On Saturday 29th June, Stoke Mandeville Stadium was host to the Lord’s Taverners Junior Wheelchair Rugby National Championships, which was competed across 2 competitions – for Under 14s and Under 18s. The results can be found here.
Hannah Thompson writes:
Saturday’s clash saw four U14 teams fight it out to be titled Lord’s Taverners Junior Wheelchair Rugby Under 14 Champions.
The day started with some fun warm ups and team building activities to help the players manage their excitement and competition nerves.
Playing first, Scarlets slotted seven past Ospreys to take the opening win of the day, 7-6. The second fixture saw the battle between the Saints as Maplefield Saints fell short against a dominant Northampton Saints losing 5-15. Northampton’s form continued into the third fixture where they eased their way to their second win scoring 11 against Scarlets 4.
Ospreys were eager to close in on Northampton’s lead at the top, taking a win against Maplefield Saints, 13-7. They then faced Northampton Saints in a must win match. The fixture showcased the strength, sportsmanship and skill of both sides, proving an enthralling watch. However, it was Northampton who pipped the score line winning 11-9.
The final group stage match saw Scarlets put their second win on the scoresheet winning 10-7 against Maplefield Saints. This concluded the draw meaning Ospreys and Maplefield Saints would form the third and fourth play-off match, whilst the gold medal match would be between Northampton Saints and Scarlets.
Ospreys saw off Maplefield Saints 11-8 in yet another highly contested fixture to take Bronze. Over in the final, Northampton Saints continued their unbeaten streak, finishing the day in spectacular fashion versus silver medallists Scarlets 10-5.
A Northampton Saints player said “Today is the best day ever, I was really nervous at the start , it’s been great being with my friends and even if we didn’t win, it would still be one of my best days ever!”
Head Coach of winning side Northampton Saints Gary commented: “I am very emotional, they’ve played so well after being so nervous this morning. They have given it everything and I am so proud to see their hard work pay off from the past 12 months. My highlight though must be seeing Korey score his first ever try. We’re just so excited to be going home with the trophy.”
At the tournament, Hollie was telling us about her son and his involvement in wheelchair rugby: “It’s been amazing, he was so nervous at first, I’ve been told he got the try of the tournament, honestly he’s buzzing, the sport gives him confidence and has helped him to overcome sensory issues,he’s got friends true friends that play in a team, and… it’s inspired him so much, it’s made him grow, thank you so much for offering these opportunities they mean so much to us”.
Junior Programme Manager Stuart McLindon added: “It’s been a great day starring four teams in their first competition. We’ve had a lot of nervous young people entering this fantastic but large venue. But, to see them overcome their nerves and gain the confidence to firstly go on to the court and secondly express themselves on the court was truly inspiring. As their confidence grew, we could see their skill levels improve. This is primarily down to the strong coaching, and coaches that have spent so much time developing the players and the game. This tournament provided a competitive opportunity whilst improving skill and confidence that can be taken back to other areas of their lives.”
Thank you to Lord’s Taverners for their continued support of the Junior Programme.