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Fixture Congestion - A Squeeze on the Clubs

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Kari Gosnay-Jones
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Fixture Congestion - A Squeeze on the Clubs

Postby Kari Gosnay-Jones Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:27 am

Yesterday my team had an away game against Leeds, we turned up with 13 players, normally we have to have a selection discussion and have a couple of people on a reserves list, so that means we reguarlly play with 18. This week was a nightmare. Eventually we got to Leeds and won the game but here are the events that led up to this.

There is Regional Centex tournament today (Sun 15th November) in Reading, which means all those girls that take part in regional centex got "selected" to play in the tournament, there is more than 1 team per regional and in the email from Anne Smith, it is not selected, it is on a "First Come, First Served basis" so it is technically not a selected event, it is the first people that pay their money. :shock:

So that hit Stockport Club team very hard. It took 6 girls out of Senior Club team for selection, coupled with it being Junior Scotland weekend, another 4 girls being lost and suddenly you are left thinking "Why do I bother working so hard on the Junior program if they are going to be pulled away from the club which actually taught them to play lacrosse?". Clearly you cannot make these U18s-U16s girls choose, clearly they are excited to play for Centex, but the club is left dealing with this.

We have 3-4 clashing dates like this during the year, where if you have a successful Junior program that is producing girls that are capable of playing a reperesentive levels, you effectively get penalised, turning the North league into a fixtures lottery, with the clashes like these having effectively having an impact on the title contenders, which makes it difficult for up and coming teams, like Stockport, to break the status quo that older teams have.

I don't think it is right and I believe that there is little to no appreciation of the club system in the North and role it plays in Junior development.

Is this a problem in other parts of the country too?
Kari Gosnay-Jones
Stockport Lacrosse Club

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chippie
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Re: Fixture Congestion - A Squeeze on the Clubs

Postby chippie Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:47 pm

Kari Gosnay-Jones wrote:Is this a problem in other parts of the country too?


I guess this does not impact other parts of the coutry as much as there is less junior club stuff outside the north....
as most 'south' junior lacrosse is mainly based around school fixtures rather than club, therefore there are usually more girls playing and if players are missing from '1st' teams there are usually enough numbers to play from the school.

The club teams south play on sundays...might be an idea to ask some of them if they get affected as well..?

I think fixture congestion is hard as there is more competitions being played as the sport grows, look at the north league...almost no free weekends with the introduction of new clubs, and other weekends are taken by representative lacrosse....The senior fixture list works around these rep lacrosse fixtures, so if you have a number of younger players in your senior team they will be affected.

I think its a good question to ask but not very easy to answer......

maybe a longer season?
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Postby UKLacrosse Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:23 pm

This comes back to the established structure of the women's game in this country.
Junior lacrosse has been almost exclusively schools and heavily weighted/ influenced by the south.
Senior lacrosse has been more focused on representative lacrosse as can be seen from the fixture list. Women's club lacrosse is limited in the scheme of things. Just count the number of clubs in the country, and the number of fixtures which are played. The conflict that Kari is describing comes from how the women's game in the north is developing, with junior programmes within those clubs. There are also less schools in the north playing.
To add to the problem, women's lacrosse at university has been neglected to cope on its own for a long time. Therefore its hardly surprising that the men's game which has only really started being re-established at university, is now outpacing the women's game, and already has far more players, and that's in less than 5 years.
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Kari Gosnay-Jones
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Postby Kari Gosnay-Jones Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:23 am

I spoke to my Junior U16 Manager over the course of the weekend, she has had to cancel a number of fixtures due to not enough players being available from both teams to play an U16 game due representative training or the Centex tournament on Sunday. The centex tournament, would have been much better placed after Christmas, maybe on the Senior Territorial Weekend, surely the ELA now have enough full time employees to organise and run both these events!

