Hull LC – Survival Outside the Manchester Circle

I had a chance to chat to Gareth Cornelius from Hull LC. I’ve known Gareth for about a year now and have been hearing great things about the growth of the sport up in his neck of woods. So we got a hold of him to find out some behind the scenes of the Hull LC success.

VG: Gareth my man. It’s crazy to think that just a year ago we were down at Charter House teaching some camps together for the ELA! I remember mentioning this “little venture called ArchLevel Lacrosse” and how we were thinking about MAYBE doing some clinics or something. Crazy what a year does! Speaking on the topic of progress…the Hull lax scene seems to be blowing up! How’s everything going up there lately?

GC: It is just about a year ago, seems so much longer given how things have developed! Lacrosse is now on the radar in Hull. The club is now known of in local print media, we are promoting ourselves far and wide and we are getting people from the local community interested in the game and in playing the game! On the junior end it’s a slow burner! We are up against some big sports. Hull City AFC in football and two rugby league teams in Hull FC & Hull KR present a significant opponent to growing lacrosse, but we shall persist!

VG: Seems like the “slow burning” issue on the junior side is a common one when talking to clubs; we have no doubt that you guys will make it happen though! So talk to us about the atmosphere up there with the club. Have you guys established any types of traditions or anything yet that are “HULL LAX” specific?

GC: No traditions yet really. We have the standard post-game Man-of-the-Match and D**k-of-the-Day awards – I suppose one tradition is that one of the twins who plays for us gets a lot of votes for DotD – Debutants sink a pint as well! The team captain Jack Stamford is trying to change pre-game stuff – things like team meeting before we take to the field, leave the changing rooms together as a unit! One thing that is growing amongst the squad is an obsession with black & orange, our club colours. One of our players is a trainee teachers and has been spotted at school wearing an orange shirt, with orange tie and a black jumper! The clubs colours are the obsession!

VG: Those pre-game rituals are always huge assets for team building and creating that “movement” mentality for a team. Great to hear! So with the sport established in the area now and the obvious growth that it is having; what are the future plans for Hull?

GC: There are a number of key things we are hoping to address over the next couple of seasons. Number one on the list is finding a permanent home ground. At present we play home games at the University of Hull and it makes it difficult to publicise where we are to get even a small crowd of people watching! A permanent home would also allow us to generate income from having a clubhouse. Number two on the to-do-list is develop more local talent. At present we rely heavily on students from the University. But with University holidays not always fitting in with a NEMLA season they are unreliable. We don’t benefit from players with experience arriving in Hull, every player to have pulled on the jersey has been taught the game upon arrival here in Hull. In the case of students, every year we lose the most experienced. Developing our own talent and will help to sustain the club for longer. The last thing we plan to establish is our junior section. At present we plan to run juniors through the summer, to remove competition from more popular sports. We are too far removed from Greater Manchester that there is no need to fit with Junior North competitions. This means we can do things our way. The plan is to create satellite clubs for juniors, and when they hit 16, they feed into the club, firstly through Under 19s, who probably will play in Junior North competition, and then into the senior squad. I think we need 3 years to achieve this if I’m being realistic!

VG: Well it sounds like you guys have a solid plan up there and know exactly where you want the program to go! That’s really cool to hear. From your personal perspective from your involvement with Hull and other lacrosse programs, what is some advice that you’d offer to someone who is looking to start-up lacrosse in their local area like you have with Hull?

GC: With regard to starting a club, there are some great people within the ELA who can help you, like Dave Coldwell. Not only did he offer support and advice from an ELA point of view, he too has started a club and was able to help with the necessary documents needed at the outset – constitution, development strategy, etc. If you want your club to build-up a development strategy, again the ELA can help, but your county sport partnership are the ones who can open the door to schools, funding and resources you are going to need!

It’s been stressful getting Hull to where we are and there is still lots to do, above all, keeping playing, or else the enjoyment will go out of the game! Be realistic about what you hope to achieve, but dream! Hull is a bit of a personal project, only now are others getting involved, but I know where I want this club to be others now share the vision!

VG: Well you are obviously dedicated to the sport my man and it’s awesome to hear about everything that’s going on up at Hull! Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us Gareth. Any parting words for the ArchLevel Lax community?

GC: Up the Black & Orange Army & Yorkshire Lax rules! Got ’em!

Gareth has been playing for 4 years for Hull University and now Hull LC. He started out as an attacker and now play defense so he brings that knowledge of the full game to his work. He’s Chairman & Head of Junior Development for Hull LC and is also a committee member for Yorkshire County Lacrosse Association where his responsibilities are the Yorkshire squad & Yorkshire tournaments.

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