T. F. (Thomas Francis) Dale.

Polo past and present online

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questions which are not by these Rules declared to be subject
to the final decision of some other authority such as umpires,
etc., and the decision of the Stewards in all such appeals shall
be final.

Question to be referred to Stewards.

4. Any question which may arise in the course of a Tourna-
ment, and which is not provided for by these Rules, shall be
referred for decision to the Stewards, who may if they think fit,


refer the matter to the Committee of the Indian Polo Association,
whose decision shall be final.

Limit of Time and Number of Ponies.

5. The duration of play, and the number of ponies allowed
to be played by teams in a Tournament, shall be decided locally :
provided that the maximum duration of play in any match does
not exceed forty minutes, exclusive of stoppages. Each team to
consist of not more than four players.

Drawing of Ties.

6. In case of the number of competing teams for a Tourna-
ment not being a power of 2, as 4, 8, 16, etc., all byes to be in
the first round. For instance, 13 teams competing, 3 are drawn
as byes ; the remainder play ofi^, leaving 8 to play in the second

List of Ponies and Short Description of Tournaments,

7. The Honorary Secretary of a Tournament will obtain
from the captain of each team at the conclusion of Tournament
a correct list of the ponies played in Tournament by his team.
Printed forms will be supplied by the Honorary Secretary, Indian
Polo Association, for this purpose. The lists, together with a
short description of the Tournament for record in the Calendar,
will be forwarded to the Honorary Secretary, Indian Polo
Association, as soon as possible after the conclusion of the

Ponies allowed to play in a Tournament,

8. No pony without an Indian Polo Association certificate,
or a certificate of measurement fourteen hands one inch or under,
from an authorised measurer of the Association, or from an official
measurer of the Calcutta or Western India Turf Clubs, granted
since ist April 1899, shall be allowed to play in a Tournament,
except when a local measuring is sanctioned.

Registration Fee of Pony holding Racing Certificate.

9. The Honorary Secretary of a Tournament will be respons-
ible that a fee of Rs.2 is collected for each pony with a racing


certificate that has not been previously registered as a polo
pony, before such pony is allowed to play.

Application for a Measuring of Ponies.

10. A measuring of ponies for Indian Polo Association cer-
tificates, by a selected measurer, will be arranged and sanctioned,
when possible, on any date and at any place it may be desired.
Applications for such measurings should be made to the Honorary
Secretary, Indian Polo Association, if possible, one month before
the measuring is required. In the application the number of
ponies for which the measuring is requisitioned should be stated.

Local Measuring.

11. In the case of a Tournament where an Indian Polo
Association measuring cannot be arranged, a local measurer will
be appointed, whose measurements will be accepted for that
Tournament only.

Disqualification of a Team.

12. Any team knowingly playing a pony in a Tournament
that has not been measured and passed in accordance with these
Rules, shall be disqualified for that Tournament.

Fir st-C lass Tournaments.

13. The following are classed as first-class Tournaments : —
The Inter-Regimental Polo Tournament.

The British Infantry „ „

The Native Cavalry „ „

The I.P.A. Championship „

and all Tournaments in which there are no restrictions as to
composition of teams.

Compulsory Membership.

14. All the players in any Tournament played under I.P.A.
Rules must belong to some body which is a Member of the
Association. The entrance fee and annual subscription is so
small that any few players combining to form a team can join
the Association as a member, if they do not severally already
belong to some body which is a member.



Ground, etc.

Si2^ of the Ground.

1. The size of the ground shall be as nearly as possible 300
yards long and 200 yards broad.

Boundary Lines.

2. The four corners shall be marked by flags. The boundary
lines joining the corner flags shall be spitlocked, except between
the goal-posts, and inside the subsidiary goal marks ; those
marking the length of the ground shall be called the side lines ;
those marking the breadth of the ground shall be called the
back lines.

Marking of Side Lines.

3. Small flags shall be placed on each side line to mark
points, which shall be 30 yards from each back line, 50 yards
from each back line, and the centre of each side line (centre

Marking of Back Lines.

