19 October 2022
The StoneX in London; a state-of-the-art sports stadium home to Saracens Rugby Club and with a capacity of 10, 500. Rather than Premiership rugby, however, Wednesday 19th October saw it host Berkhamsted’s Lacrosse 1st X and Rugby 1st XV in back-to-back games against St Catherine’s School and Clifton College respectively.
A match at the StoneX has been on the 1st XV’s fixture list for some years now, but this was the first time that they were joined by the Lacrosse 1st X.
“Having the opportunity to play in such a big stadium in front of our friends and families was an honour and memory everyone will never forget. Being the first lacrosse team to compete at the StoneX was a privilege,” said Ellie, 1st X captain. “I also think it was great for younger players to be able to watch the 1st team play, and get an idea of what they could be aspiring to in the future.
“One of the biggest highlights for me was being able to show people who had never see lacrosse before what a great sport it is, and prove that it is as important as any other sport, as well as showing all the hard work that the team had put into training to get us to where we are.”
The matches were watched by no less than six busloads of pupils and members of staff, along with a very healthy showing of parents and Old Berkhamstedians, which meant that despite the stadium being a neutral venue, the atmosphere was very much that of a home game. “The highlight of the game was when we first ran out with the crowd roaring,” said James, 1st XV captain, “it gave me goosebumps.”
The crowd were treated to two high-quality matches and the evening was a real celebration of school sport and provided an excellent opportunity for our rugby and lacrosse players to showcase their ability in front of peers, teachers and parents.
Once the matches were finished, it gave those involved a chance to reflect on what they had experienced. “We were all very happy with ourselves because of how we played together and how hard we worked,” said Ellie, “and I really enjoyed watching everyone else play the sport they loved.”
“It was such an amazing chance to play in a stadium like that in front of friends and family, as well as the chance to hopefully inspire other people to try out new sports,” added James.
For those in Year 13, the StoneX fixture also served as a pinnacle of their sporting careers at Berkhamsted, and all that they have learned from school sport.
“I think Berkhamsted rugby has made me more confident and has helped me make a lot of friends,” said James.
“Being part of such a great lacrosse team has taught me a lot; being able to work with different people, perseverance and diligence when it matters most,” added Ellie.
Both teams and their captains can be extremely proud of how they conducted themselves on and off the field, and they have taken a great deal from what was an unforgettable experience. Thanks must also be given to all at Saracens and the StoneX for hosting the matches, to staff involved in coaching the teams, and to all those who came along to support.