Chippie, you are right there is a great deal of representative lacrosse going on. It means that the girls that are high achievers and above average are getting a great deal of lacrosse but the girls that are good junior club players do not, until the numbers of players increase in these age groups, it will be very difficult to run both events. I am afraid this recruitment will not be done by coaching pop lacrosse - Another Bug bare!

Another thing to be aware of, is that in the North, as soon as you come out of the U16 age group, you are a fully fledged Senior not a U18 so JTTs competition should be treated as a Senior tournament, with no North league fixture being played on this weekend.

The JTTs can also affect a large number of Junior club players because of the addition of the B Squad tournament. This addition is excellent news, which is a great, it helps girls bridge the gap between county and territorial, but it does mean that if you have a successful junior program then you will be impacted again. Not so bad this year as JTTs are in the North, so those girls involved on Sunday, should be available to the clubs on Saturday and not travelling down to the other end of the country.
Kari Gosnay-Jones
Stockport Lacrosse Club

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Postby chippie Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:38 pm

as the sport grows especially at club level there will always be gaps to fill...you have found one...and as you say there needs to be more in these groups to get the competition for them....goes back to the problem of school lacrosse down south vs junior club lacrosse up north

Who does the north league fixtures? are there specific fixtures for north juniors? how do the other north junior teams cope?
"Train to win, Play to win" "Shoot first. Ask questions later"

"the way to beat a tight crease is a quick stick"

It's not the team with the best athletes, it's the athlete's with the best team

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Postby Kari Gosnay-Jones Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:30 pm

The Junior fixtures are completed by a volunteer called Jane Rawlings, she works in conjunction with the North Junior Clubs and Schools committee, to produce a program for fixtures for the North Junior Club League.

U16s, U12s fixtures run on 1 weekend, U14s run on the next weekend, allowing U14s to play up in the U16 age group. Matches are organised as triangular fixtures so if a team is short they can join up with 1 of the other teams to ensure all girls that want a game can get a game.

The problem is when representive lacrosse and this weekend's centex tournament comes along, there are not enough people left to even fill 2 teams, this was the case this Sunday. The regular club player tends to miss out. We run into this trouble around this time every year, which means it becomes difficult to keep some girls interested if the continuity is not available.

The other problem as mentioned another post is the variety of competition. We very much want to enter school tournaments to provide us with that variety. Still waiting to hear from the WPC on that one.

Maybe the answer is try to pre-empt and idenify these low number weekends based on experience from this year and all North League U16 fixtures are held at one venue and whoever turns up is organised into teams, with coaches assigned to each team.
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Stockport Lacrosse Club

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Postby fizz Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:02 pm

I can only see this issue getting a lot worse before it gets better.

A suggestion i can see would be to reduce the length of the season and shift it slightly, I understand especially in the north that most of the clubs are linked with cricket clubs so there is not a lot of room to move here, but there is room to move in the short term if we split the league into divisions, not the farce that happened a couple of years ago when it was split down the middle. Split the league into 2 working divisions based on ability. This does not need to be an even split either, no harm in having 7 in one and 5 in another, or even 8 and 4. Games would be competative with room to fixture in counties, centex etc.

Before I get the screams, 4 in a league whilst it isn't ideal, is fine and works. My entire senior club carreer in aus was played with only 4 teams in my league.

What was a major sucess about the split league a few years ago was the final series held at liverpool. Tournament style, there was spectators from other clubs, there were referrees, and there were good games. Everyone I spoke to also said it was a great day.

This then brings me to my next suggestion which would work is to play tournament style for each fixture. Each week a club is allocated to host the womens game, Each team gets allocated a time slot to play and each team will then also have allocated to them a game (not their own) in which they must provide a referee. It would solve a lot of problems, firstly the referreing problem, it would give the opportunity for those needing to improve to have people teach them. Secondly it would bring all teams together so there is support. Thirdly it also gives the opportunity to get behind northern clubs as the host club can make money out of the day. If grounds are a problem then why dont we be radical and shift to Sunday matches, they do this down south? It would support our juniors as they could be fixtured in in the mornings and seniors in the afternoon from 12.

