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Phoenix Lacrosse Club is rising to the challenge in Newbury



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More than 100 people turned out for the launch of Newbury’s newest sports club recently.

Mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond, officially launched the Phoenix Lacrosse Club on Saturday by scoring a goal with an old wooden lacrosse stick – which was recently donated to the club.

The club was set up by a group of parents after St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, took the “difficult decision” to stop playing the sport competitively. It had previously been one of just a few state schools nationally that played lacrosse.

The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond

The club enjoyed its first training session on January 8 this year and since then the girls have played 33 matches, winning a number of them.

More than 50 girls, in school years 7 and above, train each week – and enjoy a well-earned mug of hot chocolate afterwards.

“St Bart’s has a long history and tradition of competitive lacrosse, which I understand is sadly being phased out over the next 15 months and the Phoenix Lacrosse Club has been set up to provide a continuation of competitive lacrosse for more than 50 girls that actively practice the sport in school,” said Mr Drummond – whose two daughters both played the sport when they attended the school.

The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond

“The club is fortunate to have a wonderful coaching team with former pupils, those connected to the school and also a former US semi-pro player.

“The club is open to others and has already seen pupils from as far away as Winchester coming along to train.

“I wish the newly formed Phoenix Lacrosse Club a long and prosperous future.”

The club has been successful in securing funding from charities, local companies and the general public and has plans for outreach to local primary and secondary schools later in the year.

The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond

Club chair, Alan Moon, said: “Lacrosse is a fantastic sport, and we want to ensure it is open to everyone in the local area.

“Ultimately, we hope to see one of our members go all the way to the 2028 Olympics.”

Nik Roberts, from England Lacrosse who also attended the launch, said the setting up of local clubs, such as Phoenix, was “really important” for the future of the sport.

The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond

“We are looking to get Olympic and Commonwealth lacrosse in the next decade and helping new clubs start off and sow the seeds is very important," he added.

“This club has everything going for it; I am really pleased with them.”

Zeta John, logistics secretary at Phoenix, said: “It has been wonderful to watch the girls playing lacrosse matches again after the pandemic robbed them of almost two years of match play.

Club chair Alan Moon at the launch of the new Phoenix Lacrosse Club
Club chair Alan Moon at the launch of the new Phoenix Lacrosse Club

“They have had the opportunity to compete against Marlborough College, St Mary’s Calne and Rendcomb College, and they have done so well.

“They have won matches, lost matches but always played with enthusiasm, camaraderie and huge smiles.

“The club is so very proud of them all and is looking forward to next season and what we can achieve together.”

The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond

Amit Biswas of The Lacrosse Foundation said: “Lacrosse is a tremendous sport – demanding and rewarding in equal measure. As we at The Lacrosse Foundation seek to broaden participation in lacrosse in the run-up to the 2028 Olympics, our first priority is to support schools and clubs that involve state school students in the sport.”

Garry Poulson, director of Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, which has offered guidance and support to the committee as they set up the club, said: “The Volunteer Centre has enjoyed supporting and advising this group of dedicated volunteers to establish Phoenix Lacrosse for West Berkshire.

“Sport is a vital element of society for our physical health and mental wellbeing. Covid has taught us that leading healthy and active lives can help us to stave off the worst that the pandemic could throw at us.”

Mayor Billy Drummond
Mayor Billy Drummond

The club’s committee said it hopes the support it has received so far may still persuade St Bart’s to change its stance on competing.

“We still hope to persuade the school to reverse its decision and continue to support competitive lacrosse,” said Chris Winchester, the club’s schools liaison officer. “Not least as the Nationals organised by England Lacrosse are only open to students competing on behalf of their school.

“We hope the school will change its mind and allow its students to compete for St Bart’s, as we hope they are impressed by the support we have received from the students, the sport and the local community.”

The club is now beginning to offer training to younger children too. Any girls or boys in Year 5 and 6 are invited to come along and give lacrosse a try on March 19 and April 2 at St Bartholomew’s School, at 9am.

For more details on how to get involved in the club visit www.phoenixlax.co.uk

The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond
The new Phoenix Lacrosse Club was officially launched by mayor of Newbury, Billy Drummond


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