This week’s Land Rover New Zealand Polo Open has been cancelled due to the rainfall of recent weeks.
In a case of right-sponsor, wrong-circumstance, the Auckland Polo Club’s grounds at Clevedon have been deemed unfit for play.
Tournament play was scheduled across the week, with the final set for Sunday.
The event was also beset by rain at the same time last year, but went ahead.
Helicopters dried the ground out at considerable expense. That work was undone by downpours on the morning of the final.
The tournament’s executive director Hannah Marshall said the priority was guest, player and pony safety.
“You can’t go anywhere without gumboots and a four-wheel drive.
“We have had constant rain for about 10 days. Sun is forecast later this week but the grounds are too dangerous now.
“This decision didn’t come lightly, but we decided it was better for everyone.”
Marshall said organisers’ phones have been in constant use informing sponsors and suppliers, and cancelling the logistics required for “60 –odd marquees, catering, loos and everything you can imagine because basically we’re an empty field apart from our clubhouse”.
“People invite guests to fly in from all over the place. The simple fact is those grounds aren’t going to recover to a safe, playable level in four days, regardless of how much baking sun we get.”
Marshall told the Herald on Sunday last week that she hoped planning and futureproofing would avoid a similar scenario.
“This year we’ve put in loads of new infrastructure to handle the rain better. Other than a massive natural flood, we should be alright.
“There’s a new road around the field, so you don’t have to leave the grass. Last year that’s what became problematic because it turned to slush.
“Obviously the event won’t run without the sport, so our preparations have been to get the field as good as can be. We’ve put nearly 600 tonnes of sand on, and it’s been worked on nearly every day for two months.”
There is understood to have been one event cancelled in the past, courtesy of a flood.
New Zealand News