Newly formed British teams top men’s, women’s podiums at first World Lacrosse Sixes event of 2022
VILA REAL DE SANTO ANTÓNIO, Portugal – The Great British men’s and women’s teams held the top two positions on both the men’s and women’s podiums following three days of intense play at the inaugural EuroLax Sixes Cup here at the Vila Real de Santo António Sports Complex.
Organized by Portugal Lacrosse and the European Lacrosse Federation with support from World Lacrosse, the EuroLax Sixes Cup included 30 games played over three days, featuring athletes from 14 countries. A total of 766 goals were scored (392 for men, 374 for women) in the fast-paced discipline, which is played in 8-minute quarters.
With Great Britain split into two squads for both tournaments, the strength of both the men’s and women’s programs was on full display today. GB White won by a score of 21-11 over GB Red to capture the men’s title powered by the play of dynamic goalie Hal Dwobeng (England) and anchored by a strong offense. On the women’s side, veteran Laura Warren (Wales) and the blue team shined with their stick skills and sharing of the ball, leading to a 14-11 championship victory over GB Red.
Switzerland rounded out the men’s podium with a 12-7 victory over Team Europe in the bronze medal match, while England’s U23 squad put up a dominant effort to overcome Germany, 20-3, in the women’s bronze medal fixture.
Formed last year to manage teams participating in international multi-sport events, British Lacrosse combines three powerhouse lacrosse countries – England, Scotland and Wales – all among the top 15 in the world for both men and women. Much was on the line for the British players in Portugal, with the Sixes Cup serving as a final evaluation to select rosters for The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, where World Lacrosse Sixes will make its multi-sport event debut this summer.
The four British squads were among 14 teams from all over Europe that played in the EuroLax Sixes Cup, which served as the opening event of the 2022 Sixes calendar and was the first international Sixes event held in Portugal. The tournament also marked the international debut for a Portuguese national team, with the men’s squad earning its first win, a 7-6 victory over Belgium to earn a spot in the fifth-place game.
GB White’s Mike Pomfret (England) led the men’s tournament with 20 goals, while GB Red’s Alex Russell (England) and Germany’s Justin Wismer tied for second with 19 goals apiece. On the women’s side, GB Blue’s Tilly Shires (England) led the tournament with 22 goals – including four in the championship game – while teammate Claire Faram (England) was second with 16 and GB Red’s Torz Anderson (England) sat third with 15.
Dwobeng said: “This has been thoroughly enjoyable from the first game to the last. After two years of no events, Portugal Lacrosse and ELF have done this so well, it’s been brilliant. Sixes is such a good spectator sport – the speed and dynamic with the shot clock makes for great viewing – and for anyone who wants to pick up the game, it’s such an exciting way to play. Being part of the foundations of the future of the sport is very special.”
Anderson said: “Playing at the EuroLax Sixes Cup has been an incredible experience; playing for GB has been such an honor, but it has also been an amazing honor to play against other Sixes teams from all over Europe with such a high standard of competition. I love the fast, physical and creative elements of the Sixes format and think there’s such an exciting future for lacrosse hopefully entering the Olympics one day. To play for my country at the greatest sporting event in the world would be an absolute dream come true and it’s amazing to think that we are so close to making this dream a reality for so many lacrosse athletes across the world and for generations to come.”
ELF President Steph Migchelsen said: “ELF is pleased with our first European Sixes event. It has been a huge success and we’ve seen some amazing play from the elite England and GB teams. Importantly, we’ve also seen impressive play and development from our smaller and younger lacrosse nations, like Belgium and Portugal. Sixes has shown that all teams can play, not just those aiming for the Olympics, but also those looking to grow the game. Many thanks to the excellent organization from Portugal Lacrosse and O-Sports; World Lacrosse for their support of this event; and all the officials, volunteers and teams for their participation.”
Belgium’s Marijke Thys said: “This was a great learning experience. It was really nice to see everyone grow and understand the Sixes rules better. For people not familiar with the sport, it will be really fun to watch because it’s a high scoring game, is really fun to play and everyone gets into the game.”
Over the course of the week, World Lacrosse also delivered a series of free clinics for primary and secondary students. Nearly 150 students had the opportunity to experience lacrosse for the first time, learn essential skills and enjoy friendly competition.
Portugal Lacrosse President Pedro Machado said: “This was a major step to introduce lacrosse into schools in the southern part of the country. We have never seen so many young and talented children excited with the possibility of playing lacrosse in Portugal, and we can’t thank the WL team enough for their commitment to the game and for delivering such memorable lacrosse clinics.”