Last night, four of Birmingham’s more intrepid players made the jaunt over to Cambridge to check out their new court. Unfortunately, they only have it for a few months, but what they’ve managed in such a short time is inspirational.
After walking through an anonymous door this is the sight that greets you. On first impressions, I thought it looked really short – almost square. The surface also looked shiny and slippy like a shopping centre. I also noticed the goals, which are probably the best I’ve played on – really sturdy.
After weeks of wet or frosty polo, I was itching to get on court. At first I was really tentative because it is so smooth and looks so slick. In fact, there’s loads of grip and skidding is nice and predictable. It was a steep learning curve and within minutes I was confident.
The short(ish)ness of the court works fine, as it’s nicely wide. Girth is more important than length, obviously. Plenty of room to move when you’re bearing down on goal, or being bored (born?) down upon, and there’s less end-to-end chasing. Something about the court just felt ‘right’. Sometimes playing on a new court, it’s hard to get a feel for where you are, and you keep over- or underestimating distances. Not here.
I started off playing quite well, I thought, but got worse as the evening carried on past my usual bed-time. This corresponded with constantly being pitted against Hayden, who is incredibly frustrating to play against. Stupidly fast, good close-control, with a powerful and accurate shot and he never seems to lose the ball even when it looks like he’s about to and he’s lefty to boot. I can’t quite understand how Stabbath beat him, Bogey and Luca at the London open…
It was three of Brum’s newcomers’ first polo trip, and they had their eyes opened to the potential of an indoor court. This is the future.
We called it a night just after 10pm, although this place is like a casino; I could easily see myself checking the time on polo night to find it’s 3am.
A big pat on the back to everyone who put this place together, and thanks for having us over. I reckon you’ll see some of us a few more times before it gets demolished.