Monday, July 12, 2010

Slow motion


It was a glorious day at Sandbanks on Friday: brilliant sunshine, golden sand shimmering in the heat and a myriad of yachts bobbing on the azure blue sea. Jack Kidd, captain of England's polo team, managed to look cool in white jodhpurs and shirt, flanked by his glamorous groom, who equalled his height, her pony tail befitting the occasion. The chukkas progressed, fast and furious, whilst the jugs of Pimms also flowed at a good pace from the marquee to the stands.

A quarter to five heralded the moment we'd been waiting for: the first game of camel polo to be played in Europe. Four camels trooped in; not majestic dromedaries but stocky Bactrians with two humps and a polo player sitting betwixt. Three of the camels were 9 year old females, the other a castrated male. The whistle blew and the game began. Well, it began in theory. The red beach ball which had been so keenly chased earlier in the afternoon by the dapper polo ponies, was held in some disdain by "Joseph's Amazing Camels" from Warwickshire. After a great deal of slapping on the rear hump, one of them strolled towards the ball at a leisurely pace whilst the other three pretended not to notice. The young woman riding the mobile camel wielded her stick and whooshed it down at the ball, to no avail: she missed. At this point the other three camels had noticed something at the exit of the pitch: the gate was opening. It was possibly the thoughts of sugar beet and water which excited them, possibly the escape from being exhorted to perform inane tasks. Whatever the cause, they suddenly took off and raced towards the other end of the pitch, in the opposite direction from the ball. The herd mentality, or perhaps the realisation that not much food would be left, took hold of the one standing by the ball, who charged after them, dashing all hopes of a goal from the rider and the audience.

The camels had been in training for three months and we were told they live until they are 40 so have many years of polo playing ahead of them. I'm not sure it'll be a crowd puller in the short-term.

5 Comments:

Blogger Angus said...

If only the male hadn't been castrated!

12:06 pm  
Blogger Eurodog said...

I gather there is a huge camel population in Australia. Why not send those poor Warwickshire camels there?

7:06 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Those Australian camels are being shot as they are considered to be pests.

1:23 pm  
Blogger Eurodog said...

They should have left them where they came from. India, I gather.

8:20 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I say, Good for the camels!

10:10 pm  

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