Quiet, sleepy Millamolong springs to life with animal aggression

NOT many people associate the calm, eclectic country setting of Millamolong with any form of ferocious and physical activity.

Not until this weekend, that is.

Recreating a scene more akin to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Millamolong will be inundated with close to 200 horses and 50 riders when the 2014 Millamolong Polo Club John Davis Volvo carnival begins on Saturday.

Used as a qualification carnival for the high goal tournament in Sydney, the Millamolong carnival will showcase some of the most accomplished polo players in the region.

Set to compete in his fourth Millamolong Polo carnival, Richard Connell’s upbringing around horses lent itself to the game of polo.

Thanks to family ties, he hasn’t looked back.

“You’re going as fast as you can on a horse then trying to push the opposition out of the way while trying to get the small ball between the goals,” Mr Connell said.

“When you watch the high goal competition, it’s amazing.

“A lot of it, when you combine the speed of the sport along with the skill, when you get that right it’s an amazing feeling.”

Each competing team has four members with a distinct position, as shown by the numbers on their shirts.

The game is divided into six chukkers, each lasting seven minutes with a three minute interval between to allow players to change horses.

A player may challenge an opposing member by riding him off or bumping him during general play. 

The horses are the ones intended to do the pushing, but a player may use his body but not his elbows.

At half time, it is a long standing tradition that the spectators walk onto the field to “stomp the divots” made by the horses’ hooves.

Mr Connell puts the game a little more simply for the uninitiated.

“The aim of the game is to get the tiny white ball between the sticks at either end, 300 yards apart,” he said, with 12 teams set to participate in the weekend’s carnival.

“With qualification for the Sydney high goal tournament on the line, I think the polo will be pretty strong.”

The two-day John Davis Motors Millamolong Polo Club Carnival begins on Saturday.

nick.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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