On Saturday, May 30, Vanbrugh triumphed in the first College one-day lacrosse tournament, conceived as part of the club’s continued drive to establish themselves as a full college sport.
Vanbrugh comfortably defeated pre-tournament favourites Halifax 6-2 in the final, despite only finishing as runners-up in their group behind Goodricke.
Halifax had also finished 2nd in their group, narrowly losing out to James in a close-fought game. With Langwith, the only other team in the group after Wentworth failed to turn up, struggling to field University players, both Halifax and James cruised through to the semi-finals.
The other group was a closer affair, although Goodricke finished comfortably top. Derwent and Vanbrugh ended up level on 4 points, with Vanbrugh progressing on goal difference after a 9-2 demolition of Alcuin. Goodricke having lost Richard Ramsbottom, the University’s top goal-scorer, after the group stages, succumbed meekly 5-1 to Halifax in the first semi-final, while Vanbrugh overcame James 3-1 in the other.
However, the tournament was not an unmitigated success, with widespread confusion over the rules leading to some, such as the offside rule, being entirely abandoned.There was also a clear split between those who were there to win and those who were there to enjoy the day. Langwith, undoubtedly in the latter category, were one of the few colleges to play as a team, whereas other colleges, notably Halifax, relied entirely on their University players, to the detriment of the tournament as a whole.
Incoming President Jack Wakefield was a prime example of this, being both aggressive and derogatory to non-University players both on the sidelines and on the pitch, putting off many players from other teams who had merely come to try out a new sport.
In fact, one of the reasons for Vanbrugh’s victory was that they combined in-form University players, such as Josh Whittingham, with talented “amateurs”.
Sam Waterson, Lacrosse President and organisor of the tournament along with AU Vice-President Jack Kennedy, was “very pleased at the good turnout from people who had never played Lacrosse before”, and stated that he was “determined to carry on the growth of Lacrosse as a college sport”. In response to the attitude from some of the University players, he admitted that it was “inevitable that there will be differences between those who play regularly and those just playing for fun”.