By James Martland
The end of 2016 was a special time for Durham Lacrosse. A 10-3 victory over Birmingham in early December saw the first team crowned winners of the BUCS Premier League North, even with two games to spare. That means that the team have so far won all eight of their fixtures in the division during this current campaign. The BUCS Premier League North is a competition which Durham have monopolised in recent years, having now won it for each of the last six years, highlighting Durham’s dominance in lacrosse in recent years.
2017 has started in a similar vein, but this time, in particular, for three specific individuals. Three Durham students, both past and present, have been included as part of in the England training squad for the 2017 World Cup. Emma Adams, currently of St Hild and St Bede, as well as Lucy Grant and Isabel McNab, both of whom have left Durham in the previous two years, have all been selected by Team Director Phil Collier alongside twenty-three others. This group has been cut down from an original squad of forty-four, who had been invited to attend training camps in recent months. The 26-person squad will now fly to the USA in February for training and a series of matches, before heading back England for a game against Japan in March. The World Cup takes place between the 12th and 22nd of July on home soil at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.
Grant, 21 and McNab, 23, both of whom made their debuts for the national team back in 2015, will be competing against each other, alongside one other goalkeeper, for a first choice spot at the tournament. Despite having left university, both are relatively young compared to the majority of the squad and thus not only have the opportunity to represent their country at the highest level, but also of gaining vital experience for future World Cups. Durham first team captain, Emma Adams, is the only current student selected in Phil Collier’s squad and is one of seven defenders that the Team Director has named.
Adams, who previously captained the Under-19 side to third place at the 2015 World Cup in Edinburgh, appears delighted at the possibility of representing her country in the same format at senior level. Furthermore, being only 21 years old, she recognises the skills that could be gained by playing alongside and against many much older and more experienced Lacrosse players.
“When I got the call up, I was extremely surprised, but really excited that I would have the privilege to perform with athletes of such a high standard, even though I am so much younger than them.
‘’Right now my aim is to integrate as much as possible into the team as we head on tour on 11th February to North Carolina, where we hope to beat both Duke and North Carolina.
‘’North Carolina won the Women’s and Men’s NCAA lacrosse championship last year, so it will be an exciting learning experience for us as players and a great opportunity for the coaches to cut down the squad even further.”
As Adams mentions, with Ireland and Team USA recently naming 18-player squads, and Israel naming a group of 20, it is likely that the England training squad will be cut down further before the final roster is announced. However, even if some of the three don’t quite make Collier’s squad for the tournament, at the ages of 21, 21 and 23, Grant, McNab and Adams all appear to have a bright future ahead of them, with many more opportunities to represent their country at the highest level.