E News July 2013
Change at the top
Peter Mundy and I stood at The Blues’ Clockhouse clubhouse looking over eight lacrosse pitches surrounded by players from 25 men’s and 14 women’s teams – as well as 30 umpires and referees. Around 1,000 lacrosse participants enjoying the two day BluesFest lacrosse festival. Peter commented that he never thought that he would ever attend a lacrosse event where he knew so few people. It’s a great tribute to his tireless efforts over the year’s that lacrosse has grown so much in recent years.
Peter reached the end of his three year term as President of the club at this year’s AGM. He will, of course, remain a committee member and continue decades of work to develop lacrosse.
Ron Balls was elected as our new President. Ron’s work over the years for SEMLA, the ELA, the ELU, and the ILF is well known to you all. I’m sure our good work will continue to prosper.
Clive Beaumont, Hampstead and England joins the committee bring new ideas on the way forward.
It’s probably the time to review where we go now that nearly all the universities participate in lacrosse.
Geof Fox has been helping us to support the continued expansion of West Country lacrosse. I thought you’d be interested in his comments on how things are going down in the West.
"I met earlier today with three officers of the Exeter University Lacrosse Club – the present Club Captain, Rex Carter, and next year’s Men’s and Women’s Captains. To have organised that on the first day of full term was rather impressive in itself.
The present club, comprising both men and women, numbers some 380 members, which is astonishing to one who played in an Oxford club fifty years ago which could just about scrape two twelve a side teams and had no contact with the Women’s club (or rather, they preferred no contact with us).
The Men’s side of thing successfully launched a second team this last season and there is a thriving inter-mural mixed lacrosse scene also.
At present, through the Student Volunteer Service (not obligatory, of course) one specific member and other helpers go out every term-time week into four local schools – the group I was speaking with did not have all the details of that, but I offered to help there myself and they will put me in touch with that area of work. This is NOT the area at all for which they are seeking support, since the schools they go into already have pop lacrosse sticks and equipment.
So what they want help with is a project for people aged 14+ in and around the city of Exeter. As you said, Rob, they are hoping for two Rage Cage goals and a set of mixed lacrosse sticks (you mentioned 25 sticks but their hope is for 30 – I didn’t mention this discrepancy at all). I know Rex is in touch with you and he has also spoken with Peter Mundy.
They have now secured adequate storage for the sticks and goals in a shed up on the sports field close to where they train and close to the Sports Hall. This is locked and only four or five people have the combination. The sticks would be kept within the shed in a large box (coffin shaped!) with yet more locks.
We spoke about the structure of the project which hopes to develop an Exeter club. They have appointed one of their members as a ‘secretary’ (not paid, of course) with sole focus on the new venture. They have been talking with Helen Murray who is a recent ex member of the Exeter Club who until this year still lived in Exeter. However, she has recently become the ELA regional development officer and is moving to Bath, which is in fact the best part of two hours’ drive away. Their idea is that Helen sees to the advertising, notices in local papers, articles etc prior to mounting a kind of drop-in event in some central public space (several club members there to help). There could be a demonstration game as well as the opportunity to ‘taste’ the game, for both men and women, since they are clear that they want to develop a mixed club, not just a men’s club. If they could establish such a session, they would charge a couple of £s per session for participants. They would also provide something by way of refreshments etc.
They do generate their own funds since they have social events every Wednesday evening for their club with its large membership.
I think they are wanting mainly to focus on late teenagers rather than older people. I think I should have spoken to them about Exeter College, which is a highly successful FE College (gained more ‘Outstandings’ than any other in the country at the last Ofsted). My wife was Vice Principal there and I still have some contacts. I’ll write to Rex about this shortly.
Their idea is that if they could get a club going, it should enter SEMLA and thus have fixtures etc (some way down the road). I do wonder about this myself, since it is one thing for University students, often with financial assistance from the uni, to travel all over the country playing games, but local people often have neither the time nor money to do this – and have domestic commitments which make giving up whole Saturdays etc difficult. I did say that if I were an Exeter City Councillor with the purse strings for funding sports, one of my first questions would be, ‘Well who would they play against?’ but to be fair, if you get stuck on that one, lacrosse will never develop in outlying regions such as ours. In the early days, the Uni club would provide just a few players to any city team to guide them along."
SELE School in Hertford recently organised a half day session with their local MP - Mark Prisk – to show what they are doing with lacrosse using the shiny new kit that the Centurions provided. England ladies rugby vice-captain – Maggie Alphonsie - also attended the session from Sky. A great display by the school was followed by the youngsters coaching our celebrity guests and my first return to goalkeeping for about 30 years. Happily the coaching was better than the goal keeping and both the guests scored.
The pupils than gave talk on there programme to work with their feeder primary schools were they go out coaching lacrosse.
It was a wonderful advert for the game.
Even though it’s summer things are still moving in the universities. Ian Ballantine is coaching a major move forward at Surrey University. Although a venue for elite lacrosse, until recently no lacrosse was played there. This year’s success at the mixed game has resulted in funding being provided by the university with a ladies’ side entering BUCS next season and the men preparing for entry the year after.