Written by Mandip Sehmi
The GBWR wheelchair rugby season is in full flow and the Coventry Stampede were in action in the first series of the Midlands Development league in Norfolk. The team travelled to the tournament with only five players available, in wheelchair rugby this is a gruelling task, with no substitution players have to play every minute of the tournament – often known as ‘Ironman Rugby!’.
The team did not disappoint, the opening fixture was against a very strong and established Leicester Tigers team. The Stampede started well and went tries up before the Tigers showed their experience and went on to win 15 -22. The second game was against the Northampton Saints – Wanderers, a game that both teams took the lead in throughout spells of the game. A key element of wheelchair rugby is managing the clock and being able to control the game when in the lead. With the Stampede scoring the last try and 30 seconds remaining on the clock, captain Jake Humphrey took responsibility to close the game by running the clock down, a tactic that’s used by the world’s best Paralympic teams, the Stampede winning 16-15.
With a five-minute break between games the Stampede went into the final game with no recovery time and tanks well and truly emptied! The Norfolk Knights were the home team and with the home fans cheering on this was again a tough task! The game followed a similar fashion to the previous game except the Stampede were now showing signs of fatigue and errors were creeping into their gameplay. However, similar to the previous game, the Stampede managed to take the lead in the final minutes and a turnover to gain possession with eight seconds left on the clock ensured victory 17-16.
The team finished with two wins out of three and are second in the table going into the next series.
Players selected: Jake Humphrey, Nick King, Martin Taylor, Jeff Youell and George Davis.
Support staff: Mandip Sehmi – Head Coach and Jodie Youell – Support Staff.
‘Playing every minute of every game is tough but something I used to love! It leaves you nowhere to hide and shows your character. You learn so much about yourself and your teammates when put under this kind of pressure. I’m so proud of how the players showed up with heart and determination to do the best they could do! They left everything on court and showed great resilience’. – Mandip Sehmi – Head Coach
Following on from the tournament the Stampede reunited with the Coventry Rugby Foundation Community team and were at the annual Sports Fest in Coventry’s city centre – Broadgate. As part of a multi-sport offering the community team had a packed arena offering opportunities to try Netball, Rugby skills and Wheelchair Rugby. Sports Fest is a great opportunity for young people to try different sports over the five-day event and with the Junior Stampede wheelchair rugby launching later this year it was a great to see how popular the wheelchair rugby was with both youngster and parents.
If you have ANY physical disability and are interested in trying wheelchair rugby, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Remember any physical disability is eligible you do not have to be a wheelchair user.
Coventry Stampede are launching our junior team, if you would like to get involved please register your interest here.