A NEW SEASON 21/22
The opening of the official Lacrosse season started on Saturday 26th September, and it suggested some sort of normality was slowly returning.
For Timperley it was an encouraging opening day with four out of four of our teams recording wins - five if you count the U16 1-0 as Poynton were unable to field a team.
Women’s team v Liverpool H Friendly W 16-9
Men’ 1st No game
Men’s A v Leeds A W 14-3
Boy’s U16 v Poynton H W 1-0
Boy’s U14 v Stockport A W 10-6
Boy’s U12 v Stockport H W 17-3
It is not very often that we enjoy two wins over Stockport teams in a morning!
A good start but there will be tougher days ahead.
Reports from our games will be posted regularly on this website.
RIDING THE PANDEMIC
The Pandemic was certainly not unprecedented except perhaps to the government whose grotesque incompetence has made the outcomes for the UK some of the worst in the world and certainly the worst in Europe.
Where the government failed, the resilience of clubs like Timperley showed that it is in communities that we see the true strength of Britishness.
Timperley Sports Club has faced real challenges over the last months, but we have been fortunate enough to have a strong Executive Committee under Lacrosse’s Alan Holdsworth.
During the pandemic TSC led by the hockey section has carried out a major project resurfacing and upgrading of the green ATP. I am not privy to the finance, and it is some time since I have been involved in such a scheme but it would not surprise me if the cost was in the region of £200k.
Following the end of the 2019 season Timperley faced challenges as some of our senior men’s leaders left the club.
At our worst we thought the future of senior men’s lacrosse at Timperley was under threat. However, cometh the hour, cometh the men and people stepped up to the plate and showed commitment to the club. In particular, Tim Blower and Phil Hartley did a fantastic job keeping the show on the road. We have had unbelievable support from players and 1st and A teams played competitive games against other clubs (when they could raise teams!) and when they could not, we played inter club matches often featuring over 30 Timperley players. These matches produced some exciting, real quality Lacrosse.
The government’s erratic and often incomprehensible decision making made life difficult for our officers, but they kept the show going.
This year is the 50th Anniversary of the relocation of Chorlton LC to Timperley and thanks to Jenny and Phil Hartley we defied Covid and held a celebration day on Saturday 17th July. A memorable day and thanks to everyone involved.
Our women’s section particularly the girls’ teams continue to thrive with impressive numbers turning up for training under the leadership of Cengiz Ilhan, Brett Christian, Chris Wright, Lucy Ford and I am sure many others.
Where Timperley scores over other clubs is with our Saturday beginner sessions which have been brilliantly led by Sarah Baron. Every Saturday morning between 9am-10am anything from 30-50 young children turns up to Timperley to receive coaching in the fundamentals of Lacrosse.
How Lacrosse emerges from the chaos of the pandemic is an open question. Some clubs seem in fair shape but there are others who are clearly struggling. I have been involved in Lacrosse for over 65 years and seen times of crisis and times of success and expansion. I suspect that we will have some casualties but need to plan for a successful future particularly at Timperley.
The traditional start to the Lacrosse season (at least for the last 30 or more years) has been the Bath 8s. Bath is a great city and for Manchester based clubs who consider Sheffield, Leeds and even Mellor and Rochdale an adventure, it is an excuse for a great weekend, play some good Lacrosse and do a bit of preseason team bonding.
Bath LC was founded in the mid 1980s by the late, great Jon Harrop whose wife, Penny, did not consider that travelling back to Manchester and in particular Rochdale where Jon learnt his Lacrosse every weekend was the greatest idea.
Her answer was to help Jon set up Bath LC. I am not sure she fully realised that at that time south of England Lacrosse was mainly in the London area which meant that Bath players had a 3-4 hour drive every other Saturday for a match. At least it meant Jon was in Bath every other weekend!
Bath is in many ways a miracle. It has not only survived but thrived, in no small measure due to the indefatigable Nic Roberts. The club has been the catalyst for the growth of club and University Lacrosse in the South West.
Almost every year a Timperley team has travelled to Bath and sometimes even emerged as winners.
This year a strong Timperley team made the trip, and a great weekend was made greater by them emerging as tournament winners from a strong field of 29 men’s teams. Beating Nottingham Trent University in the Final
STOCKPORT 6s (The Fly) 11th/12th Sept
World Lacrosse leaders have since 2010 been campaigning to get Lacrosse into the Olympic Games. The progress that has been made is, in my view, astounding and at the Tokyo IOC meeting Lacrosse was accepted as full members of the Olympic movement.
The Olympics is a huge issue on its own but one of the challenges is to find a game format which is likely to be acceptable to Olympic organisers.
World Lacrosse has come up with a 6 a side version of Lacrosse which is being trialled in various countries around the world. In England the new format was launched under the branding “The Fly” featuring the pick of the England men’s and women’s squads. The games were played at Lilleshall National Sports Centre and produced some exciting games with high quality Lacrosse.
The opinion of the players was generally favourable though I reserve judgement. 6 a side was always considered a bit frivolous -T20 v Test Cricket but Olympic ambitions may override long term rational.
Stockport Lacrosse Club provided an opportunity for grass root players to experience The Fly by running by running a 6 a side tournament for club teams playing to the trial Olympic rules.
