Thursday, October 21, 2010

Did I make it to Christchurch?

Yes. And wasn't the weather beautiful!

So it's been almost 3 months, but here's my report for the record from the polo comp in Christchurch.

Winter Whack - 3rd Place Winners!

Our team started out with a good couple of wins, but couldn't sustain the intensity and got wasted by in 3 minutes flat by the eventual champs - Polo Disco. In the 2nd/3rd playoff we put up stiffer resistance, but eventually the same team which twice beat our fellow Aucklanders put paid to us as well. Props to Glenn who sorted out the Auckland teams - he must of done a good job of balancing us up as we came out 3rd and 4th at the end of the day.

Play was pretty intense at times - you had to commit the body right up to the action, which resulted in a bunch of spills. At one point I lost my rear brake in our first game, and eventually traded the bike off for Glenn's. Playing so many games at that intensity did take it's toll, and I reckon that was a factor in the later games. Polo Disco was clearly a cut above us in skill as well. Not just us, as they swept up the entire field pretty handily. I think they had 3 goals scored against them all day, but thankfully nobody enforced the down-trou rule or there'd have been a lot of flesh on display.

The whole tournament had a great atmosphere, and everybody seemed to have fun. There was quite a range of skill levels, with people drawn in to make up teams or whole teams of occasional players. No way could Auckland have fielded 21 players like Christchurch did, but hopefully a return tourney will pull out a few of our potential/interested people.

Everybody's first question on arrival was why there were so many vegans in the Auckland delegation. The Chch crew is based around fathers who can't get out for mountain-biking like they used to, whereas I can't think of any player from Akl who has kids. Very different demographics didn't hinder us enjoying a night at the pub together beforehand and an aftermatch dinner at the Dux (which has several vegan options).

One last thing to point out - the club house next to the courts is a great idea. It allows them to store edging for the court, rather than losing the ball under the raggedy fence edge or digging it out of weedy gutters. We need something like that in Akl.

Cycle Friendly City

Christchurch was truly fabulous to cycle in. Lots of cycle lanes. Nary a hill through much of the city. A beautiful park with good tracks to ride through. Most importantly - lots of other cyclists to keep the drivers in the habit of looking and waiting.

They also allow bikes on buses, and I went 30kms out to Rangiora for $5.80 each way to visit a colleague. Get off at the other end with your bike, cycle to a store to pick up a drink and choccies, and find your mate's house. So much harder on foot. But do allow for the fact that the first bus after school gets out may have a full rack.

So thanks, Christchurch! Thanks to Craig for being the main man behind the tournament, and thanks to Mads and Malcs for putting me up and feeding me lots of warm, scrummy soup. (I did get sunburnt on the big day, but it wasn't always warm down there.)

Enough from me. Check out more photos from the day.