Lacrosse take the title to reach playoffs

Mahul Patel reports on how NULAX took the Northern 1A title

Mahul Patel
21st March 2017
Rivals: Newcasltle won two and lost two against Northumbria his season. Image: Fiona Leishman

Newcastle University’s Men’s Lacrosse 1st and 2nd Teams have had an incredible rollercoaster season, filled with jubilation and bitter disappointments.

With several drops of blood and sweat spilled through tough training sessions and tense matches, the season has culminated with the 1st team winning their league, with the opportunity to play for promotion to the Premier Lacrosse Division in the country, and the 2nd team in with a chance of remaining in an incredibly competitive division.

The election of Matthew Benton to captain ensured an experienced, skilful, and aggressive figure would be present for a 2nds side, predominantly made up of freshers. Enthusiasm was never lacking, with the players quickly settling into the sport, and gelling to form a team.

The season started with games against well-oiled teams from Durham, York and Hull, as the team quickly learned that a successful season would be built on a strong defence.

Our Freshers developed quickly, with Will Allman and Oliver Clarke fortifying the defence, with the latter stepping up to the position after starting in midfield. Jack Mitchenson improved tremendously at facing off, and Myles Davies and Arthur Waley found their feet in our attack, alongside the experience of Jordan Thompson and Sam ‘Sparkles’ Gledhill.

0 points separating Newcastle and Northumbria in the league

Josh Brown came to be known as the midfield steamroller, doing almost as much damage on the pitch in a match as he did every Wednesday night at Legends. A special mention must go out to Sam Butterfield for the courage displayed in taking up the keeper position for a game against a formidable Hull team.

Ultimately, despite a season filled with losses, a dogged away win by a resilient 10-man side, proved just how far the 2nd team had come.

Having been pipped to the post in recent seasons, the 1st team had their sights fixed on finishing top of their league, above longstanding rivals, Northumbria.  Callum Counihan was trusted with the responsibility of captaining the wealth of experience in the 18-man side, as the team won 8/10 of their league games this season.

Contributions came from everywhere, with the phenomenal Jack Clohessy in goal, reassuring the seasoned and experienced back line of Will Drabble, Matt Rees, captain Counihan, and the capped Spanish international Harry Doherty in defence, to Joseph Parnell, Luke ‘Rambro’ Ramsbottom, and US College Lacrosse player Conor Doyle in attack, who collectively amassed the majority of goals, securing the title in the process.

This was only made possible thanks to the plentiful supply of assists, possession plays and tough groundwork by the likes of Sam Merrion, Alex Aves and Joseph Clements.

“This was only made possible thanks to to the plentiful supply of assists, possession plays and tough groundwork”

The commitment displayed by the likes Jake McNair and Patrick Kearney led to them becoming regulars on the team sheet, and were joined soon after by Matthew ‘Derrick’ Holland, whose marked improvement with a long pole saw him be called up from the 2nds halfway through the season.

They supported players like George Band and Rob Baldwyn, who regularly wreaked havoc for defences by drawing slides, and creating further goal-scoring opportunities.

President Timothy Deehan also regularly persevered through injury as the designated facer, to routinely retain and regain possession in matches. A honourable mention must be given to Ryan Scott, whose semester at Newcastle saw him become a vital part of the team, both on and off the field.

As a unit, they came together to beat Northumbria in the opening round of the cup, as well as in the league by 7-10, inspired in no small part, by a goal from Jake McNair when Newcastle were 6-1 down in the 2nd half.  They now go on to playoffs for promotion to the Premier Division.


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