Susie back in the NZ saddle

Call-up for the NZ women's polo team for the second time.

Call-up for the NZ women's polo team for the second time.

BRING ON ENGLAND: Gisborne’s Susie Hamilton (in green) has been named in the New Zealand women’s polo team to play England in Cambridge next month.
Picture by Eye Witness Images

TINIROTO’s Susie Hamilton has received the recall she didn’t think would happen . . . she’s back in the New Zealand women’s polo team.

Hamilton, 31, broke her leg playing polo in Australia three years ago and thought she would never be back competing at the top level again.

She’s still feeling the after-effects of the accident but is driven by her obsession with the sport.

Hamilton discovered polo seven years ago and since then it has taken her around the world — to the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe.

It’s no surprise she took to it like a duck to water.

Having grown up with horses, the daughter of Pam and Darcy Hamilton was a successful showjumper before switching focus to the mallet.

The accident, however, has made things complicated for her.

“I have a bucket stirrup on that (broken leg) side and no real control of my foot when I play,” she says. “It is like controlling a noodle in a stirrup sometimes. It’s hard but I just keep going.”

Overwhelmed to get the call-up

To get the call-up for the national team — for the second time — to play against England at the Keyte Watson Tournament in Cambridge early next month was overwhelming.

“I got a bit emotional when I found out,” says Hamilton, who lives on Kaikino, the family farm at Tiniroto.

It means she will go head-to-head with great mate and world No.1 female player Nina Clarkin.

“Women’s polo has just exploded in the last year, mostly thanks to Nina and other pros in England. You can actually now make a good living as a women’s pro. She travels the world playing. It would be my dream to fly to tournaments but it all costs money. It is an expensive sport.”

Hamilton has three “awesome” horses at the moment. Sadly, she lost her No.1 horse last year.

She is a zero-handicapper when playing in open mixed polo and a 3-handicap in women’s games. Clarkin is a 10.

“I am lucky enough to be playing with her in an Auckland charity match this weekend.”

Hamilton used to work for Clarkin and will be based with her and 8-goal husband John Paul Clarkin at Kaipaki Polo until March.

She credits Poverty Bay club mate Neville Clark for her foray into polo. He pushed her from the sidelines as a groom and on to the field of play.

“If it was not for him, I wouldn’t be playing much polo. I really appreciate all he does for the sport locally.”

As excited as she is to be heading off to prepare for the test match, she is disappointed to be missing the Poverty Bay Open this weekend where she would have been in the top team.

“I generally play in a mixed team and love it. It makes you much tougher playing against men and the polo is faster.”

Joining Hamilton in the New Zealand team for the test are Renn Erceg, Maddy Rankin and captain Missy Browne.

  • The Poverty Bay Polo Open started this morning at the Bushmere grounds. It features three divisions — the Silver Ferns 6-goal, Eastland Vets 0-goal and Coates Associates -5-goal. Poverty Bay has two teams competing. Harvest Transport PB feature Burne McNeil, Rob Telfer, Cody Clark and Andy Moore. They are in the 6-goal division. PB Kirkpatrick Farm Feeds comprise Fern McIldowie, Laura Clark, Campbell Chrisp and Marcus Shanks. They are in the -5 division. There are four teams in each division including four Hawke’s Bay sides (A to D) and teams from Waimai and Wanstead. Spectators are welcome. Entry is free.

TINIROTO’s Susie Hamilton has received the recall she didn’t think would happen . . . she’s back in the New Zealand women’s polo team.

Hamilton, 31, broke her leg playing polo in Australia three years ago and thought she would never be back competing at the top level again.

She’s still feeling the after-effects of the accident but is driven by her obsession with the sport.

Hamilton discovered polo seven years ago and since then it has taken her around the world — to the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe.

It’s no surprise she took to it like a duck to water.

Having grown up with horses, the daughter of Pam and Darcy Hamilton was a successful showjumper before switching focus to the mallet.

The accident, however, has made things complicated for her.

“I have a bucket stirrup on that (broken leg) side and no real control of my foot when I play,” she says. “It is like controlling a noodle in a stirrup sometimes. It’s hard but I just keep going.”

Overwhelmed to get the call-up

To get the call-up for the national team — for the second time — to play against England at the Keyte Watson Tournament in Cambridge early next month was overwhelming.

“I got a bit emotional when I found out,” says Hamilton, who lives on Kaikino, the family farm at Tiniroto.

It means she will go head-to-head with great mate and world No.1 female player Nina Clarkin.

“Women’s polo has just exploded in the last year, mostly thanks to Nina and other pros in England. You can actually now make a good living as a women’s pro. She travels the world playing. It would be my dream to fly to tournaments but it all costs money. It is an expensive sport.”

Hamilton has three “awesome” horses at the moment. Sadly, she lost her No.1 horse last year.

She is a zero-handicapper when playing in open mixed polo and a 3-handicap in women’s games. Clarkin is a 10.

“I am lucky enough to be playing with her in an Auckland charity match this weekend.”

Hamilton used to work for Clarkin and will be based with her and 8-goal husband John Paul Clarkin at Kaipaki Polo until March.

She credits Poverty Bay club mate Neville Clark for her foray into polo. He pushed her from the sidelines as a groom and on to the field of play.

“If it was not for him, I wouldn’t be playing much polo. I really appreciate all he does for the sport locally.”

As excited as she is to be heading off to prepare for the test match, she is disappointed to be missing the Poverty Bay Open this weekend where she would have been in the top team.

“I generally play in a mixed team and love it. It makes you much tougher playing against men and the polo is faster.”

Joining Hamilton in the New Zealand team for the test are Renn Erceg, Maddy Rankin and captain Missy Browne.

  • The Poverty Bay Polo Open started this morning at the Bushmere grounds. It features three divisions — the Silver Ferns 6-goal, Eastland Vets 0-goal and Coates Associates -5-goal. Poverty Bay has two teams competing. Harvest Transport PB feature Burne McNeil, Rob Telfer, Cody Clark and Andy Moore. They are in the 6-goal division. PB Kirkpatrick Farm Feeds comprise Fern McIldowie, Laura Clark, Campbell Chrisp and Marcus Shanks. They are in the -5 division. There are four teams in each division including four Hawke’s Bay sides (A to D) and teams from Waimai and Wanstead. Spectators are welcome. Entry is free.

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