4. In the centre of each back line there shall be a goal,
marked by goal-posts, which shall be at least 10 feet high and
22 feet apart. 11 feet from the outside of each goal-post sub-
sidiary goal marks will be shown on the ground by a small white
line, perpendicular to the back line.

Goal Line and Subsidiary Goal Line.

5. The line between the goal-posts shall be called the goal
line. The line between the subsidiary goal mark and the goal-
post nearest to it shall be called the subsidiary goal line. For
matches, the goal line and the subsidiary goal line shall be
marked by a narrow line of whitewash.

Players and Umpires only allowed on the Ground.

6. Each team shall consist of not more than four players.


No person, other than players and umpires, shall come on the
ground while the ball is in play.

The Ball,

7. The ball shall be about ten and a half inches in circum-
ference, and four ounces in weight.

Duration of Play, Periods, and Intervals

Duration of Play,

8. Each match shall last for not more than forty minutes*
actual play, divided into periods of five minutes. Time must be
called, irrespective of the ball being in play, when the game
shall have lasted its specified maximum time.


9. A period will end the first time the ball goes out, after five
minutes' actual play, except that the penalty mentioned in Rule
17 (/), or the penalty for any foul, must be exacted in the same
period in which the breach of rules occurred. Any excess of
time over five minutes, in each period, will be deducted from
the last period, and if the aggregate of such overtime exceeds
five, or ten minutes, from the last period but one, or the last
period but two, as may be found necessary.


10. There shall be an interval of not more than three minutes
between each period, and of one minute after each goal. At the
conclusion of each interval, and otherwise, whenever the ball
goes out of play, the game must be at once re-started as laid
down in Rule 17.

A Match how decided.

11. A match is won by the team that scores the greatest
number of goals, or, in the event of a tie, by the team that scores
the greatest number of subsidiary goals. No number of sub-
sidiary goals will ever equal a true goal. If, at the expiration
of time, each team has scored the same number of goals and
subsidiary goals, the goals shall be widened up to the subsidiary
goal marks, and fresh subsidiary goal marks drawn at the usual


distance outside them. The game shall then be re-started from
the centre of the ground {vide Rule 17 {a)), and play shall be
continued for five minutes. If, at the expiration of this additional
five minutes, the game is no longer a tie, time shall be called,
and the match shall end. But if the game is still a tie, time
shall not be called until the ball goes out of play. The game
shall then be continued, with the usual periods and intervals,
until one side scores, when it shall end, or otherwise, until play
is no longer possible. In the latter case the Local Tournament
Committee will settle whether the match is to be played over
again, or the most equitable way in which a decision shall be
arrived at.

Goal how obtained.

12. A goal is obtained if the ball cross over the back line
between the goal-posts, or, if higher than the goal-posts, between
the goal-posts produced perpendicularly, or, if one or both goal-
posts have been displaced, between the points where the goal-posts
should stand.

Subsidiary Goal how obtained.

13. A subsidiary goal is obtained in the same way as a goal,
except that to score a subsidiary goal the ball must pass between
the subsidiary goal mark and the goal-post which is nearest to it.
After a subsidiary goal the ball shall be hit off in accordance
with Rule 17 {/) or (/).

Goals obtained by Unfair Flay,

14. No goals or subsidiary goals shall be counted which have
been obtained by unfair play. Any infringement of the Rules
constitutes unfair play.

Choice and Change of Goals.

15. Sides shall toss for choice of goals. With regard to the
change of goals in the case of no goals being scored, when half-
time would fall in the middle of a period, the first time the ball
goes out of play, after half the time allotted for the total periods
of play shall have expired, goals shall be changed and the game
re-started as directed in par. (tf) Rule 17, Rules of the Game of


Polo, provided that any penalty due is first exacted. But after
the first goal, goals shall only be changed after each goal obtained.

Local Committee and Stopping Game.

1 6. If a game has to be stopped from any cause, for any length
of time, before the full time of play has been completed, the
Local Committee shall decide when the game shall be resumed.

Bringing the Ball into Play
Starting and Re-starting Game.

