This year's Rathbones National Schools Lacrosse Championships (RNSLC) have been beset by problems caused by the extreme weather we have been experiencing this winter. A deluge of snow and Arctic winds at the beginning of March meant that the Championships had to be postponed by ten days.
Despite the fact that the rescheduled date for the National Championships fell over Coach Weekend (and Mothering Sunday), all 17 of our U19 squad gave up some of their weekend to play; a credit to just how committed they are to the sport. After a very early start on Sunday morning, we arrived at Wycombe Abbey to pitch camp amongst the other 46 schools' gazebos. (Amazingly, only ten schools had dropped out from the postponed tournament.)
We had a tough draw. Our first match was against Bedford, who got through to the Championship Division last year. But we beat them 3-1, with goals from Georgia Kannreuther (MSH), Phoebe Wasdell (MSH) and Clemmie Baynes (G).
Then last year's Championship Runners-Up (and eventual 2018 winners!) Lady Eleanor Holles beat us 1-5. However, our attacks executed a perfect set move, ending with an amazing goal from Flora Moreau (G).
In our third match we beat Peter Symonds College 3-1, with two goals from Georgia Kannreuther and one from Phoebe Wasdell.
Next up was Haberdashers’ Aske's, who we beat 6-1 with two goals each from Georgia Kannreuther and Phoebe Wasdell, and excellent goals from Laura Elliott (G) and Poppy Collingwood-Cameron (EDH).
Then we lost 1-4 to another former Championship Division team, Queen Anne's, although our defence were hugely successful at keeping them at bay. Our goal was scored by Georgia Kannreuther.
Feeling slightly demoralised, we then lost to Westonbirt 0-3. But the girls came back fighting for their last match, winning 6-2 against St Bartholomew's: five goals from Phoebe Wasdell and one from Isabel Morris (MSH).
We finished the day’s play seeded top of Division 1. A meal out at Bluegrass in High Wycombe brought the day to a close.
We arrived in pouring rain for the second day of the tournament, raring to win our Division. But we were greeted with the disappointing news that due to waterlogged pitches the tournament was to be cancelled for those teams in Divisions 1, 2 and 3, and that the Championship Division was to be relocated to another location with astro pitches. It was an extremely disappointing end to a hugely successful season for our 1st team, although there was some consolation in the knowledge that they had done a great job the day before.
Awards were made for Coaches' Player - Captain Clemmie Baynes, and Players' players - Clemmie Baynes and Annabel Naylor.
Top goal-scorer of the Tournament - Phoebe Wasdell (9 goals).
Away from this tournament, the U19s have only lost one match this season and were Runner's-Up in the North Schools’ Lacrosse Tournament.
Thank you to Clemmie and Phoebe for their hard work with the team this season as Captain and Vice-Captain respectively. Clemmie has truly led from the front. On the pitch she has the amazing ability of not only defending her own opponent but successfully managing the rest of the defensive unit as well. We will certainly miss her and the other Upper Sixth Formers leaving us: Brigitte Jennings, Flora Moreau and Amy Pook.
Thanks are also due to our amazing external coach Paul Coups, who has coached the England U19 Men's team in the past. He has inspired and challenged the girls and is instrumental to their success.
Phoebe Wasdell and Stan Dixon (MSH) take over the reins as Captain and Vice-Captain next season. The squad is in great hands!