Ospreys and Norfolk Knights took the top spots at the first 2019 Wheelchair Rugby 5s tournament, held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. The Premiership met on the 18th May, and the Championship met the following day. View the 2019 league table, including links to full game results.
With last year’s Premiership Champions, Ospreys, entering two teams into the top division this season, you would be forgiven for thinking that they might have weakened their first team. However, this wasn’t the case, with Ospreys A dominating and winning all of their games.
The first pool games on the Saturday saw last years’ Championship Champions, Northampton Saints, take on the current Premiership Champions Ospreys A in the opening game from Pool A, ending with a comfortable win for the Welsh side 30-9. The opening game from Pool B saw the 2018 Premiership runners up Leicester Tigers, take a commanding win over Ospreys second team, Ospreys B.
Stoke Mandeville Maulers, playing at their home venue, opened their season against the West Country Hawks; with both teams missing players this was a close match, however the Hawks were the eventual winners. Over in Pool B, the newly rebranded Bournemouth Lions faced off against Team Solent Sharks, in a battle of the South Coast clubs. Again it was a close game, with the Lions roaring loudest to take the win 19-15.
The crossover games followed, where Ospreys took a comfortable win over the Tigers in the final. At the other end of the table, the race for 7th was won by Team Solent Sharks, leaving Ospreys B with work to do if they are to avoid relegation to the Championship this season.
The Championship saw six new teams competing for the first time in the WR5s Summer League, with the Newcastle Falcons eventually finishing highest out of all of the debutant teams.
The opening games saw Bournemouth Lions’ second team, Bournemouth Rising, open with a win over new team Hatfield Comets in Pool A. Pool B opened with a close game between Norfolk Knights and Newcastle Falcons, with the Knights coming out on top 20-17.
The second games of the day saw Woodbridge Wheeled Warriors take on Coventry WRC. This again was another close fought game, with the new comers Coventry WRC, coming out on top. Meanwhile, the Berkshire Banshees were starting their season against H4H Endeavour from Plymouth. It was a tough fought game for the military team from the South West, going down 22-14.
Pool B had thrown up some surprises with three teams all finishing on seven points, meaning the pool standings would come down to points scored, with the Falcons topping Pool B.
The games at both the top and the bottom were tight, end–to-end matches, with the Knights beating the Falcons in the final by one point, 16-15, to top the division. It was the same story for the race for 7th, with Rising just taking the win against the Comets, 15-14.
After an exciting first tournament, the clubs’ focus now shifts to the second WR5s tournament where the 16 teems will again reassemble at Stoke Mandeville;, will the Ospreys and the Knights continue their good form, or will one of the chasing pack take the top spot? Get yourselves down to Stoke Mandeville Stadium on the 13th & 14th July to find out!