This format does work as it is the format currently used in Victoria.
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Postby chippie Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:20 pm

4 in a league is not ideal...but can work if played more than 2 rounds
Tournament end is always great for getting support and spectators

tri-angular games do work....the south west league plays these at the moment. The problem of league length is solved as it would shorten the number of fixture dates. Also means all umpires for each game would be neutral and teams would save money on traveling

shifting to sunday would still have some of the same problems.....with clashes with rep lacrosse, most of which last over the weekend!

I dont think the current format is bad...fixtures just need sorting not to clash with rep lacrosse...junior or senior!
"Train to win, Play to win" "Shoot first. Ask questions later"

"the way to beat a tight crease is a quick stick"

It's not the team with the best athletes, it's the athlete's with the best team

My views and opinions are my own and do not reflect views or opinions of any other club, organisation, institution.
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Kari Gosnay-Jones
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Postby Kari Gosnay-Jones Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:07 pm

Fizz, I always love your suggestions. I know we have talked about this idea a number of times.

I love the idea of 2 leagues, seeding can made at the start of the season with a seeding tournament.
- Highly competitive games everytime you play.
- Frees up weekends to set up additional B Squad fixtures or U18 Fixtures
- No League matches on representative weekends
- Tournament weekends can be added back into the season which allows cross over games to occur.

I thought the playoff tournament day we had in the North was excellent, building on the back of a final 4 idea or Flags concept. That day was great fun (although we lost in the 3/4th playoff). It has got so much more mileage in it as well, with a league party possibly in the evening, with Junior matches going on too. Plus again opportunties for umpires to take the next step, to be selected for the "big" playoff games and be recognised for the excellent work they do.

2 games at one location is also a good idea, however, as the weather gets worse it is more difficult to get a groundsmen to agree to that, however, as there are less fixtures, the pitch does have more time to recover.

I would like to keep league lacrosse on a Saturday, Saturday is for having Lax fun, Sunday is for coaching or recovering.

I would most definitely, put another proposal together for the next North League meeting.
Kari Gosnay-Jones
Stockport Lacrosse Club

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Postby fizz Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:13 pm

Agreed when 4 in a league we used to play 3 or 4 rounds depending on the season length.

My reasoning for moving to sunday is up north most clubs are assosiated with mens clubs, I know at HM we have 2 pitches with 1 womens team and 5 mens teams, not to mention junior teams. So whilst there would still be the weekends for national committments if the amount of games played is reduced it would free up these weekends. Also leaving room for rearranged games, for which there is little room now. I personally prefer to have my sundays off, but have also played many games with a hang over!

If the domestic competition is improved then the need for training weekends is reduced as the jump from club to territorial then national would not be so steep.

The current format is fine if there were less teams, but as there are so many and we want to increase numbers then it needs to be modified. But we need to not exclude the juniors (u12/u14), currently they play sunday mornings, with a few volunteers hitting their heads against a brick wall. Bring everyone together on the one day and create a unity.

Kari I agree with the groundsman problem, but if not playing every week then this could definitely be a bargaining chip. No reason why clubs couldn't work together to joint host a round if in the local area. timperly/brooklands then HM/Stockport . But if the amount of games are less then the grounds will recover better.

That day in liverpool was fun but we too lost!!! in the 1/2 play off. I know we have discussed this many a trip to north games! but it is now getting silly something needs to be done. ....
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Postby Sour37 Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:26 pm

The congestion also makes it very difficult for new sides to arrange friendlies etc

We're in the process of adding a ladies team in Newcastle, and just missed the deadline for entry into the league...so as a result the decision was taken to defer entry for a season, play some friendlies and tournaments and get the name out....however the girls have as yet been unable to play any friendlies due to the number of games in the league programme....and as such are starting to lose numbers week by week.

Hopefully we'll still have the numbers next season to join the league!
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