images-news-IMG_4211New ladies’ handicap committee formed with the HPA
The UK Ladies’ Handicap list is published today by the HPA, with the new ratings coming into effect for the 2015 season, beginning in April. Under the new system, women will retain their current handicap, but will also hold a women’s specific handicap; for use when playing in women’s only tournaments. The HPA hope that by implementing ladies’ handicaps, the system will allow for much more evenly matched and more competitive women’s polo, allowing this side of the sport to continue to develop, whilst not impacting on women who also play competitively alongside men.

There has been much debate surrounding the introduction of handicaps for ladies only polo in the UK. The hope from the Women’s Handicap Committee, which includes Cirencester Polo Manager Tim Keyte, Cowdray Manager Chris Bethell, the UK’s highest rated female player Nina Clarkin and her sister Tamara Fox is that the transition to ladies’ handicaps will bring English players into line with the Ladies’ Handicap system already in place in America, Canada, Italy, France, Singapore and Argentina. Players who have previously played ladies’ tournaments in these countries will already hold an international ladies’ rating which will be carried across. Those who have not will have their rating calculated using their regular handicap for the first tournament using the rule that -2 players take a 0 goal handicap, -1 a 1 goal handicap and so on. This will then be reassessed following the first ladies’ tournament that they play.

In the press release from the HPA Nina Clarkin said: “With the introduction of women’s handicaps, the sport is going to continue to flourish and enjoy greater exposure and coverage, allowing it to continue to develop and grow.”

Cirencester, Cowdray and Ascot Polo Clubs have all committed that their 2015 summer season ladies’ tournaments are to be played using the new handicapping system.

However, as the new ratings do not become effective until April, the UK National Women’s Arena Tournament being held this weekend at Ascot Park will not feature the new handicaps. A full list of Women’s handicaps can now be found on the HPA website and an excerpt will be published in the March issue of Polo Times in our regular Women’s Polo section. Want to join in the debate, click here to email us a letter or comment.

Photograph: Sarah Wiseman has been awarded a 7 goal handicap for women’s only polo, by comparison she will continue to play off her 2 goal handicap in mixed tournaments. By Lucy Wilson

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