It has been confirmed by Claire Thomas, President of the University of York Lacrosse Club, that a College Lacrosse League will be established during the next academic year.
It is understood that fixtures and match venues will not be organised in time for Autumn Term, but the first matches will be played in January 2015 at the start of the Spring Term.
The introduction of the lacrosse League is another huge boost for College Sport, which is experiencing a large expansion at present, with participation increasing amongst many colleges. It also represents a boost for lacrosse at York, which has enjoyed unprecedented success at the University over the last couple of years. The move comes after the lacrosse One-Day Tournament proved to be a hit amongst York students in recent times.
All nine colleges, including Constantine, will be invited to take part in the new league, with matches taking place on weekend days. Teams for the league will be 8-a-side, and each team will only be eligible to field two University players at once at any given time during a match. As with all other college leagues, points earned in the Lacrosse League will contribute towards the overall college standings. It is unclear at this stage whether Lacrosse could be added into College Varsity.
The introduction of the Lacrosse League, which has been pioneered by Thomas, puts the sport on par with sports including football, hockey and rugby union, which already have regular league structures in place. It also comes on the back of a successful period for both the men’s and women’s University teams.
Lacrosse became a York Sport ‘Focus Sport’ at the start of the 2013/14 academic year. This is an elite performance programme, which offers the chosen clubs additional strength and conditioning training, nutrition and Sports Psychology advice. The other sports to receive Focus Sport status over the previous year were rugby union, fencing, swimming and rowing.
In the 2013/14 season, the UYLC women’s firsts team won the BUCS Northern Conference 2B to win promotion to Division One, whilst also lifting the BUCS Conference Cup. This performance was matched by the men’s firsts team, to round off a fantastic year for the sport at the University. Meanwhile, the men’s and women’s seconds teams both compete in Division Two of the BUCS Leagues.
Speaking about the introduction of the new College League, Thomas told Nouse, “’The One-Day College Lacrosse Tournament has been hugely popular and successful over the past few years, and it was one of my main aims coming into this year to take this one step further, and make lacrosse a significant feature on the College Sport landscape.
“Development is a major part of UYLC, and we run twice-weekly Fresher sessions, for anyone and everyone interested in learning to play the sport. We’re then going to host the One-Day Tournament at the end of Autumn Term – it will be mixed matches in a round robin and then knock-out structure competition.
“Following this – and this is the exciting part – we’re going to have a weekly College Lacrosse League – with 8 a side mixed matches played at the weekend, and the results contributing to the overall college standings.
“I’d strongly encourage everyone to have a go; lacrosse is a brilliant sport to take up at University, and the college system will give new players an excellent opportunity to get game time, facilitating their development as potential squad members, or just having a great time on the pitch. College Lacrosse will be all about trying your hand at something that bit different.”
Meanwhile, Dave Washington, College Sport Officer, echoed Thomas’ excitement about the new developments, saying, “I’m delighted that we’ll be introducing a new regular league from January in the form of College Lacrosse.
“I’d encourage anyone who wants to play to go along to the development sessions this term, and I’m hopeful that the league will be as popular as the previous one-day tournaments.
“The expansion of the system shows how popular college sport is at the moment, and it is fantastic that we can provide new, exciting opportunities for all of our students to engage in sport at York.”