The Blenheim Polo Club's annual three-day tournament starts at Rewi Murray Park tomorrow and this year the event takes on extra significance.
Officially formed in 1973, the club celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2013.
The annual tournament itself is not that old, but it has this year still attracted 10 South Island teams and a team from the Rangitikei area in the North Island.
Teams from South Canterbury, Canterbury's Port Hills and Waipara will join two Blenheim teams and the Rangitikei side, six teams competing in A grade and five in the B grade competition.
Both Blenheim teams are in B grade and have a strong sense of family about them. Vaughan Cameron is captain of one team, which includes his father and groundsman Colin Cameron and his stepson, Brodie Ratcliffe. The other side features three members of the Murray family, of Clarence - dad James and his two sons, Jack and Sam.
Patron, life member and former president Bruce McLauchlan was a founding member of the Blenheim club in 1973 and has been involved in all of the club's tournaments since. Aged over 70, McLauchlan gave up playing only two years ago and has seen not only how the game has changed, but also how the club has progressed in that time.
In the early days of the club, they played at Tyntesfield farm in the Waihopai Valley and then on Old Renwick Rd, before shifting to Rewi Murray Park in 1980-81. McLauchlan said he remembers there were about two years' work involved before they could finally play there, with thousands of dollars worth of work on drainage and levelling the field and sowing the grass completed.
As for the game itself, he felt it was played more seriously these days, particularly by the younger players, compared with the earlier days when the focus was much more on having fun.
Play starts tomorrow at 11am, with entry to the ground free to members of the public. Food and drink will also be available and the public are welcome to use the clubhouse facilities.
- The Marlborough Express