17. The umpires shall have the power of ordering play to
begin, after the time fixed, notwithstanding the absence of any

{a) To start the game, and after each change of goals, the
ball shall be brought into play between the centre flags,
by one of the umpires (who will remain mounted) bowl-
ing the ball underhand along the ground, close to his
pony, as hard as possible, at right angles to the side line
towards the centre of the ground between the two sides,
who will range themselves opposite to each other, no
player to be closer to the umpire than ten yards. The
umpire will bring the ball into play, from a point about
eighty yards from the side line, and always from the
same side of the ground.

{b) The same procedure will be adopted in the case of a
broken ball or an accident, but in these cases the ball
will be brought into play outwards from the centre^ at the
spot where the ball was broken, or the accident occurred.

(f) When the ball goes out at the side the ball shall be thrown
in at once at the spot where it went out, either by the
umpire in the manner detailed above, or by any one on
foot deputed by him to do so, who will bowl it in
underhand, no player to be within ten yards of the line.
The umpire will not wait for both sides to form up.

{d) To re-start the game after a foul has been given, the
penalty for that foul will be carried out.


{e) When the ball is hit behind the adversary's back line by
one of the attacking side the goal-referee will place the
ball on a spot as near as possible to that at which it
crossed the line, but behind it. The umpires will see
that the ball is hit off by one of the defending side
without delay, and that none of the attacking side
approach within thirty yards of the back line up to the
moment it is hit off. At the commencement of a new
period, should none of the defending side be at the spot
where the ball went behind, ready to hit off, it is the
duty of the goal-referee at once to bowl in the ball
underhand, at the spot, at right angles to the back line,
as hard as possible. And in this case the penalty for
an offside shall not be claimed against the attacking side
should no one of the defending side be between them
and the back line.

(/) W^lien the ball is hit with a stick behind the back line
by one of the defending side, one of that side shall hit
it off from behind the goal line, between the goal-posts.
All the players of the defending side shall stand behind
the back line, not outside the subsidiary goal marks on
each side ; none of the attacking side to be within
thirty yards of the back line in each case, until the ball
is hit off across the back line. The penalty will not be
exacted should the ball go behind by reason of glance
off a pony or player.

Ba// In and Out of Play.

18. The ball shall be considered to be in play whenever it
has been hit off across the back line ; or in the case of a penalty
other than a hit off from behind, whenever it has been struck, or
struck at, with the intention of hitting off, or whenever it has
been thrown in, unless immediately recalled by the umpire.
The ball is out of play if it goes over and clear of the side or
back line {vide Rule 35), or if these lines are marked by a
trench, into that trench.


Ordinary Fouls.

Dismounted Player.

19. No dismounted player shall be allowed in any way to
take part in the game while dismounted.

Left-handed Play and Catching the Ball.

20. A player must not play left-handed. If any player catch
the ball in any way during the game, it must be dropped on the
ground at once.

Reviving the Ball.

21. The ball must be revived whenever the ball goes out of
play, with the least possible delay. If unnecessary delay occurs,
the umpire will either revive the ball himself in the necessary
direction, or give a foul against the offending side {vide Rule


Crooking or Stopping Sticks.

22. No player shall crook or stop an adversary's stick, except
when the latter is about to strike the ball, and unless he is on
the same side of the adversary's pony as the ball, or immediately

Rough Play.

23. No player shall seize with the hand, strike, or push with
the head, elbow, hand, stick, or whip, another player or pony ;
but a player may push with his arm above the elbow, provided
the elbow be kept close to his side. A player who, after being once
warned by the umpire, continues to play roughly, renders him-
self liable to be ordered off the ground for *' unfair play " under
Rule 38 (a).

24. No player shall intentionally strike his pony with the
head of his polo stick.


25. Whips may be used, but the length of a whip must not
exceed 3 feet 6 inches.

No Player to Interfere when Offside.

26. No player when "offside" shall be allowed to hit the


ball, or shall in any way prevent the opposite side from reaching
or hitting the ball, or in any way interfere in the game, inten-
tionally or otherwise.

Definition of Offside.

