HARARE – Age is just a number when it comes to love and Nathan Stochill is applying the same principle to his fledgling polo career.
The 14-year-old held his own at the Ambassador’s Cup Polo Tournament held at Bushman Rock Safaris in Ruwa a fortnight ago playing against opponents some old enough to be his grandparents.
The young versatile player, who is in home school and plays as a midfielder in this stick and ball sport, inspired defending champions Fine and Country Kudus to a second place finish narrowly losing to Safeguard Sables 3-4 in a golden goal fifth chukka after the two teams had played out a 3-3 draw in the regulation four-chukka match.
For Stochill age is not a barrier and he believes his passion for riding horses at a tender age of five has made him the good polo player he is.
“I started about two years ago playing polo but previously I have been playing polocrosse since I was five-years-old,” Stochill told the Daily News on Sunday.
“Basically, I just wanted to try out new things because I got to play polocrosse almost at the top and wanted to go into something more challenging.
“You got to love horses with all your heart because the horse is very much part of you, you both know each other very well.
“Personal attributes include being a very good team player because a good team always win.”
The youthful player said he enjoys belittling players more senior to him in a respectable manner, giving them a torrid time on the turf.
“It is more challenging but it’s also more fun playing against the elderly because with polo sport it knows no age restriction. I feel the moment we walk out onto the turf we are all equal,” he said.
“I think what makes me a good player despite being the youngest is probably being young and fit.”
The transition from polocrosse to polo was never a challenge for Stochill.
“It’s been fine because before in polocrosse I had a lot of horses so it’s been very easy to change which is one of the reasons I changed to polo, so that I could use all the horses that we have,” he said.
“With polocrosse you can only use one horse and in polo you can use several horses.
“To the aspiring young players I would say just go ahead and try it, probably this is the best thing you can do.”
Polo is a team sport comprising four players aside on horsebacks. It is made up of four to five chukkas of seven minutes each with three minute break intervals in between each chukka.
The four-member team comprise a number one who is basically a striker, the goalkeeper who is number four, the captain who normally fills the role of a sweeper and the midfielder (number two).
It is a difficult experience for the lefthanders in polo because it is a written rule that one must hold the stick in the right hand but not to say a lefthander cannot play polo.