For two weeks in Guildford, Surrey, English Lacrosse hosted the Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup, 25 nations attended, USA beat Canada in the final and England beat Australia for the bronze (in sudden death overtime having been 4 goals down at one stage).
For Bath, Nik Roberts, as part of his ELA duties was on site from Sunday the 9th right the way through to Sunday the 23rd July. The days for the staff were long but totally enjoyable, to see new countries do well, some countries surprise (Italy and Israel for instance) was fantastic, many new friends made etc etc
Aside from putting goals up, banging in poles for catch nets and general labour tasks, Nik was also given one of the announcer jobs on Pitch 2. This involved not only putting out messages and announcing the National Anthems, but introducing every player and official, which gave some interesting tongue twisters, particularly Dutch, Korean, Latvian and Chinese; even some of the “English” names proved a tad interesting.
From Bath’s point of view there was quite a bit of interest around, old players were present, some famous names and names some older Bath players would remember came out of the woodwork.
Being Pitch side, Nik managed to get some interesting photos, which are now in the album on the Bath Lacrosse facebook page (including the after parties, which went well into the wee small hours)
The USA won the whole thing, undefeated (untroubled) most of the tournament was in blazing sunshine, but the final was torential rain, nobody managed to stay dry, not even the US deputy Ambassador
Before people arrived the work in the background created a fantasic venue at the University of Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, 4 main pitches, one with a large stand, three full practice pitches for the tournament teams and 5 Festival pitches (3 ASTRO). A “fanfest” with vendors and catering both for fans and athletes, accommodation for 20 teams, volunteers and officials. Pretty big especially for little old Lacrosse
Security was particularly high at the event, The Princess Royal came for the Opening Ceremony in her Helicopter, met a bunch of VIPs and the teams in the background waiting to come onto the pitch, the Duke of Kent dropped by one day and team Israel even had a couple of their own “guards” in attendance, just in case.
Announcing on Pitch 2 was pretty cool, although watching Lacrosse like a hawk, calling each goal scorer and assist plus the time on the clock, introducing every player on every team plus the Umpires and making sure the National Anthems were correct was pretty stressfull. A small competition started between Pitches 2/3/4 for which announcer could say Gooooaaaaallllllll the longest, there were some pretty good atempts. The players were appreciative of all the attempts to pronounce the names correctly, and one or two names had to be said extremely carefully – Fulkes and Fuikihito plus Minji Kim to name but a few.
There were some interesting pre match traditions, the best being the NZBlax team who performed their own Haka before each game, its believed they’re one of the few womens international teams to do this. The Welsh and the Irish sang their National Anthems without music and for one game the Germans had a solo trumpet player, The Haudenosaunee had a swaying thing going on during their Anthem, which was the longest, and the Italians kept on changing theirs, adding 18 seconds in the end.
For the VIPs in the nice dry tent (which included in this case all ELA staff) there was always the games live on TV. All the games were streamed live in one way or another, but the quarter finals onwards were picked up by BBC on line, and they did a fantastic job, the big screen in the corner of the field was a huge bonus to the fans, and the ability to show replays in slow mo certainly helped the watcher. The Bronze win was seen by millions world wide and made the top three on the BBC web site, its worth checking out the commentary on the winning England goal. For those old enough to know the name, Gary Gait was there as assistant coach to team Canada, his daughter Taylor Gait (which must be linked to beer in car parks) made the team.
Talking of Daughters, this is Cheyenne Burnam for the Haudenosaunee, her dad Scott Burnham was and LDO back in the Eighties and spent some time with the Bath Men’s team, particularly on tour in Manchester.
Another link to Bath, Jen Cohen, the SCO at St Mary’s Calne and Marlborough played several times for Bath, now at University in Edinburgh, Jen was at the World Cup as one of the Scottish coaches.
Rathbones, the tournament main sponsor also arranged for Bath’s very own Writhlington Schools Lacrosse players to go to the tournament and watch some games. Bath has been running an after school club at the Radstock school for several years, and they have put a girls U12 team into the National Schools tournament for the last two years running.
And a big congratulations to Ruby Smith – Ex Bath University and Bath LC, played defence for England and came away with a Bronze medal.
This event was huge, there was a massive festival with many international teams running alongside the main event, it may be sometime before Lacrosse sees one this big again, the logistics were impressive