IT‘s been two years in the making, but it’s safe to say the FIL World Lacrosse Festival has been a huge success.
It’s the first time that a festival of this sort has ran alongside the World Championships and 48 teams from across the globe, including USA, Canada and Japan have lined up against local teams to compete in the tournament.
Clubs and touring sides have been given the opportunity to play competitive matches within their own divisions including U16’s boys, U19’s boy’s, elite, masters 35+, a grand masters 45+, a super grand masters for 55+ as well as a ladies division.
The fixtures played in the main Championships have provided much inspiration for the festival teams, making the games both competitive and exciting.
For the young teams in particular, to play at the same venue as some of their lacrosse heroes who are competing in the World championships has been a once in a life time opportunity.
For some competitors in the American U16 teams, it is the first time that they have traveled abroad, so the whole experience has been made all the more exciting by visiting Manchester.
It’s been the first opportunity in a long time that squads such as England Lions who play in the Grand Masters division, have been able to play against people of a similar age.
Danny Buckland who plays for England Lions is relishing the chance to play competitive lacrosse again, he said:
“There is a real festival spirit, a love of the game atmosphere. Everyone is so happy to be playing lacrosse, and are making the most of playing teams from all over the World.
“It’s also provided a great opportunity to meet up with people that I haven’t seen in years. It really is an opportunity of a lifetime.’
The festival has also really benefited the sport by spreading the word of Lacrosse.
For the festival Japanese team this is the first time that they have put a team together. Similarly, Lake Oswego, based in Oregon on the West Coast of the USA, is a region where lacrosse is not renowned for being popular, but 120 players turned up for trials and organisers had a hard task of whittling down the numbers.
Some teams are enjoying both the competitive and community atmosphere of the festival. The Wild Rose Brewery team haven’t done so well within their catagory but they have had a fantastic experience and made lots of new friends.
Tim Holdsworth from English Lacrosse has been planning the festival for 2 years and is deservingly happy with how the event has unfolded.
“I definitely think the festival has been a success. The teams are really happy to be here and everyone is genuinely having a good time.
“It is a small sport but the turn out has been brilliant. The ELA have some thing in the pipeline for a yearly festival, I think the teams have enjoyed it so they have the capacity to put on another.”FIL World Lacrosse Festival Finals
U16 Boys – Mimico 13–11 Lake Oswego
U19 Boys – Harvard Sports 7 – 8 USA West
Elite Open – USA All Stars 13–10 Gin & Juice
Ladies – Ex Pats 12–10 JNGLA