Niche sport gains a foothold at Blackfriars

When it comes to the sport of lacrosse, Blackfriars is scoring some big goals.

Over the past four years, lacrosse has had a resurgence at the school, with more than 30 players expected to don the Hounds’ black and blue in 2024.

Last winter, the school fielded an U8 side, two U11s and an U13 team.

Blackfriars parent Luke Oswald, together with old scholar Matthew Larwood (BPS’89), has overseen the growth of the sport at the school, in association with the Eagles (West Torrens) Lacrosse Club.

Mr Oswald, who has played lacrosse for more than 30 years, said back in the 1980s and 1990s, lacrosse was big at Blackfriars.

One of the Blackfriars teams during a home game in 2023. Picture: Chris North/Eagles Lax Photos

“The West Torrens Club were the strongest team in probably Australia, certainly South Australia, in the ’90s … and the core of them were Blackfriars kids,” Mr Oswald said.

“There has certainly been quite a lot of good lacrosse players from Blackfriars.”

He said lacrosse was a perfect fit in a school environment.

“I’ve had a background in developing the sport and I think it should be a school sport,” he said.

“I think because it’s a well-kept secret, people don’t know what it is, that if you have a school program, you can grow the profile of the sport. Otherwise, it’s hard to get lacrosse out there, particularly when you’re competing with a lot of other sports for attention.

“At the moment, Blackfriars is the only boys’ school program in the competition, but I am hoping that this example will encourage other clubs to start programs in schools as well.”

Some of the 2023 U11s in action. Picture: Chris North/Eagles Lax Photos

In the younger age groups – U8 and U11 – lacrosse is a non-contact sport, with an emphasis on getting everyone involved in the games.

“The good thing with the U8s is that they’re not competing with other (winter) sports … so hopefully we’ll be able to pick up a couple more U8s and just keep that continuity,” Mr Oswald said.

“I’m a bit obsessed with it, to be honest, but it’s a great sport. The older boys are good, but they have the potential to be really good if they stick around and keep playing.”

Ultimately, Mr Oswald would like to take a Blackfriars team to the US to compete against our sister school, Fenwick High, a Dominican school in Chicago.

“I am hoping in a few years’ time that we would have enough boys that we could take a team over and play against them … I’d really like to see that happen.”

Go Hounds! Picture: Chris North/Eagles Lax Photos

In 2023, Blackfriars student Jonathan “Jono” Bunyon (Year 10) was part of the winning SA Stingrays at the Under 15 National Championships in Ballarat.

“I love lacrosse because of its physicality and because it is a great team sport,” Jono said.

“If Blackfriars boys are looking for a sport that’s a bit different, I would really encourage them to have a try.”

Anyone interested in playing lacrosse for Blackfriars can contact Luke Oswald at [email protected]

Jono Bunyon in action for SA and, inset, with his fellow State team members.

Who is Wes Green?

Wes Green might be one of Blackfriars’ biggest sporting names you’ve never heard of.

Playing for West Torrens Lacrosse Club during his Blackfriars years, Green (BPS’99) went on to play for Adelphi University, New York, where he earned several accolades, including Player of the Year in 2006.

That same year, he set a school record for single-season goals (62) and most Division II career goals (149). He was named the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of The Year.

Green also played professional lacrosse in the US. He was part of Major League Lacrosse sides the Denver Outlaws, Los Angeles Riptide and Long Island Lizards and played for the Washington Stealth and San Jose Stealth in the National Lacrosse League.

He represented Australia at the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships in London, Ontario.  


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