27. A player is offside when, at the time of the ball being
hit, he has no adversary nearer than he is to such adversary's
back line or behind that line, and he is neither in possession of
the ball nor behind one of his own side who is in possession of
the ball. " He shall be deemed to remain offside until he is, ist, in
the position of an onside player ; " 2nd, ''^ until the ball is hit or hit
at again y

Dangerous Fouls.

Definition of Possession of the Ball.

28. The player who last hit the ball, if still following the line
of the ball., remains in possession of the ball, so long as he can, ^z/
the pace at which he is moving, reach the ball again before any
other player, and the possession of the ball only passes to another
player when that other player —

(tf) is riding on a line closer and more nearly parallel to the line
on which the ball is travelling than the original striker ;

{b) places himself on the line of the ball without causing the
original striker to check to avoid a collision ;

(r) fairly "rides off" (Rule 30) the original striker.


29. One player crosses another player —

(<?) Who, when not entitled to possession of the ball (as defined
in Rule 28), crosses the line on which the ball is travel-
ling, or that line produced, and thereby collides with
the player in possession of the ball, or causes the latter
to check to avoid collision.

(^) Who, when in possession of the ball, turns on the ball
except at such a distance as to obviate any chance of
collision with another player riding on the line, pro-


duced either way, on which the ball is or has been

(r) Who, when two players {neither entitled to possession) start
from different directions to try and obtain possession of
the ball, does not give way to the other player of the two,
who is moving on a line more nearly parallel to that on
which the ball is or has been travelling.

JV.5. — In no case can a player be made to pay the penalty
for a cross who is so ridden off as to be forced across
the line of a player who is in possession of the ball.
In this case the player who causes the danger is to blame.

Fair Riding.

30. A player shall be considered to ride off fairly when,
having placed himself abreast of an adversary (after following a
line of direction as nearly as possible parallel to that in which
his adversary is moving), he gradually forces him from, or pre-
vents his continuing in, the direction in which he is riding.

Dangerous Riding.

31. Riding into an adversary in any other way than as defined
in Rule 28, or placing a stick in a dangerous manner over or
under the body or across the legs of an adversary's pony, con-
stitutes dangerous riding. A player, however, who deliberately
rides his pony up to an adversary who is in possession of, and
striking at, the ball ; or who deliberately rides his pony over the
ball to prevent an adversary striking at it, does so at his own risk.

Penalty for an '•''Ordinary Foul.^^

32. The penalty for an "ordinary foul," i.e. for any infringe-
ment of Rules 19 to 27, is either —

(/) A free hit from where the ball was when the foul occurred,
none of the side causing the foul to come within ten
yards of the ball till it has been hit or hit at.


(//) The side causing the foul to take the ball back and hit
it off from behind their own back line, as in Rule 17 (/).

The side which is not the offending one has the choice of

Penalty for a ^^ Dangerous FouL^^

33. The penalty for a "dangerous foul," i.e, for crossing or
dangerous riding, is as follows : —

A free hit from a spot fifty yards from the back line of the
side causing the foul, opposite the centre of the goal, or, if
preferred, from where the foul occurred ; all the side
causing the foul to be behind the back line until the
ball is hit or hit at, but not between the goal-posts, nor
when the ball is brought into play may any of that side
ride out from between the goal-posts ; none of the other
side to be nearer the back line than the ball is at the
moment the ball is hit or hit at.

Time allowed for a Penalty.
33 {a). "If a penalty for an ordinary or dangerous foul is
awarded within fifteen seconds of final time being called, then
fifteen seconds shall be allowed from the time the ball is hit or
hit at until final time is called."

Umpires, etc.

Umpire Staff,

34. Two umpires, four goal-referees, a time-keeper, and a
scorer shall be nominated for each match. The umpires and
goal-referees shall each be provided with a whistle. Each pair
of goal-referees shall in addition be provided with a coloured
flag for signalling goals, and a white flag for signalling subsidiary
goals. The time-keeper shall be provided with a stop-watch.

The Whistle.

35. Umpires and goal-referees will blow a whistle whenever
the ball is out of play, as a signal that the game must be stopped.
The whistle must never be blown to show that the ball is
brought into play.


Qualifications of Umpires.

