Junior all-star Ashley Cooper to represent three generations of polocrosse royalty at Greenough carnival

Geraldton Guardian
Ashley Cooper, 16, and Tinker.
Camera IconAshley Cooper, 16, and Tinker. Credit: Reuben Carder/Geraldton Guardian

When Ashley Cooper rides out on to the Walkaway fields this weekend for the region’s biggest polocrosse event, three generations of playing royalty will be behind her.

Ashley, 16, is an Australian junior all-star, while her mum, Jane Marriott, is a former Australian captain and will be leading the Mid West women’s team as the zone carnival runs over both days of the weekend.

The latest in the long line of talent and the third generation of internationals in her family, Ashley has been on horseback since a young age, and plays local A-grade open polocrosse against mostly men — experience that has drawn the eye of national selectors.

“Ashley is a third-generation polocrosse player for Australia,” Marriott said.

“She has played since she was three years old.

“She had a pony from 18 months old.”

She said Ashley graduated to a 15-hand horse by age three and had not looked back.

Marriott said the connection to the game went even further back. She said Ashley’s great-grandparents were some of the founding members of polocrosse in Kojonup.

Ashley’s grandparents moved to a cattle property north of Wiluna before coming to Geraldton in the 1980s, where there was an established polocrosse scene.

Ashley’s grandfather, John Marriott, was also an Australian national polocrosse captain.

The Polocrosse Association of Australia announced Ashley in the junior all-stars team earlier this month, completing the third generation of international honours.

Ashley’s dad, Trent Cooper, will be Mid West men’s captain.

The zone carnival, hosted by Greenough Polocrosse Club, will attract top polocrosse players to the region.

Club secretary Erin Cole said spectators would enjoy fast-paced action, with players performing in front of selectors for national competition.

The carnival features riders from the Central and Southern zones competing against Mid West riders to close out the local season before polocrosse moves south.

“(The clubs) send up their best men’s, women’s, intermediate and junior players,” Cole said.

“We have clubs from Kojonup, Capel, Perth, and all of the Mid West.

The event, on Saturday and Sunday at the Walkaway polocrosse grounds, will also be a celebration of the Greenough club’s 21st anniversary.

A total of 36 teams will compete, 15 from the Mid West, with six riders on each team.

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