Timperley boys U12, U14 and U16 all acquitted themselves well reaching the semi finals of their respective tournaments with the U12 doing particularly well losing in a thriller by a goal (4-3) to the eventual winners Mellor.
On the Sunday it was the turn of the women’s game & Timperley had a good day. Our outstanding U18 team won their tournament whilst our senior women’s team lost in their final by a single goal to traditional rivals
CHESHIRE v LANCASHIRE Sunday 19th Sept
In the olden days north of Mersey was Lancashire and south of the Mersey was Cheshire. They then invented Greater Manchester and now there are no clubs in Lancashire and only Poynton and Wilmslow in Cheshire and everybody knows they are really in Greater Manchester despite their pretentions.
However, history is good and it is great that the historic Cheshire v Lancashire games have been resurrected.
Things became a little more complicated with Timperley. Clearly Timperley is in the old Cheshire, but Timperley retains the historic affiliation to Lancashire it inherited from Chorlton, so players play for Lancashire.
In the U15 game, Timperley players Noah Brennan, Sam Ginger, Ben Lawton and Owen Shuttleworth were all prominent in a convincing 17-10 win for Lancashire.
In a competitive U17 game Cheshire were victorious but there were good performances from Kai Alty, Jack Dearden, Ben Edward, Angus Gilchrist and Jim Hartley.
Over recent years coaching Timperley has been to say the least, a challenge. This year we may well have struck gold.
If Lacrosse survives and thrives post pandemic it will be because of capable and committed volunteers like Nick Hewitt. Nick has been prominent in successfully relocating Old Hulmeians from Whalley Range to Brooklands where the club thrived.
Nick has taken on the key role of League Secretary which he carries out with great effectiveness and maintained his commitment to Brooklands.
Nick is also a top class coach, coaching the Wales Men’s teams and being active in the Brooklands junior programme. Brooklands are fortunate to possess some very capable coaches so there was not a vacancy on their senior teams. Nick wanted to coach senior Lacrosse so accepted an approach to coach at Timperley.
We have had consistently good numbers at training over the summer and this needs to continue to consolidate the League positions of our teams and to make Nick feel his efforts are worthwhile.
We have been seeing excellent attendance at Wednesday training with 20-30 players each week. The standard of performance is improving noticeably over the weeks.
US EXCHANGE PROGRAMME
Timperley have maintained a US exchange programme since the late 1980s. Firstly the exchange was with Fallston, a community to the northeast of Baltimore near Bel Air. This partnership thrived for many years until Fallston found it impossible to sustain.
We were fortunate to form an equally successful partnership with Maryland Express.
In my more philosophical moments and as someone who Bill Clinton observed has more yesterdays than tomorrows, I think that life is about memories and friends. The US Exchange programme has over the years provided both in spades.
The pandemic has played havoc with international travel, but it looks likely that the exchange programme will restart with Maryland Express coming to Timperley in 2022 and Timperley travelling to Maryland in 2023.
Phil Hartley has posted on this website details regarding the initial planning for the exchange and contact details
BACK TO NORMAL!?!
Now all the Lacrosse news has been covered its time to talk all things Covid, Brexit & Government!
These views are my own and not reflective of the Lacrosse club nor its members.
We are being told by the Government and in particular the “Liar in Chief” that things are getting back to normal.
I am not at all sure what “normality“ is.
* We have by far the worst Covid 19 record in Europe. I have just read in the Times that today (28/9/21) we have the highest infection rate in the world. World beating at last!
*Johnson boasts about our vaccination programme, but it is now grinding to a halt and is being overhauled by many European countries who are also vaccinating children.
* Brexit is a disaster. In the run up to the 2016 Referendum the concerns of Remainers were nothing but “Project Fear”. It is now clear that Remainers were wrong and that their “Fears” were hugely underestimated.
*We do not have a shortage of petrol just a shortage of drivers to deliver it. Whichever way you look at it this seems to me to amount to a shortage of petrol. What will happen when Stanlow refinery inevitably goes bust?
*We have a growing energy crisis because, uniquely, the UK decided to scrap gas storage facilities. Whereas other Europeans have weeks-even months of reserves and are committed to helping each other out, we are only days away from the lights going out or at the very least seeing huge increases in our energy bills.
* My local Tesco Express has gaps on its shelves and nothing in its storeroom. If you make an online order you are faced with a number of “unavailables”.
*Apparently Government were driven by an imperative to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed. At the height of the pandemic the government cleared over 65 from hospitals into care homes and their homes meaning that were denied treatment. Unsurprisingly many died (30-50,000 deaths). Currently, the NHS has historically high waiting lists for treatment. If this is not being overwhelmed, then I do not know what is.
* In the belief that we are a world power we spend £billions on a nuclear deterrent and a few very expensive aircraft carriers to sail up and down the South China Sea. Much, I am sure, to the amusement of the Chinese.
We purportedly have a highly trained and expensively equipped army. Although I do not deny the bravery and commitment of the troops, the senior and political leadership is a disgrace and as soon as we are faced with a rag tag collection of poorly armed tribesmen, we run up the white flag and run for cover.
* There is much talk of “levelling up”. I think I know what it means but I am far from sure that the government does. The governments answer is HS2- a vanity project if ever there was one.
We currently have 25% of our children living below the poverty line but it is left to Marcus Rashford to fight their corner whilst the government reduces financial help to those most in need.
If the above is the new normality, then the country is in a worse position than I thought.