36. Umpires must be regular polo players, and must possess
a thorough knowledge of the rules of the game. They must be
mounted on well-trained and fast ponies, so as to be able to ride
near enough to the ball to give a decision at any moment, and
yet not to interfere with the players. Their decision is final on
all questions arising out of the actual play of the game, as well
as on questions declared by these Rules to be subject to their
final decision.

Duties of Umpires in Stopping the Game.

37. It shall be the duty of umpires to stop the game when —
{a) the ball is sufficiently damaged to interfere with the game ;
(^) the ball is not brought properly into play ;

(f) the ball crosses the side line ;

(^) they see, whether appealed to or not, any infringement
of these Rules constituting an " ordinary foul " or a
*' dangerous foul " ;

{e) any fall or accident, involving danger, occurs.

Duties of Umpires as to Dangerous Players and Ponies.

38. It shall be the duty of the umpires to order off the ground —

(tf) any player who deliberately plays unfairly or rides danger-
ously, and he shall not be replaced ;

{J>) any pony, which they may consider dangerous or impro-
perly bitted, or which the rider has not under thorough

Duties of Umpires as to Reviving the Ball, etc.

39. It is the duty of umpires —

{a) to see that no delay occurs in reviving the ball under
Rule 17 {d), {e), and (/), {vide Rule 21) ;

{b) to order any player to take off his spurs, or to use spurs
without rowels, who, in their opinion, is ill-treating
his pony.


Duties of Goal" Referees.

40. Goal-referees shall blow the whistle the moment the
ball crosses the back line at any point. They are the judges of
the goals and subsidiaries ; but if at any time they are in doubt
the umpires must be consulted. In the case of a goal, or a sub-
sidiary goal, they will at once signal to the scorer, and see that
the signal is answered. Their duties as to re-starting the game
are explained in Rule 17 {e).

Duties of Time-keeper.

41. The time-keeper is responsible that a bell is rung, or a
bugle sounded, at the conclusion of each period and interval.
He will stop his watch whenever the whistle is blown. No
time shall be counted while the ball is out of play.


1. Umpires should endeavour to place themselves in the
most advantageous place for seeing the game, and apportioning
the work. One on each side of the play, level generally with
the back, will be found the best place as a rule for attaining
this end.

2. By dividing the ground in two, both lengthways and
breadthways, each umpire can take one back line and one side

3. There is a tendency on the part of umpires, from natural
causes, to watch only the play in the immediate vicinity of the
ball. For this reason much unfair riding by No. I's, when in
reality offside, escapes their attention. This may be obviated
by each umpire keeping under special observation the four
players who happen to be, at any given time, nearest to his own
back line.

4. Umpires should have new balls in their pockets, with
which to re-start the game at once, if the ball goes out of play.
An umpire will find it easy to bowl in correctly if he puts his
horse in motion in the direction he wishes to bowl the ball.


5. They, and goal-referees, should blow their whistles loud
enough for the time-keeper to hear. This point is sometimes

6. They should make up their minds, and give their decisions
clearly and firmly, refusing to enter into any discussion as to
the why or wherefore of their decisions.

7. Either umpire should, whether appealed to or not, stop
the game if he sees a foul, and award a penalty, although it may
have happened on the side of the game away from him. But he
should use his discretion in not adjudging a foul if the other
umpire, nearest to the incident and in full view, has evidently
taken no objection.

8. They must bear in mind that if they do not order off the
ground any dangerous or unmanageable pony, they more or less
make themselves responsible for any accident that may occur
through that pony. The same applies in the case of a player
riding dangerously, and repeating the offence after being warned.
It is their first and most imperative duty to stop dangerous and
unfair play of any sort or kind.

9. The special attention of umpires is drawn to the following :

{a) As crosses frequently occur in the meeting of the ball
when hit out from the back line, the nearest umpire
should place himself on the line of the ball, produced
in either direction.

{6) When a player is pursuing an adversary with intent to
hook his stick, the umpire should see that when he does
so he is on the same side as the ball, or immediately
behind. This particular breach of rules often occurs

Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Francis) DalePolo past and present → online text (page 28 of 33)