The Game

The Game of Polocrosse

Polocrosse it is a team sport that is played all over the world. It is a combination of polo and lacrosse. It is played outside, on a field (the pitch), on horseback. Each rider uses a bamboo stick to which is attached a racquet head with a loose, thread net, in which the ball is carried. The ball is made of sponge rubber and is approximately 4 inches across. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball between your goal posts.

Anyone who can ride a horse can play polocrosse, which also helps improve riding skills. All ages and abilities are encouraged to play and the Pony Club have recognised polocrosse as a horse sport.

Correct Attire & Gear

From: Irish Polocrosse Association
Date: 23 August 2012
Subject: Rules regarding correct attire and gear

Dear Member

Please be aware that the IPA have concerns regarding the inappropriate dress of some players at tournaments this season.  Players in inappropriate dress can cause difficulties for umpires who are trying to umpire games and nor does it present itself very well to spectators etc.

As a result, it has been decided that for the remainder of this season and from then onward the following rules will be strictly imposed:

Rule 22.  Correct dress and gear:
(a)  Players must be properly dressed in registered National Association colours (i.e. registered club jerseys), riding boots and approved headgear, breeches or jodpurs or white jeans.

(i) Players must be correctly numbered with clearly visible numbers not less than 230mm high on their backs and a second number of no less than 115mm which shall be clearly visible on either the front or the arm.

“Attack” players shall be numbered 1
“Centre” players shall be numbered 2
“Defence players shall be numbered 3

Where players are on a mix and match team of a section of 3 they must agree on which club jerseys to be worn for their games for the duration of each tournament and ensure that each player on their section/team are dressed and numbered appropriately.

Where players are on a mix and match team of 2 sections of 3 they must either arrange for all 6 players to be in the same club jerseys or for the 1st section of 3 to wear one club’s jerseys and the 2nd section of 3 to wear a second clubs jerseys, all of which must be appropriately numbered.

Where a player/s presents to the field for a game not in correct attire, the game will be held for 5 mins by the Umpire (or until the player/s has represented correctly attired if less than 5 minutes) to allow the player/s to change into correct attire.  If by 5 minutes the player/s have not represented correctly attired, play shall commence without them.

Rule 22 (j)  Horses will play with protective bandages/boots and coronet boots on all four legs

Where a player/s present to the field without the correct gear as outlined above it is at the Umpires discretion to either hold play up to a maximum of 5 minutes to allow the offending player/s to correct the gear or to start play without them

Rule 45 (b) Broken Bandages
The Umpire shall use his/her discretion regarding stopping the play for broken or loose bandages.  The player with the broken or loose bandages shall be penalised.  Play shall recommence with a free throw to the opposition.

45 (c)  The Umpire shall use his/her discretion regarding stopping the play for broken or loose gear/tack.  Play shall recommence with a free throw to the team in possession or a line up.

It is expected that each Umpire is to familiarise themselves thoroughly with these rules and penalties and enforce them rigidly from this weekend’s Carrickmine’s tournament onwards and that each player is to familiarise themselves and abide by them.

We would like to thank you all for your co-operation in this.
Kind Regards

Eileen Conway
Secretary: Irish Polocrosse Association

Requirements to play

To get started, players need a recognized safety helmet, a racquet and a ball and leg wraps and coronet boots for the horse.

Unlike polo, players are allowed only to play one horse, except in the case of injury. There is no restriction on the horse’s height, although the ideal should not exceed about 16 hands. Horses of all breeds play polocrosse.

Team Structure

A team consists of 6 players, divided into two sections of three who play 3-4 alternate chukkas of six minutes, and eight minutes in international games. A match comprises six or eight chukkas. The three players in each section play the position of a No. 1, attack, a No. 2, midfield ( a combination of defence and offence), or a No. 3, defence.

The team structure was designed to force players to pass the ball about amongst themselves, making it a better skilled, faster sport. there are 4 quaters in an average game, these are called chuckas.

