Lower sixth Xaverian student Josh Poke was part of the England team that were recently crowned Under 20’s European Lacrosse Champions.
The week-long tournament took place in Prague in the Czech Republic with eight countries represented. In two pools, the eight teams fought for positioning and for a coveted place in the first ever Under 20s Men’s European Championship Final. England played three pool games, winning two comprehensively but losing to Germany. These results were good enough to earn them a place in a quarter final, leading to a semi-final where they met Ireland, winning with a golden goal in overtime.
Josh played two roles throughout the tournament, one as a defender and one as LSM (Long Stick Middie), switching between the two as necessary during play. Playing with confidence after his performances in previous games and his first international goal, scoring being unusual for a defender, he played his part in a final where the odds were against the young England side. Up against Germany again, England had fallen behind 5-2 by half time and nerves were rattling. In a close fought third quarter Germany stubbornly maintained the upper hand, matching England goal-for-goal. However, persistence paid off and momentum eventually shifted in England’s favour in the last quarter. Both high quality defending and a string of big shots culminated in a sensational comeback where England overcame Germany to win the final 8-9.
Josh said,”I am so proud that I played a part in such a hardworking and dedicated team, we depended on each other for this win and preparation is what made the difference”. England Lacrosse commented, “the win marked a remarkable achievement for a side younger than many of their opposition players, with all the England squad eligible for next year’s U19 World Championship” – the future looks bright!
If you are interested in watching any of the games from the 2019 U20s European Championships they are all available by clicking here.
If you are interested in playing lacrosse, there is a concentration of teams in the North West of England (Brooklands, Timperley, Heaton Mersey, Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport etc) so there will be both male and female teams somewhere near you.
Some photos used with kind permission of shutterlax.com