On the 4th August 2019 the Dragon Academy embarked on a tour to Canada to not only support the U19s Women’s World Championship, but compete in the World Cup Festival as well as a series of warm-up games.
After a long day of travel 42 Girls arrived at Trent University in Peterborough ready to immerse themselves in a week of international lacrosse.
On Monday, still suffering from a lack of sleep and a small amount of jetlag, our two U15 teams and our U18 team took on a well drilled Israel Academy group. All three teams fared well, with one of the U15s teams beating their opposition and whilst the physicality and skill of the Israel girls came as a bit of a shock to our Dragons, new friendships were already being forged within the group and with our opponents and we were feeling ready to give it our all in the festival.
All of the Dragons then managed to catch the evening Puerto Rico vs Haudenosaunee game.
The Dragons took the day to settle in, explore the campus and enjoy a session with Remington Steele, the Wales Senior Women’s Head Coach. It was an interactive session with insight into what it takes to make it to the top of the game, the path ahead and an in-depth discussion on the complexities of the US college system.
In the evening the Dragons travelled to Fleming College to support Wales U19s as they defeated a competitive Czech team 12-10.
With everyone now keen to embark on their festival journey, the tournament kicked off with the U15s playing two games and the U18s facing three tough fixtures from Ontario, Minnesota and Israel. All three teams competed well and finished the day in contention for medals.
Day 2 of the Festival and our U15s were pitched against each other in the opening fixture of the day. The day progressed with further scrimmages against teams from Israel, Ontario,and North London.
Our U18s were coming up against all-star teams from Canada and the US as well as some more familiar faces in Centaurs and Godolphin. The attitude and application from the Dragons, even with a small squad, ensured that with one game to go they could still compete for a medal.
In the evening the girls watched a tough quarter final games for Wales U19, USA moving forward to the semi-finals following their victory.
The u15s finished the festival in four and fifth place in their division.
The U18s final game was against Nova Scotia. With two minutes on the clock and 7-5 down the girls found the will to pull the game back to draw at 7-7 with the reward a place in the semi-finals!
In the evening the Dragons watched Wales secure a 7th place finish against Germany after a tense overtime victory 9-8 to cap off a fantastic world cup for the U19s.
The U18s Dragons started their final day of competition against a very talented Centaurs team. However with the injury’s mounting up our final fixture, against our Minnesota friends, was cancelled.
Whilst the U18s were battling out in their finals day, our U15s took part in a stick session with Remington Steele.
The Dragons then enjoyed the Gold medal match (between reigning champions Canada and the USA) and closing ceremonies.
A short stop at the Mall allowed the Dragons and the coaching staff and opportunity for some retail therapy before travelling back from Toronto to London.
With friends from Israel, Minnesota and Ontario, the Dragons have grown as individuals and within their teams, during this World Championship. Our aims to expose the Dragons to a wider world of lacrosse, to challenge themselves at a higher level, to experience living away together and to bond as a group were all achieved. We would like to thank all of the players and staff for making it happen!
What next for the Dragons?
The Dragons have their next squad weekend on the 31st August at Malvern St James School.
With the Home Internationals being held in Wales next year and a tour to Ireland planned, there are exciting times ahead for everyone involved. If you would like more information on how to get involved please contact Maggie Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.