Presidents Report

Presidents Report 

2023 is the year of recovery after a period of floods and Covid. Memberships are back up, tournaments played are back up and general enthusiasm around the State for polo is back. Well done to everyone.

Special Events.

It took three years in the making but eventually we witnessed one of the most exciting, magnificently presented, tournaments of the century. The Paradice/ Ellerston / La Dolfina high goal. What a spectacle! To David Paradice, Ros and Gretal Packer, you should all be very proud. It has certainly show cased Australian polo at its best.

A further milestone was the hosting of the Countess of Dudley and Hector King tournaments (combined) during October this year and held in the Hawkesbury. Over 30 teams coming together to see who takes home the Club Championship. This year it was Ellerston.

For over 50 years it has been a fight to find the most suitable date and venue where the north and south Clubs could meet at a mutual date. I believe we have found the right formula in the calendar and will encourage the Board to hold it again in 2024.

Umpiring Accreditation program

Without doubt, the most active feedback to NSWPA, over the past 5 years has been around the standard of umpiring and the communicating of new rules. Sam Hopkinson and Anto White have been proactive in reining in the spate of bad player behaviour both on and off the field and setting up a vastly improved Professional Umpiring system. Much appreciation goes to Fergus Gould and the USPA for assisting us setting up the program. This accreditation will be rolled out into regional Clubs over next couple of years.

Disciplinary Tribunal

The handling of disciplinary matters at NSWPA level has also been improved. David Head and Steve Philip have tirelessly scrutinised past regulations at USPA, HPA and APF level, to come up with the best and most workable set of regulations suited to NSW. The Tribunal has been set up and the new set of rules adopted. This will make for transparent and expedient handling of disciplinary matters.

Junior Development

The inaugural State Junior Championships were held at Peter Huston’s property at Richmond early in October this year. It came on the back of yet another successful Junior Polo School at Scone led by Anto White and Glen Gilmore.

A NSW Junior Team will head over to the South Island New Zealand in early December to compete against a NZ South Island Junior Team. Yet another great initiative set up between Peter Dormer and NSWPA on an annual reciprocal basis.

Over the next 12 months a Junior Development program will be formalised by a working committee consisting of Muz Easton, Seb Mariani and Jeff Fisher. They will look to set up coaching clinics around the State, a “Gap Year” apprenticeship program, identify host properties for junior players and potentially have a livery system for retired horses from which junior players can access ponies to get them started.

Junior Development TRUST

It has been talked about for some years, but we are getting close to formally setting up an investment TRUST specifically designed to finance Junior Development in NSW. A draft Deed has been prepared and Trustees approached to manage the TRUST. Watch this space.

Past Player Association (Alumni)

Too often we hear the conversation between players who have decided to hang up their mallets and put the boots in the cupboard ….” we don’t catch up enough and unfortunately it only seems to be at a funeral”.

Jeremy Bayard wrote in the minutes of the inaugural meeting of the APF Past Players’ Association (2013) that the disconnect between those players retired and those coming into the Sport as a “cultural vacuum” … “creating an erosion of the sport’s ethos”.

Well, this is going to change!! To energise the PPA we have spoken to a working committee of JJ Lynch, Rosie Wingrove, Jilly Macintyre, and Shauna Laverty. They will be charged with the job of collecting data (contact information) for all past players and setting up a “calendar of communication”. Ways in which we can “keep people in the game long after their days in the saddle are done.”  

The objective is to create opportunities to get together and catch up, PLUS have a purpose to raise funds to help develop Junior Polo opportunities in NSW.

Windsor Polo Club Development opportunity

Over 2-3 years there has been conversations with Windsor Polo Club about the ability to formalise a relationship with NSWPA and to create a home for polo in this State, to house archives, trophies, memorabilia and create a place where members can meet and entertain.

This concept is getting closer to a reality. With the assistance of John Marshall and David Jones a team has been working closely with Hawkesbury Council to assess the opportunities of improving or creating a much improved “Club House” facility at WPC. We will keep everyone informed as it moves through the development stages.


A key objective of the NSWPA over the past 2-3 years has been to improve the communication, not only to players but to all our members and friends’ network. To inform everyone of upcoming Tournaments and events and distribute results and information. Shauna Laverty has been instrumental in setting up a regular NSWPA Bulletin email that is distributed to all members and supported by Instagram posts.

A huge thankyou goes out to all Board members for their continued support and advice. Jerremy Bayard (Hon. Treasurer) brings a more vigorous financial reporting and planning system. Adam Tolhurst and Sam Hopkinson in combination with M Polo has managed the NSWPA tournaments brilliantly. David Head and Steve Philip diligently control the Disciplinary Tribunal and incidence reporting. Muz Easton and Seb Mariani have orchestrated major improvements to junior polo and Rowena Rainger and Jack Archibald have assisted with tournaments and have provided invaluable feedback on major issues. And great to have Simon Doolin (North Star) and Renata Davidson (Gunnedah) on the Board to keep us in touch with the Northern Clubs.

 Lastly, we should all combine in thanking Shauna Laverty for her professional, energetic, and charismatic administrative role which she has provided to the NSWPA over the past 4-5 years. Family commitments have taken her away from her role with NSWPA and Jo Anslow has picked up the reins.

To both these two very talented women, we owe enormous gratitude. Thankyou.

To all of you, stay safe, stay fit and keep a leg on either side of the saddle! Look froward to seeing you in 2024.

Peter White


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