Heathfield school teacher to play leading role in the Lacrosse World Cup

Wendy Reynolds, the only woman in the UK to have played, coached, umpired and officiated at the Lacrosse World Cup, will once again be right at the heart of the action when this preeminent international women’s tournament between 28 countries takes place in the UK next month.

During a break from her day job as Director of Sport at Heathfield School, London Road, Ascot, a leading independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11-18, Wendy will help to ensure the smooth running of the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, Surrey (July 12-22) Her role as chief mentor/assessor puts her in charge of all the umpires and the off field technical delegates who are allocated to each team and who act as ‘a fourth official’ in handling any disputes or issues.

Wendy has been part of the Lacrosse World Cup since 1993 when she first appeared as goalkeeper for the England team – a position she held for 13 years, winning silver and bronze medals. But despite hanging up her goalie stick, she hasn’t missed an event since – there’s a senior world cup every four years and an U19 competition every two years, making this her 13th event.

For me the game is unlike any other – involving both athleticism and tactics,” she said. “As a goalie I also needed mental toughness and good reactions. I’m a great team player and lacrosse is a real team game – the best team will always win by pulling together and wanting it the most; having a couple of star players isn’t enough.

“Lacrosse has taken me all over the world, including trips to Australia, Japan, Canada, and the USA , but you can’t get much better than a tournament in your own country.

“This is the third time the Championships have been held in England, providing a great opportunity to watch the best players in the world. You need to be very fit to be successful as we play 30 minute halves where the clock is stopped after every goal and on every whistle during the last 2 minutes of each half– so each half could last 45 minutes. Then there are two periods of 6 minutes overtime if a match is drawn. After that we go to ‘golden goal’ where the team who scores first is the winner. At the last U19 event England and Australia went to a sixth period of golden goal!

“I’ve told my students at Heathfield that they need to come and watch and learn! It’s a great spectator sport, a very fast game. When shooting the ball can travel at some 50 miles an hour with players also running behind the goal and standing when the whistle goes, which makes it all very interesting.

“We are hoping for some television coverage which will help raise the profile of the sport in our bid to become recognised as an Olympic sport.”

Wendy will be on hand from July 6 to welcome and brief the other officials, then busy from 8am to 8pm every day of the tournament.

Then it’s back to school in September where the lucky Heathfield students who play in the National Schools’ Lacrosse competitions can learn from her world-class skills and experience.

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