Blue skies and record-breaking temperatures greeted many of the sports enthusiasts who arrived at the SUSU Sports Tasters last weekend. As one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, there were tasters in a wide range of different sports, from football to Ultimate Frisbee. For many this is the start of University sporting careers and of course social lives so the Wessex Scene went to find out what was happening.
After the success of the England’s Ladies Team at the World Cup last year, there is no doubt that this is a sport rising in popularity. The girls who turned up to try it out were greeted by the University team whose Captain Huggy (Laura) Cook emphasised that the taster session would be ‘fun and not all football orientated.’
As a key aspect of the game is teamwork, team building was a focal point for the girls this weekend. With temperatures soaring, Huggy was keen to ‘give the girls a feel for the game’ and ‘make all the freshers, and those new to the team, feel welcome and like they wanted to come back’ for three more trial sessions in the following weeks.
Currently there are two teams and a 5-a-side team but the goal this season is to increase this to four teams with the objective of getting as many girls as possible involved and excited about the sport. After last season both teams hold positions in the middle of their leagues, but the girls hope to improve in the hope of promotion this season. This is a club which enthuses that they ‘cater for everyone,’ so if you haven’t already tried it, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
This fast-paced team game attracts hundreds of thousands of players all over the world with just its name. But it also holds appeal in the fact that it is frequently compared to American football and netball, mixed teams are encouraged and there is a friendly but competitive ethos due to the fact that there are no referees.
The Skunks, aka the University of Southampton Ultimate Frisbee team welcomed everyone into the sweaty sports hall and kicked off their taster session with a dynamic demonstration game. Committee members sat amongst the audience encouraging people to ask questions so as to get to grips with the concepts of the game before we tried it out.
There was then a chance for everyone to learn some basic throwing techniques. Some people picked it up pretty easily, others including myself took some guidance and lots of encouragement, which the team members were ready and willing to give. If the Taster Session is reflective of this club then it is great fun and very inclusive. I would personally encourage anyone who hasn’t tried out this fast, fascinating and fun game to give it a go.
Training is Wednesday 2-4pm on Southampton Common, Thursday 8-10pm at Wide Lane, Friday 3.30-5.30 Old Sports Hall and Saturday 9.30-11am for the ladies in the Old Sports Hall.
Wessex Scene talks to Captains Verity Gist and Oli Howell
How are the trials going today?
Oli: There’s a really good turnout, lots of people came who hadn’t signed up at the bunfight but had heard from friends and thought, ‘that sounds cool’ I’ll give it a go.
What is the structure of your trials?
Verity: We’ve started with the basics, lots of people have turned up who haven’t played before.
Oli: We started with a warm up then we introduced some basic skills like throwing and catching and picking up balls. Then we split them up into different groups. One group played a game of lacrosse rounders, using the lacrosse stick in place of a bat. Another group played a mini game to introduce some of the concepts of lacrosse.
What is the aim of the session today?
Verity: It’s all about having fun and learning about lacrosse.
What have you achieved over the past year?
Oli: Last year lots of people left, it was really sad, there were only about 7 players.
Verity: But we built the club from 7 to around 25 players so that was our main achievement last year.
Oli: We won 2-3 games last season and we’re unsure what our exact league position was but this club is all about having fun and enjoying lacrosse, we don’t really focus on positioning.
Why should people join your club?
Oli: There’s a really laid back atmosphere, we’re more chilled out than other Uni sports teams.
Verity: We’re all about having fun and part of that is having great socials.
If you are convinced, and would like to try out Mixed Lacrosse, the team train at Wide Lane, on the grass, 6-8pm
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
If the number of girls who turned up to try out for this team is anything to go by, then it looks set to be a successful year for the University’s Women’s Lacrosse team. The taster session, held on Sunday saw the girls being split into two groups, one for ‘the first team trials, and a taster session for beginners’ explains Club Captain Aliki Pareas. The focus of the first team trials was to look at those ‘players of the best standard and form a strong team for this year.’
The first team were promoted at the end of the 2009 season, this meant that last year the standard of competition was greatly increased. Ali stresses that although the team did well in the Premier League they didn’t do ‘quite as well as they hoped,’ as they were relegated. Therefore this season, it is all the more important for the team to strengthen their performance. With the experience of playing at a higher level, Ali knows that the team have ‘hopes for promotion this season.’
