Mazovia Cup 2018
This past weekend London competed in the 2018 Mazovia Cup, Legionowo, Poland. Situated just to the north of Warsaw, London knew the tournament well after their previous outing in 2016. With reasonable success last time finishing 6th, the brief this time around was to utilise the tournament as a build up to Super Series 1. Captained by Chris Ryan freshly back after leading Great Britain at the World Championships and stalwart Jonathan Coggan, meant plenty of experience and leadership was readily on hand for the other London players.
After a lengthy delay on the flight, arriving at Warsaw airport highlighted the first casualty of the season - a broken rugby chair! Damage sustained meant it looked like Matt Hignett would be out of the weekend. In typical London fashion, the team didn’t panic and a few phone calls later there was a welder booked for the next morning.
Arriving at the tournament players and staff familiarised themselves with the sports hall and a team meeting quickly ensued followed by kitting up ready to face the first opponents, Germany Development. A cagey start by London as the first quarter ticked by, players were soon getting back into competitive rugby after months off court. A new London addition over the summer, David Ross, quickly settled into London’s rugby mentality and clearly looked at home in the black playing vest.
By the 4th quarter, London were pulling away and a freshly welded rugby chair had arrived back at the gym. After a chair safety check by London’s head mechanic Doz, a quick substitution moments later and everyone had got a few vital minutes under their belt. A typical cool down and debrief commenced so that we could go into the next game later in the day knowing where we could seek some improvement.
The second and final game of the day was against a strong State Toulousain Handisport (STRH) squad with French high pointer Jonathan Hivernat leading the offence. This game would dictate the placement within the pool and therefor, who London would face in the semi final. In a challenging game which saw seasoned player Dave Goddard seamlessly swapping in and out with GB star Coggan, everyone was giving their all. Going into the half time break London were level, however the second half saw the French outfit eek out a lead.
Never to be deterred from improvement, a hopeful squad retired for the evening. A win against the Danish Talent team in the morning could set up a rematch with the French outfit in tomorrows final.
Sunday morning rolled round and the squad playing in the days opening encounter arguably had their eyes fixated too heavily on getting to the final opposed to task in hand. After the first quarter the Danish team were up by 2, by the half time buzzer and some great work especially by GB prospect Ollie Mangion, London had recovered and were up by 4 tries. Eventually extending the lead and booking the first final of the new season and a rematch with STRH.
The final, the rematch, the bigger picture.
A positive start, some grit and determination wasn’t quite enough this time around and STRH took a well deserved win to lift the trophy. Lessons learnt over the weekend and more-so, from the first encounter weren’t quite enough, this time. However, as the Chairman of London would said, “there is a bigger picture’. The team that travelled all got valuable court time, scrubbed the summer ‘rust’ away in preparation for this weekends domestic opener at Stoke-on-Trent and build some chemistry which will prove invaluable throughout this years rugby season.
As always, these tournaments wouldn’t happen without the support staff that travel with the players. These valuable members of the squad are the unsung heroes of London Wheelchair Rugby club. So a massive thank you from the players to Doz, Suzi and Francesca for all that you contributed over the weekend, you’ll always be winners not matter the scoreline.
Further media available from the Mazovia cup can be found on the following links:
Mazovia Cup 2018 Facebook Page: https://en-gb.facebook.com/mazovia.cup.icwrt/
Semi Final: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PwgDvqGLog