IT would be fair to say the Grills family of Holbrook were instrumental in helping NSW on their way to claiming eight of the nine finals titles at the Australian Polocrosse Championships in Darwin.
Eight members of the Albury/Holbrook Polocrosse Club were chosen to represent their state at the event, which is the biggest fixture on the Australian polocrosse calendar.
Abbott Grills helped lead the senior men’s team to victory but also was awarded best horse and rider combination, best stockhorse (on Berragoon Percussion) and champion overall male player.
He won two saddles and selection in the Australian Men’s squad for the World Cup in South Africa next year.
Not to be outdone cousin Lucy Grills shone for the under-21 women’s team and her mount Berragoon Ravers also had his name up in lights with a championship stockhorse title.
Lucy also earnt selection on the shortlist for the Australian women’s team for South Africa.
Dad Charlie Grills was part of the winning masters team and son Jim Grills was in the runner-up team in the under-21 men’s.
Other members of the Albury/Holbrook Polocrosse Club also were outstanding in their teams with Elissa Koch part of the victorious senior mixed team; Troy Henry (senior men’s); Montana Ross in the under-16 girls who came runners-up; Emma Piltz in the winning under-12 side; and Matt Davison who represented Queensland in the winning under-21 men’s division.
With 14 horses travelling on two trucks as well as a convoy of five to six other support vehicles, it was a huge challenge to get the horses to the Northern Territory in peak condition.
Mrs Koch, who is also the practice manager at the Hume Equine Centre, said the horses survived the trip well, with some even returning home carrying more weight than when they left.
She said organisers had provided amazing facilities including setting up huge industrial fans at the end of the fields to allow the horses — and riders! — to cool down quickly between chukkas.
Mrs Koch also said Dr Seamus McKillop, from Holbrook Veterinary Surgery, had been “instrumental” in getting the horses through the gruelling trip up and back and the rigours of competition unscathed.
The two-legged athletes were well-attended to with Emma Piltz’s grandfather Peter Wornes acting as the team masseur.