English Lacrosse event co ordinator Abigail Merrill provided answers to questions posed by the monthly membership newsletter The Draw.
What does English Lacrosse see for the future of National Schools?
The Rathbones National Schools Lacrosse Championship (RNSLC) is the flagship event on the schools lacrosse calendar. It is important that English Lacrosse deliver a professional sporting event experience for all that participate, volunteer and spectate. We strive each year to improve on the last, applying lessons we have learnt and trying new initiatives.
We want the event to continue to grow, both in numbers and stature. RNLC15 is particularly important as we approach the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. Surrey Sports Park (SSP) will host the World Cup, so each RNSLC between now and then is an opportunity for the event team to become more familiar with the venue and build relationships with SSP event operations.
What does the continued Partnership with Rathbones bring to the tournament?
In 2013 Rathbones agreed a new partnership with English Lacrosse that will see them extend their support up to and including 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s World Cup. Through this partnership, English Lacrosse and Rathbones both aim to raise the profile of junior girls lacrosse and encourage participation throughout the sport. Rathbones’ Investment has enabled English Lacrosse to aim for a level of professionalism previously hard to achieve. Finding a site with the required number of pitches (that will stand up to 4 days of continuous play) and level of infrastructure to cater for 5500 spectators and participants can be difficult, SSP provides such a facility. Without Rathbones as a partner the move to Surrey Sports Park would not have been possible.
How important is it for the tournament that it is held at SSP with the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup approaching?
I don’t think we can underestimate how important it is to hold RNSLC and other lacrosse tournaments at SSP with the 2017 FIL Rathbones World Lacrosse Championships around the corner. Each event hosted at SSP will test the venue and our operations for the world event.
It is important to remember that as well as the 2017 FIL Rathbones World Lacrosse Championships, English Lacrosse will also be hosting the 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester.
We also want spectators to get used to SSP as a lacrosse venue and, of course, Team England to view it as their home so they can take full advantage of a World Cup on home soil.
What is the biggest challenge about running such a large tournament?
I would say it is the sheer size of the tournament. This impacts upon 3 key areas:
Pre, during and post event communication with key audiences. The schools are the heartbeat of the tournament, it is important that they receive timely, professional and clear communication as soon as the event dates are released. This is also true of spectators, we listen to feedback each year and make improvements to the event to improve the spectator experience. We are working with the event scoring system Macoocoo to deliver the playing schedule and electronic live score updates to a greater level in 2015.
As the tournament and indeed lacrosse has grown, so has the number of partners. Many of who will be working with us on the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup and 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships . It is vital that we sustain and improve relations with partners between now and 2017/2018.
RNSLC is a brilliant example of English Lacrosse events team and volunteers working together to achieve success. However, it takes a lot of work to ensure the event runs smoothly each year. Work begins as soon as the year before ends, we have a mop up meeting straight after RNSLC to make sure we capture all information whilst it’s still fresh. It is an evolving tournament, improving year on year. As mentioned already, it also provides key lessons for the 2017 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.
If you are interested in volunteering at RNSLC and the FIL Rathbones 2017 World Lacrosse Cup, we need your help. Please sign up to Team 2017
Do you have a question about the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup ? Tweet @englacrosse #wclax2017