Along with the first team there are two other teams: the second and the beginners teams, thus this club caters for all abilities. Ali hopes that those who participated in the taster sessions now have a flavour of what lacrosse is about and will ‘want to come back.’
Training for 2nds and beginners is on Thursdays
at 8-10pm at Wide Lane.
1st team training is on Tuesdays at Wide Lane, 8-10pm.
SULHC held their trials on Sunday at Wide Lane, trials ran from 10am-1pm giving the girls a good three hours to showcase their skills and ability. Sara Houston, the second team’s Centre Forward explains that the aim of the trials was to ‘work out which teams people should be in.’ Currently there are five teams each with a squad of 15/16 girls.
The trials began with a warm up, then the girls were split into teams, with three games taking place and two teams on the sidelines. This gave the captains a chance to observe play, ‘assess standards’ and note down the numbers of certain players. ‘Assessing the standard is really difficult,’ admits Sara so there is another chance for players to shine at the preseason games in the coming weeks. After a successful season last year it is especially important to select the right players for the right teams.
Last season saw the first team finish second in their Womens 2A BUCS league, the third team were promoted to join the second team who narrowly missed promotion and the fifth team, which consists mostly of beginners, played friendly matches but will begin to play in an official league on Saturdays this year. As for the other teams, the first and second are looking for promotion, the third team look to maintain their position and the fourth team look to continue doing well. Big aspirations for a big club so you’ll have to follow their progress with the Wessex Scene.
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As with the Ladies’ team, the men’s team begin this season with a successful season behind them – the trials on Sunday looked to continue this success. Alex Overstall, defender for the third team explains what was in store for the players. ‘We’ll start with a warm-up, do some stick and ball short drills and work on footwork,’ it’s true that ‘a lot of them haven’t played for a while, maybe not since Sixth Form.’ Therefore the drills will ‘start off short and get longer, it’s really hot so won’t make them work too hard.’
The captains will then start to assess and split the group in half, with the potential first and second team players in one group and the third and fourth team players in the other, ‘to do some specific drills’. This will ‘then progress into mini games.’ Although it all seems pretty competitive Alex states that they are really looking for ‘people who are keen and will try,’ as there are currently five teams of all abilities, willingness to try is key.
The first, second, third and fourth teams are all well placed in the BUCS league after last season which saw the first and second team promoted and the third team promoted in the Saturday league. Other successes included winning ‘Club of the Year,’ and Matt Hicks winning ‘Sports Personality’ at the AU Ball. Looking ahead to the coming season of games, Alex knows that the aim for all teams is maintaining positions in the BUCS league as all four teams are in competitive places. All teams are looking for promotion in the Saturday league.
Want to get involved?
Training is Monday 6-8pm at Wide Lane for all players and Thursday 7-8pm at Wide Lane for specific drills designed to improve the game.
Get in touch:
Wessex Scene talks to players Rhys Ambrose and John Shaw.
Can you tell us about the trials today? What is happening?
Rhys: The coach, Junior Paramore has come down, we’re having a few matches getting the guys into the game situation.
What kind of standard of players are you looking for today?
John: There’s a pretty high standard among those who have turned up today which is great because the first and second teams are both looking for promotion, in the BUCS League this year. We also play in another league against teams such as Winchester and Bournemouth.
You said that the first and second teams are looking for promotion this year, how did the club do last year?
Rhys: The first team narrowly missed out on promotion, which means they’re more determined than ever.
John: The second team also did really well, and we’ve all had a really good set of pre-season games to prepare us for this year. We’ve got a really good turnout today and it’s the first time we’ve had a qualified coach in a while so we’re all excited for this year.
Why should people join SURFC?
John: We’re a team of a good standard and playing rugby for us is a really good way to meet people.
Rhys: We’re a club for everyone because we have 3 teams, so anyone can play whatever the ability. And with that, how could you say no? Get involved: training is Monday 6-8pm, Tuesday 9-10pm and Friday 6-8pm all at Wide Lane. Games are on Wednesdays also at Wide Lane.