Polo The Game
We have detailed below a basic overview of the rules of polo for any newcomer visiting our site for the first time. We hope you enjoy reading them, and would welcome any ideas on expanding this site to help others - both newcomers and 'old hands' alike!
For the Newcomer to Polo - a few notes on the rules
GROUND - The maximum permitted is 300 yards long and 200 yards wide. Goal posts are 8 yards apart.
Play is divided into chukkas of 7 minutes each, with an interval between chukkas of 3 minutes, extended to 5 minutes at half-time. A full match is 8 chukkas, but usually 4 or 6 chukkas are played.
BELL - is rung at the end of each 7 minute period. Play continues after the bell until the ball goes out of play, or the umpire stops play for a foul, or the bell is rung for a second time 30 seconds after the first bell; in the last chukka play stops with the first stroke of the bell. In the case of a tie, the last chukka ends in the same way as previous chukkas, and then after an interval of 5 minutes the game goes on with additional chukkas, the goals being widened to 16 yards, until a deciding goal is scored.
CHANGING ENDS - Ends are changed after EACH GOAL scored, or at half-time if no score by then.
The most important of these are:
RIGHT OF WAY - This extends on the left side of the exact line of the ball (as seen by the player following or meeting the ball). Any player riding the right of way is entitled to hit the ball on his off side unless ridden off it. If there is no player on the exact right of way the right of possession passes to the player riding at the smallest angle to it in the direction in which the ball is travelling.
CROSSING - Any player who crosses the player in the right of way close enough to be dangerous or cause a player to slow up, commits a foul.
RIDING OFF - is permitted, whether the other man is playing the ball or not. But it must not be done by charging in at a dangerous angle, nor must the man in possession of the ball be crossed.
HOOKING STICKS - A player may hook an opponents stick provided he is on the same side of the opponent as the ball, or directly behind him, and provided the stick is below the level of the opponents shoulder.
Numbered as below, are exacted for infringement of the Field Rules:
No. 1: A GOAL
- Awarded to the side fouled and game restarted where the foul occurred. (For a dangerous foul near goal).
No. 2: 30 YARD HIT
- At open goal, attackers to be level with the ball when hit or hit at defenders to be behind the back line. (For a dangerous foul).
No.3 40 YARD HIT - at open goal, attackers to be level with the ball when hit or hit at defenders to be behind the back line. (For a less dangerous foul).
No. 4: 60 YARD HIT
- Opposite the goal, none of the defending side to be nearer than 30 yards when the ball is hit or hit at; attackers may place themselves where they please. (For a moderate foul).
No. 5(a): FREE HIT
- From the spot where the foul occurred, none of the defending side to be nearer than 30 yards. (For a mild foul).
No. 5(b): FREE HIT
- From the centre of the ground, none of the defending side to be nearer than 30 yards. (Awarded at the discretion of the umpires).
No. 6: 60 YARD HIT
- Opposite where the ball crossed the back line, none of the defenders to be nearer than 30 yards when the ball is hit or hit at. (For the defenders hitting behind their own back line)
Each player is handicapped (on a 6 chukka basis) from minus 2 up to 10 goals (the best player). The aggregate handicap of the four players is the team handicap. In handicap tournaments the number of goals start is obtained by dividing the difference between the two teams handicaps by six and multiplying by the number of chukkas to be played; any fractions count as half a goal.