Last Sunday the University of York hosted the first “Fresherfest” lacrosse tournament to take place in the North of England.
Over 100 players from York, Leeds, Leeds Met, Sheffield, Manchester, Hull, Newcastle/Northumbria (joint team) and Durham competed in the inaugural men’s event.
The tournament format, designed to provide some competitive lacrosse experience for first year novices of the sport, had already proved a success when run in the South of England at the Unversity of Portsmouth and York Lacrosse President Jack Wakefield hopes it will become an annual event.
“It was a good day’s Lacrosse played in a friendly atmosphere” he said. “York were the only team composed entirely of freshers, as so many wanted to play, so the first team guys left them to it.
Unfortunately for York, their relative inexperience meant they failed to win any games, but the freshers will no doubt have benefitted from a valuable opportunity to gain some match practise against good opposition.
Wakefield agreed, praising the spirit of the team, which he said “played excellently for a group of guys who each have less than 20 hours experience of the sport.”
The highlight for York came as their young team lead Sheffield 2-0 at half time – a fantastic achievement given that their opponents boasted an England international in goal in Mike Armstrong. Unfortunately, Sheffield brought their keeper into the outfield in the second half and he had a goal and two assists to consign York to a 3-2 defeat.
Durham – nicknamed “Dork” after arriving with only seven players and needing a heavy bolstering from University of York first teamers – unsurprisingly finished higher in the rankings than York, but the day belonged to the freshers.
The final saw Armstongs’s Sheffield beat Manchester 1-0 in a close game after the England man was confined to a goalkeeping role.
“Fresherfest was designed to give guys who’ve picked the sport up this academic year a chance to play some games,” said Wakefield after the tournament. “It was a great success and we’ll be hoping to make this a regular on the calendar.”