Bernd Best 2015 – Q+A Write Up
The world’s largest wheelchair rugby tournament has concluded and London Lions are champions!
Not only did they top the Champions League, they did it undefeated. Now, for the first time in a while, we can add another Bernd Best 1st Place Trophy to our collection. Although the final wasn’t the one I was hoping for, Crash vs Lions, it was defiantly still worth a watch.
This year was a first for sending two teams. Our second team Storm entered in the Professional League and rolled away with 6th. Read what the big boss, Steve Palmer, had to say on the results and tournament itself…
Q. After attending numerous Bernd Best Tournaments, how did this year’s compare?
A. For two completely different reasons this year’s Bernd Best will rank as one of the best in LWRC history. Obviously the Lions won the final which helped make it a memorable one. We also had the Storm playing in the Professional league. This is the first time we've ever taken two teams. It wasn't easy for either team but both were successful in their individual goals and came away happy.
Q. What are your thoughts on the performance of both teams?
A. The Lions team played as I hoped they would. A team with multiple Paralympians should be competing in finals and to win it justified the quality of players assembled. The Storm team was all about development of new players. Matt Hignett showed a consistency to his play that I've not seen from him before and was our Man of the match in a number of games. Mick O'Hanlon had a shakey start but from 1st game to last was the player that improved the most and finished strong. Dave Goddard is for me one of the most underrated players in our league. Mr reliable game after game and rarely in the wrong place. I think this was an ideal place for all 3 players to grow and they did.
Q. How does it feel to be back bringing home a Bernd Best 1st Place trophy?
A. Bringing home the BB trophy is pretty sweet feeling. Having won it several times before I feel that it's been a competition that we haven't peaked at the right time to win on enough occasions. Last year we finished in 3rd spot after injury to Mandip Sehmi left us under strength. Crash went on to win this unchallenged at any point. Maybe could have changed that. I'm sure many thought that London had seen its glory days and that they couldn't compete anymore......GUESS WHAT!
Q. What’s next on the agenda?
A. Next on the agenda is to secure first division rugby for both teams in GBWR's league in Stoke on Trent April 18th-19th. Storm are already safe but a few more points on the board would keep Crusaders competing in the top division.
Also the Nationals cup is coming up 2nd-4th of May at the Copper Box. London will have two teams competing for this trophy.
The climax of our season will be our elite team competing in the Europa Cup hosted by Crash at the tail end of June. If we're successful in these two competitions I think we can be happy with one hell of a season.