Information released by HPA
On Friday 28 September, The Hurlingham Polo Association released the following email to members regarding the recent handicap changes.
There is some misinformation in the public domain referring to the Handicap Committee’s End Of Season handicap meeting to align handicaps to what is stated in the Blue Book, Part 2 Annex B which was published in 2018. http://www.hpa-polo.co.uk/download/BB18-Rules.pdf(page 88).
Minus handicaps were always intended to be introductory levels and it has been the desire of the Handicap Committee for some time to reemphasise this because it has been allowed to drift. Granted there will always be exceptions to the rule and people may appeal.
The consultation process
The principle of this handicap realignment was agreed by the Stewards in April 2018. It was then further discussed and noted in minutes at The Council Meeting in early May 2018. Clubs were informed before the VL Handicap meeting with subsequent reminders sent in the build up to the EOS handicap meetings. It was also discussed in person with Polo Managers from the five High Goal clubs and in person with a select number of Low Goal clubs from across the country prior to the EOS handicap meeting, with the general consensus being one of support. In the time between the guidance being issued to clubs the HPA have assisted with a number of queries from clubs before the EOS handicaps came out, and the day before handicap recommendations were due the office called the 30 or so clubs who had not submitted handicap recommendations, 14 of whom did not respond at all to our communications.
At grass roots level
We have also received support from players, both pro and amateur. Indeed speaking to one player who had played in the same -3 tournament five years in a row, with very similar teams, they would suggest the standard has gone up but not the handicaps of those playing.
We want to improve polo in the UK increasing opportunities for those who play at a grass roots level. We also want to make room for those beginners at -2, to enable the sport to grow. By moving -2s to -1s “if they can hit the ball and are safe” creates room at the bottom for genuine beginners to enter the game competitively and this helps the sport to grow.
Good for polo
We love this sport and we want it to grow, for clubs to flourish, for English polo to get better and for the vast majority of players to be happy content and competitive. We think this handicap realignment will go some way toward doing that.
We welcome comments and appeals.