The only woman in the UK to have played, coached, umpired and officiated at the Lacrosse World Cup, Wendy Reynolds, Director of Sport at Heathfield in Ascot, has been awarded the honour of Umpire Emeritus by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL).
Wendy was presented with the award during a break from her duties at this year’s FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, Surrey, where she was once again right at the heart of the action. Stephen Taylor, FIL Women’s Officiating Chair, described Wendy as a “tireless supporter of the sport whose work has benefited hundreds of participants over the years”.
During the Heathfield summer holiday, Wendy worked from 8am to 8pm every day to help ensure the smooth running of the tournament. Her role as chief mentor/assessor put 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,” Wendy 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,” continued Wendy. “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 two minutes of each half – so each half could last 45 minutes. Then there are two periods of six 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 told my students at Heathfield that they needed 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.”
Now back at school, Wendy is sharing her world-class skills and experience with the lucky Heathfield students who play in the National Schools’ Lacrosse competitions.