our players, Lucy Grills, Suzette Thomas, Jim Grills and Beth Hafey have drawn their own horses.”
At the first World Cup, a player from the host country lucky enough to draw their own horse could ride that horse. The rule was changed between two World Cups stopping a player from riding their own horse but now host country players are able to again ride their own horses.
Tickets available at the gate for each day of the cup, parking is available for the general public outside the main gate.
7am Gates open (tickets at gate)
9am World Cup opening
10.30am - Australia v Zimbabwe
Noon - United Kingdom v NZ
1.30pm - South Africa v Ireland
3pm: USA v Zambia