IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Lacrosse teams: ‘We’ve got nowhere to play’

High-octane sport is the new popular game in town – but players say there are no pitches that they can train or play matches on in Islington

24 May, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Aficionados of the sport want to muscle in on the borough’s playing fields

IT is known as the “oldest and fastest game on two feet”, a high-octane sport which is losing the clichéd image of being reserved for private school playing fields.

But players of lacrosse say there is nowhere for them to train or play matches in Islington.

Now, in a bid to put the sport on the map in north London, a coalition of teams is asking the Town Hall and its leisure contractors to add lacrosse markings to pitches.

In a direct appeal for help, the North London Lacrosse Partnership has offered to pay for block bookings, provide a lump sum in return for markings at Market Road pitches and Whittington Park. Other potential sites include the pitches at Talacre Sports Centre in Camden.

The two boroughs have the same company, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), as their sports contractors.

Lacrosse is more popular in the United States but there is a growing popularity on the university club scene.

Emily Parfitt, president of UCL Lacrosse, said: “There’s a massive move towards increased accessibility and inclusion within lacrosse, driven by both players and coaches.”

She added: “Simply having a lacrosse field in London would enable far greater outreach and accessibility as it would open up the potential for more schools to start the sport as well as enable a rise in clubs and training.”

The sport, which originates in North America, sees players pass the ball using a stick with a net and scoring by propelling it into the opponents’ goal. Enthusiasts hope it will one day become an Olympic sport.

Ms Parfitt added pitches would not need too many alterations to the markings to be used for lacrosse.

“Many lacrosse pitches used by schools, especially those found on astro-type surfaces, are multipurpose fields and they are just as suitable as lacrosse specific fields,” she said.

“In fact, the astro/3G fields tend to be the ones that are of most use as the lines and the pitches aren’t destroyed by weather!

“As for conversion, to the best of my knowledge grass fields would simply require grass paint and a knowledge of the markings which can be found really easily online.”

A spokesman for GLL said: “At GLL, we want to help people play the sports they love.

“We have excellent relationships with customers and national sporting bodies and a shared interest in getting more people, more active more often.

“We welcome all feedback and suggestions – including from 200 lacrosse players looking for a venue.

“Our Islington and Camden teams are seeing how we might accommodate these within existing facilities.”

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