Australian polocrosse coach Ross Shepherd and captain Cameron Shepherd leave today for the World Cup in England.
Australian polocrosse coach Ross Shepherd and captain Cameron Shepherd leave today for the World Cup in England. Gerard Walsh

Shepherd hopes for a good draw

CAMERON Shepherd reckons the horse draw could be a factor in whether he scores goals or sets up play in the Polocrosse World Cup next month.

At age 38, he is captain of an Australian team which will all debut at World Cup level.

Today, Cameron and his uncle Ross Shepherd, the Australian coach, leave Warwick at 4am to link with fellow Australian team members and officials for the flight to England for the July 8-17 cup in Rugby, Warwickshire.

Cameron has played in the number 1 (goal scorer) and number 2 (centrefield) positions in warm-up carnivals this month at Narrabri and Dunedoo.

He is unsure what the coach is thinking about a likely starting formation.

“It probably depends a lot on the horses we are allocated, there are no set rules,” Cameron said.

“I will hopefully get a fair-sized horse after the horse draw on Sunday.”

Three men are on the field when the men's sections are playing in the mixed competition and there are four men in the team.

Robert Sibley is a specialist number 1, Cameron plays numbers 1 and 2 while Will Weston and Lance Anderson can both play in the number 2 and 3 (defence) positions.

Cameron and Jess Jolly are the two left-handers in the Australian team and both play numbers 1 or 2.

“I don't think it is an advantage to be a left hander but some of the right handers think so. If I am riding downfield, a right hander (on my right) has no chance of spoiling the ball.”

With most polocrosse countries only playing in one international tournament a year; it is hard to gauge the form of other teams.

Cameron isn't too worried about what the others are doing.

“We have to be worried about what we are doing,” he said.

There will be a few familiar faces at the World Cup, including a contingent of 14 fans from Warwick led by club president Les Fraser.

Cameron is grateful to uncles Les Fraser and Ross Shepherd who helped him and his brother Stuart as juniors.

“They helped look after us at carnival, even thought we didn't take a lot of looking after,” he said.

He is delighted his parents, Ken and Maureen Shepherd, are making the trek to the cup.

Ross Shepherd first coached Australia at the 2003 World Cup and now has a record almost unsurpassed in Australian sport, 18 wins and no losses.

He has steered his team through two World Cups with an unbeaten record as well as a series win in the United Kingdom and Quadrangular Series win at Bowral.

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