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HMSG well-represented at U19 Lacrosse World ChampionshipsSeptember 17th, 2015
A busy summer of international lacrosse saw the quadrennial U19 World Championships take place in Edinburgh. Following an arduous 15 month selection process 2 HMSG 1st XII players were selected to represent Wales; Arianna and Alexandrea, with PE teacher Miss Scott managing the team and 1st XII captain Emanuella taking on the role of assistant manager following knee-surgery.
Scotland provided the weather we had all expected with each day rotating through the three key seasons (after a fortnight we concluded that summer had officially been removed from Edinburgh’s seasonal repertoire). The rest of the world provided the tough competition we had all anticipated with Wales competing in the Championship pool against the USA, Australia, Canada and England. Wins against Japan and Germany in pre-tournament friendlies had motivated the players and despite negative score lines the team focused on their individual game aims and began to gain serious momentum. A key highlight being holding Canada, eventual U19 World Champions to a tight first half and 3-12 overall finish. This was no mean feat when you consider most of the Canadian players are full-time college athletes!
Our first cross-over game was against a strong New Zealand side. An incredibly tense game saw Wales come up trumps and Arianna take the MVP prize after a truly phenomenal performance. We entered the quarter-finals drawn against England and despite an excellent performance we could not overturn a brilliant side (who were buzzing from their own success in earlier play which saw them take both Canada and Australia in to overtime). Disappointed but not dejected we found ourselves in the unenviable position of having to play New Zealand again in the competition to decide final placings. Spurred on by the previous loss New Zealand stepped up a level leaving Wales unable to respond and taking the game 5-8.
This left Wales in the 7th – 8th play-off against Scotland. Having beaten Wales for the first time in a very long time back in March Scotland were keen to maintain this winning streak and during the first half looked like the might do so. A stern half time pep talk revitalised Wales to take 7th place with a 14-12 win. Not the finish we had entered the tournament hoping for but a pleasing outcome!
Alex and Arianna both performed exceptionally well and were a credit to their school and their nation! In addition, as a result of her performance Arianna was offered a scholarship to the University of Delaware by a college scout who had been watching her play.
A sister event ran alongside the World Championship and 4 HMSG players were selected to represent Wales at the U17 World Festival. Laura, Annabel, Madison and Harriet gained plenty of experience playing teams from across the globe and are looking forward to representing Wales at the Home Internationals next March.
Huge thanks must go to Mrs Norgrove, Mr Jones and their departments for loaning Wales the school minibuses (which made us very popular with many of the other teams when it started to rain! Which it did. A lot.) and assisting with facilities and accommodation provision throughout the squads preparation period. To Mrs Clayton and Mrs Marks who travelled up to watch the finals and act as relief drivers. Mention must also go to Old Girl Clare Stoot (1966-76) who despite having spent time as the President of the English Lacrosse Association was spotted on the sidelines supporting Wales and ex-staff member Margaret Turner (1978-84) and Patron of the Welsh Lacrosse Association who was not only an inspiration to the players but an absolute stalwart in the stands!