The Pitch

The field is 60 yards (55 m) x 160 yards (146.5 m), with three separate areas. The goal scoring areas, on each end, are 30 yards long. Only the No. 1 of the attacking team and the No. 3 of the defending team can play in these areas.

The middle area is 100 yards long. The line separating the goal scoring and centre areas is called the penalty or thirty-yard line. Goal posts are 8 feet apart. To score, the ball must be thrown from outside an 11-yard semi-circle in front of the goal.

Playing The Game

The game begins in centre field with the players lining up, one section beside the other, with the No. 1s in front, followed by the 2’s and then the 3’s. This is called a line up and occurs at a spot in the middle of the pitch called the T. The umpire then throws the ball between the players, between shoulder and racket height so that all players have a chance to catch the ball. The teams always line up so that the other team is lined up between the number 1 and the goal they must score at.

Players can pick up the ball from the ground, catch it in their racquet, and ride with it. They throw it to other players until the No.1 has possession in the goal scoring area. A player cannot carry the ball over the penalty line, but must bounce it so that they do not have possession of it while actually crossing the line. It can also be passed to a player over the line.

When carrying the ball, a player must carry it on the stick side, i.e. right-handed players must carry it on the offside of the horse (if a person has possession of the ball and crosses the racket over the center-line of the horse (the line that runs from the horses ears to the tail) it is a foul) . A player can, however, pick-up or catch the ball on the non-stick side provided they immediately bring it back to their stick side.

The game recommences similarly after a goal has been scored, with the line up taking place on the alternate side of the field for every goal that is scored. Whenever an attempt at goal fails, the No. 3 throws the ball back into play from the penalty line. This throw (like all penalty throws) must travel at least 10 yards. The No. 3 can throw the ball to themselves or to a team member. If they elect to throw to themselves, the ball must bounce before they can regain possession, but they are to have first call on the ball, before opposition players can attempt to regain possession. This penalty throw is called a 10-yard throw.

Penalties & Free Throws

The most common award given in the case of a penalty is a 10-yard throw. Where the foul occurred determines the position on the field at which the throw is taken. If the throw is awarded in mid-field, any member of the team can take it. If a penalty occurs in the end zones only the player allowed to play in that area may take the throw. Depending on the nature of the penalty, the 10-yard throw may be taken at the spot where the penalty occurred or it may be moved down the field to give advantage to the fouled team. For example- if the team carrying the ball is fouled, the penalty will most likely be moved down the field to give advantage to the fouled team, however if the team carrying the ball comits the foul the ball may just be turned over to the other team at the point where the infraction occurred.

Not all fouls are punished with a ten-yard throw. Particularly dangerous fouls (such as hitting another player in the head or helmet with the racket) result in free goals being given to the fouled team. Additionally if a player continues to commit penalties and behave dangerously they can be dismissed from the team.

If both teams are responsible for a penalty the game is restarted with a line up. If the penalty occurs in the end zone or as the ball is moving into the end zone, the 1 and 3 are lined up in the end zone (with the 3 closer to the goal posts) and the ball is thrown between the two players. If the penalty occurs in the midfield or as the ball is being taken into the mid-field the game is restarted with a six man line up in mid-field.

If the ball goes out of bounds off of a horse, the teams are lined up and the ball is thrown between them. If this occurs in the end zone only the 1 and 3 line up.

It is also illegal to ride through the goal posts, if the three or one’s horse’s back legs pass through the posts, it is an automatic free goal to the opposing team (International rule).

Players can get the ball from the opposition by hitting at an opponent’s stick (in an upwards direction only), either to dislodge the ball or to prevent them from gaining possession of it, this is called “giving wood”. Riding off is also allowed, but crossing, stopping over the ball, or elbowing constitutes fouls. Sandwiching one player between two others also constitutes a foul. Fouls result in a free throw (aka ten-yard throw) to the offended side.

Rule Book

The International Polocrosse Rule Book is available for all players here