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:
Mavericks, Ospreys and Bristol Cubs took to the stage at Stoke Mandeville on Saturday to be crowned Lord’s Taverners U18s champions. The Mavericks were made up of junior players from adult clubs, with Solent Sharks, Gloucester, Ospreys and West Coast Crash represented.
In a round robin format clocking three points for a win and one for a loss the teams played each other twice for the chance to top the table to be crowned victors.
Opening the tournament, Mavericks slotted 12 past Bristol’s 5 to take the first three points of the competition.
In the second fixture, Ospreys faced a resilient Bristol side who had a closer endeavour, just losing out 12-8.
Mavericks worked their magic in a nail bitingly tough clash with Ospreys, winning 10-9.
With it being such a hot day, energy levels had started to drop a little until Bristol Cubs led an inter club dance session, which helped to refresh everyone.
A rested Bristol side couldn’t quite see off Mavericks in their return leg conceding 8-13. Bristol were consistent in their point scoring, putting another 8 past their counterparts but this wasn’t enough in another tough battle with Ospreys who won 11-8.
The final fixture was a must win match for Ospreys who lost by just one in the earlier contest against points leaders Mavericks. Unbeaten Mavericks were confident in top position but they also faced the must win pressure as only a win would guarantee gold whereas a loss would draw the table resulting in try difference to decide the champions.
As the match got underway, Ospreys brought the energy to the final with some fantastic surges through the middle and quick intercept play.
With the crowd support lighting up the stadium, Ospreys were victorious posting 15 on the scoresheet against a noble 9 by Mavericks.
Drawing the points table even, Ospreys final fight saw a plus five try difference edging Mavericks into silver position.
One Ospreys player summed up their day, “It’s been a brilliant day, we’re so tired but we got the win in the final against a strong Mavericks team, were all buzzing!”
“This was our 5th National Junior Tournament and it was great to see how the players who played in the first event in the Copper Box in 2015 have developed. We’re not only seeing improved skill levels, we’re now seeing these young people grow in confidence, develop leadership skills and support new and younger members of their clubs. These young people will be the future players, coaches, officials and volunteers of our great sport. A massive thank you to clubs’ coaches and team support staff and to the referees and officials who volunteered their time to ensure the young people can play at these tournaments.” Junior Programme Manager, Stuart McLindon.
Thank you to Lord’s Taverners for their continued support of the Junior Programme.