Classic polo with well-dressed punters, heels, and stomping divots mixed with DJs and dance floors for the very first Heineken Urban Polo in Hamilton.
Around 1500 people attended the inaugural event on St Patrick’s Day, in which Claudelands transformed into an outdoor equine arena.
The event is a step away from traditional polo, with spectators able to get within inches of the action, and combines contemporary music with the sport of kings.
Advertised as the “coolest urban sporting and social event”, the Urban Polo certainly delivered a party atmosphere. But those there to catch high-octane, high-calibre polo were left wanting more as games seemed to fly by as fast as the opening joust for the ball.
Games were broken up into five chukkas that lasted for six minutes each.
Online schedules suggested punters were in for three matches with the final being played at 6.30pm. But by that time, the action had already wound down.
Marketing manager of Heineken NZ Taylor Green said the plan was always to host two main games in Hamilton.
“We wanted to make the level of polo as high as possible which we were able to do over two games,” he said.
“We had four of the current New Zealand national team playing on the day as well as the highest-rated women’s player in the world. With this calibre of players, to include more lesser-rated players, it would have detracted from the spectacle on the day and the overall goal of the series.
“With continued support from the players and public we will look to move to three games in Hamilton year two like we did in Auckland.”