E News June 2014

It’s been a busy month for me in the South. I’ve been involved with three Centurion events – The Centurion South Sixes, our AGM, and the House of Lord’s Dinner, as well as acting as Referee in Chief at BluesFest2014. Lacrosse is itself very busy as the England, Scotland, and Wales teams, referees, and supporters leave for the World Series in Denver, and preparations begin for the 2018 Men’s World Championship to be held in Manchester.

BluesFest 2014

BluesFest is a symbol of just how much progress we are making in lacrosse. It is the largest lacrosse festival in Europe and had:

  • 40 teams - 12 ladies and 28 mens playing over two days.
  • 32 officials – umpires and referees from Poland, Holland and the US as well as from the UK.
  • An amazing campsite where music plays ‘til dawn.
  • 8 pitches with games played back to back.
  • £4,000 worth of portable loo facilities.
  • 1,500 hamburgers consumed.
  • Teams with names such as Vatican City, Sgt. Peppers, and the modest Birmingham Sex Panthers.
  • 1,000 players, coaches, officials, and supporters enjoying lacrosse.

The teams mainly come from the universities, many of whom started with a little help from The Centurions. Standards vary, some players having just started but the Final was as good a lacrosse game as you’d see anywhere. It was half an hour of fast furious lacrosse.

One student ref having just passed his basic award enjoyed a great learning experience refing with those off to ref the Blue Division in Denver.

It’s not that long ago that no one would have dreamed we could get so many young people together playing lacrosse.

The Centurion South Sixes

By some standards it was a nightmare. If it could go wrong, this year it did! Reading’s pitches were declared unfit late on Friday so, thanks to Reading’s efforts, the event was moved to a nearby astro pitch on the Saturday morning. Three sixes pitches straddling on one astro pitch. It rained.

But we had more entries than for many years, everyone had fun, and income was nearly doubled with all takings being donated to support SEMLA development.

A great day out in the wind and rain!


A new committee and officers were elected:

President: Ron Balls
Secretary: Rob Collinge
Treasurer: Neil Forsyth
Committee: Clive Beaumont, Amit Biswas, Dennis Hanks, John Maynard, David Marsden, Peter Mundy, Roger Okill, David Slaughter, Goeffrey Wilkinson, and Steve Williams.
Northern Committee: David Marsden, Tony Dyer, Ken Haves, and Tony Pugh.

The new Bye Laws previously circulated were approved.

Our success in developing university lacrosse has left few opportunities to grow lacrosse in this area and caused us to look at our role. We brought in a new £10 sub for those under 25 and will be trying to move our membership down the age range. Some of our other thoughts were:

  • To continue to support new club and university sides.
  • To support the expansion of the number of teams at university clubs.
  • To organise social events to engage with the membership eg. Golf days, lunches, canal trips.
  • To support the training of referees and coaches in the universities.
  • To look for opportunities to develop school lacrosse.
  • To support veterans lacrosse.
  • To provide a process for new graduates leaving university to continue in the game.

Any input from members on what you’d like to see us doing would be very welcome.

House of Lord’s Dinner

It was a very pleasant evening with 75 Centurions and guests enjoying the Lord’s bar, a tour of the Palace of Westminster, and dinner in the Lord’s Dinning Room. Our President, Ron Balls, set out his thinking on moving the club forward. Ray Nash regaled us with tales of how school tours had developed over the years from when he was schoolboy until his retirement. Sue Redfern, Chair of the Board of the English Lacrosse Association, then set out her thinking of our sport’s future. And so to bed.

World Championships 2014 Denver

On 10th July 38 nations will gather in Denver for the World Championships. More countries playing lacrosse than ever with the new comers including the first African country – Uganda as well as Belgium, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey. It will be very interesting to see how the game has been developing in all these places over the last four years.

World Championships 2018 Manchester

Manchester has been awarded the 2018 World championships. There are extensive plans to work with Manchester Council, Sport England, and the University to develop the University sports facilities into a world class venue.

Already the first Manchester Tournament sponsored by the City Council has been held to see off the England team as they left for Canada. The idea is to use the coming championship to build a legacy for lacrosse across the UK using a four year programme of events culminating in the Championship.

Maybe The Centurions can get involved.

High Peak Canal Trip

The canal trip organised by the Northern Committee on the High Peak Canal has filled well. It’s on Saturday 12th July starting from Whalley Bridge. I understand that we still have room for half a dozen more revellers to join a pretty full the boat. So if anyone else wants to join us do let me know.