BT GBWR Nationals 2016 – Write Up
The past weekend (23rd/24th of April) was host to the BT GBWR Nationals, a huge tournament that brought together Division 1 and 2 teams in battles for the Cup and Shield. For the first time since GB wheelchair rugby has grown into multiple divisions, our two teams would be competing for separate titles.
Starting with the competition for Shield champions and our Crusaders were yet again, struck by injury. Kylie Grimes, a crucial player for us suffered a surprise injury and was unable to attend. This meant we would be down to one eight point line up and circulating subs meant playing under pointed. Well like true Crusaders the players fought on. The first match against Burn was started with a flurry that saw us ahead but Burn turned up the heat and took the win by a narrow window of three points. Second pool game was against the North East Bulls who were dominant in division 2 for the majority of their season. Cru held it together and it did seemed their was an injured Bull, they stayed strong but in a heart racing game we won by one point.
Onto Sunday and the crossover put us against the Warriors, remaining in division one and arriving with a full team sheet we knew this would be a real challenge. Their starting line up put them over ten ahead after the first quarter, as they rotated through their bench we managed a few turnovers but couldn't stop their lead increasing. Along with the victory we also lost a spot in the final so our next match would be for third or fourth. Seeing some familiar faces as we were against Canterbury, a team of mixed players, with sheer speed along with experienced players. Having a friendly chat with their coach before hand I could feel my excitement grow as we talk about this one being a real cracker of a match. It didn't disappoint, the commitment and teamwork of this club is something to be admired. Both players and staff were giving everything. I do enjoy it when an oppositions bench is as loud as ours. Crusaders managed to gain the lead but only by a few points, if I'm honest there were times I thought that lead would slip. It felt like the longest game but by the buzzer Cru won and took 3rd place overall.
Now moving to the Cup Competition and our Storm raged through their pool games with a convincing twenty plus point lead over RGC and Marauders. I didn't get to see much of their matches but from what I did see, they were defiantly on form. Competing is nothing new to anyone on this team and that becomes apparent with these victories. They push to the end, stay calm and collected throughout with great transitions and generally working together as a great team.
The next day for Storm and their crossover was against Crash, a familiar match up and Storm did what they do best in a fast paced, high impact game they gained another victory. As they rolled passed I congratulated them and I could already see their thought's were on the final against Leicester Tigers. All set up to watch the Cup final and as the crowd grew so did Storm's lead in what can be described as a great spectacle of wheelchair rugby. The Tigers were tough but Storm surged throughout and didn't relent until the final buzzer. I'm pleased to say LondonWRC Storm won by seven becoming the undisputed National Cup Champions! Congratulations on a well deserved title.