By - Sour
http://www.nutlax.com sat down with our own President of Mens Lacrosse and French International defenseman Robin Webb to talk about his lacrosse history and the 2010-11 season to date and of course we try to get some useless trivia out of him!
Not quite a founding member, but a 3rd year player, Robin Webb came to Newcastle to study Physiotherapy at Northumbria after finishing his first degree in History and Politics at renowned lacrosse institution Sheffield. Now as President of Men’s Lacrosse for NuTLC he bears the responsibility of ensuring a competitive and successful Knights team.
Sour: So Rob, thanks for joining us today. First up - how was your World Championships experience in Manchester, England (sic) this summer?
Robin Webb: To be honest, it was a bit of a mixed bag! On the one hand it was easily one of the best experiences of my life. The social side was amazing. People had come from all corners of the world with one thing in common – a love for lacrosse, whether it was playing, watching or helping out. I also got to play with and against some of the best players in the game which is always a bonus! And I had a blast hanging out and playing with the France team, definitely made some friends for life there. But the downside of the tournament was tearing a ligament in my knee in our second game, which put an end to my tournament and I’m only back playing again now. But the France coaches were great and appointed me as an honorary defensive coach for the rest of the tournament which meant a lot.
S: How did you end up playing for France anyway?
RW: After spending most of my childhood just outside Princeton, New Jersey my parents and I moved to Toulouse in the South West of France when I was 13. I ended up living there before I headed to Sheffield University in 2005.
S: Ok quite the interesting story – tell me about lacrosse at Sheffield uni, it can’t all be Stella Runs and pints of Guinness surely?
RW: There was definitely a lot of Guinness involved, and a lot Wednesday and Saturday nights I can’t remember! But there is also a very strong lacrosse programme, both at the uni itself and the NEMLA team which combines Sheffield Uni and Sheffield Hallam players on Saturdays. As one of the oldest university teams in the country it has had a reputation for years as one of the best places to go for uni and lacrosse. I knew the basics of the game from my time in NJ, but it was in Sheffield where I really learned to play. When I was there we played in NEMLA D3 and D2, and I got to play with and learn from some of the country’s best young players. Because of its history and strong social side, tanger passion runs deep.
S: You must be pretty pleased to see them up there and being fairly competitive in Prem1 this year then?
RW: Happy but jealous. After I graduated in June 2008, they had an influx of Premiership level players, including some England U19s, so the team was almost unstoppable in D3. Within two years they had stormed their way into the Premiership.
S: From one university to another, you’re deeply involved with Northumbria’s lacrosse team. How’s that going so far?
RW: In our first two seasons we lucked out. We had solid backbone of experienced players and some very keen freshers, and managed to reach the BUCS Trophy Final and Semi-Finals in 2009 and 2010 respectively. But this year we’ve had to start from scratch having lost most of our players to graduation or placement years. But it’s going ok so far, we’re 0-2 at the moment but we’ve got some promising players in the making.
S: Good stuff, enough beating round the bush, back to the Knights. Sum up the season so far for us.
RW: With one solid win, one disappointing loss and a walkover, the season so far is pretty hard to sum up! We’ve played some top notch lacrosse at times, but then the rust and cobwebs from the summer have shown at others. But with our new training facilities and new recruits, I’ve got a good feeling.
S: How do you feel that the new lads in silver and black have settled so far this year? Any stand-out performances you’d like to mention?
RW: We’ve had some solid players join the Knights this year who bring different qualities to the table. Having lost a few players over the summer it was key that the new boys settled quickly and brought along their ‘A’ game. Steve Warwick from Sheffield Steelers adds some class and experience to the defence, while the youngster Phil Elwood who played once or twice for us last year has stepped up his defensive game big time. Kyle Standiford (LSM), who played at Amherst in the States, is a groundball eating machine who also brings an air of confidence to the team. Nick Lacey from Rice University had a fantastic first game against Hull, and was missed in midfield against Leeds. John Wheeldon from Brooklands/Durham University has had a solid start to the season, while Rob Corr and Sam Ridgeway played key roles in the games against Hull and Leeds respectively. We’ve yet to see Ben Beattie (Midfield/Attack), Andy Oliver (Midfield) and Alexander Michael (Goalie), all from Sheffield Steelers, in a competitive game due to injuries and family commitments. So the new recruits look promising, and each has definitely earned the honour to don infamous the silver and black.
S: How do you think the league restructure is panning out?
RW: Too early to tell really. We’ve already seen a couple games cancelled in Prem3 and a few uneven matches in some of the other leagues, but hopefully it will even out in the end.
S: Have your hopes/aim for this season changed since the league programme started?
RW: No, not really. I like to aim high and that hasn’t changed. A lot of the teams in Prem3 are the same we’ve played before, or would have met in D4, so there’s not been much change for us.
S: We’ll finish up with some quick(ish) fire questions:
S: What’s your weapon of choice at the minute?
RW: Brine Cyber Pro (tanger) on an STX Scandium d-pole.
S: Your best lacrosse memory?
RW: Playing New Zealand at the Worlds, the Haka was immense.
S: Any nicknames we should be aware of?
RW: Rob, Robbo, Webby, Webbé...never been given a proper nickname!
S: Pre-game meal?
RW: Nutella on toast, banana, tea/coffee.
S: favourite Stevie Wonder song?
RW: Superstition, especially when played by some unknown band in As You Like It.
S: second favourite lacrosse related website (after nutlax.com obviously!)?
RW: www.topjlax.com. Bro or no? Definitely bro.
S: Favourite 2 colours?
RW: Tough call. 1) Silver. 2) Tanger.
S: thanks very much Rob, catch you later
RW: Safe mate, see you on the field.
We’ll be meeting more of the Knights and Lady Knights(!) as we move through the season. Check back regularly for more news and views.
Previews, match reports and general musings from the Toon and beyond.