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> Home / Archive: June 2009

One of the big calendar events for Primary kids is the National Pop tournament, where Primary (elementary) Schools from all over the nation (including Scotland and Wales)enter local and regional competitions in order to qualify for the National Final.

For the staff it’s a long day, usually early start, set up and take down, plus refereeing what is the most frantic paced game of Lacrosse you’ll ever see.

The game is played with the molded plastic stick and a soft ball is used. Teams are 5 a side (must have boys and girls) and the ball can only be carried for 4 seconds. No keepers and small 3 by 3 goals makes it high scoring and exciting.

This year was the 20th National Pop final and the winners were Hale Preparatory School from Cheshire.

On another note the New Zealand girls took on Scotland and lost 18 to nil, then the Scots took on Australia and lost 22 to nil.

Let’s hope the teams were experimental (unless your Australian of course, in which case watch out the worlds in Prague).

Part of the job in the South is attending some of the big games that come up every now and then, great gig.   It also gives the opportunity you network with a lot of people all at once. Plus the English Lacrosse Ass had it’s AGM just before the game, any excuse.

Cobham Lacrosse club are a new junior girls club out of West side of London, and they are part of a great sports facility based around the Rugby club, really nice facilities and excellent playing fields.

So it was a natural place to hold a warm up game for England and Australia, both in their last throws of preparation for the World Cup in Prague. Of course, it will be slightly more difficult for Australia to make any changes to personnel if they’ve got something wrong.

One thing Cobham managed is to attract a good sized crowd to the game, with 1100 plus tickets sold, a triumph in an area where Lacrosse isn’t that well known.

With sponsors and merchants all around the whole site looked great, the atmosphere fantastic and the weather sunny the beer “just” right, what more could anybody want.

The game itself was interesting, England raced into a 4 to 0 lead only to be gradually pegged back by a more settled Australian team. England though played to their strengths scoring on fast breaks whenever Australia lost the ball. The final score of 8:6 was a good one for England, after all Australia are the current world champions. But if one analyses the game the England goalie with at least 4 saves  was a big factor, plus I saw the pipe hit 3 times. The actual world cup games will be interesting.

The game was also watched by the New Zealand team who are being hosted by Reading Lacrosse Club, they will play a few friendlies (one against Scotland) before going over to main land Europe.

This weekend sees the National Pop Lacrosse tournament in Hertfordshire, 20 Primary Schools (Elementary to the US readers) with reams of eight 11 yr olds trying to become National Champions, It’s fast furious and exciting. I love it. For the staff it’s a 6 am start on a Sunday morning, someone tell me what a lie in is.

Recruit, Recruit,  Recruit

Wow, the season’s over like it seems only yesterday and we’re already preparing for the next one.

For the English Lacrosse staff that means interviewing potential coaches to go into the Local Development Officer  (LDO) and School Community Officer  (SCO) Scheme. So two weeks of flat out interviewing in Baltimore was the order of the day (taking in the final four weekend of course). I must say, the standard of applicants from the US this year is outstanding, lots of coaching and lots of teaching experience, coupled with a good playing ability.

For those not in the know, the LDO program has been running since 1983 (the SCO about 10 years ago) when it was decided that the game in England needed a push, what better way than to bring in outside expertise.

Now 26 years later we bring in over 80 coaches, we place them at clubs and large (mainly boarding) schools. The contracts are for a year, and this crop of coaches will have the extra incentive of a major tournament at the end of the season (yes the World Cup in Manchester is now one season away). Of course a lot of the work is making sure the right coach fits the right program, and that’s what June is all about, we’ve looked at the coaches, time to fit square pegs into not so square holes. Given that the majority of the SCO’s are in the South of England, that means lots of miles and telephone conversations for yours truly.

On the South domestic front Lacrosse is now in tournament mode and the domestic closing tournament “Bluesfest 09” was this weekend This is a two day camp over affair and extremely popular, the tent village goes up on the Friday, and the partying starts, lots of Lacrosse (Men’s and Women’s) on the Saturday, live band in the evening, more lacrosse on the Sunday…job done. With well over 400 players staying over (including the referees) it’s a mammoth job for the host club Walcountian Blues, and they should be congratulated for getting it all to run so smoothly. The Men’s final was between the Northern guest team called Jedi Lacrosse and the LDO team (not sure of the name, might have been SOCO and Lime, without the lime). The Women’s was between Croydon Foxes and the SCO team called Gin and Juice, there is definitely a theme being used by the Americans.

This week sees the Australian Women play England at Cobham Lacrosse club (near London) before both teams go on to Prague to compete in the World Cup, a real coup for a new and upcoming club, 1100 tickets sold is a great achievement in an area not known for lacrosse.

On the update side, in case you’ve actually read my other Blogs, Mike Carey (bad leg, remember) is well on the mend, the wounds have all but healed (fantastic scars) and he’s starting to jog, although he won’t be fully mobile, he still intends to attend two US camps this summer, the firs being at Navy, brave or mad….you decide.

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