The Yorkshire Lions Wheelchair Rugby Club
The Yorkshire Lions Wheelchair Rugby Club was set up in October 2013. A small group of Tetraplegic ex-patients from Pinderfields were brought together by Kevan Baker (Lions Manager) and Allan Smith (Lions Head Coach). Initially the club was to help people get fit and to potentially play a little wheelchair rugby, but the club has grown to 10 regular players (March 15) and are about to join the National League.
Coach Smith, who was a GB Player himself many moons ago is bringing the Team on well and they are beginning to gel into a good outfit. Massive thanks have to be given to Stepping Stones for helping the team to fund the specialist rugby wheelchairs required to play the game properly.
In addition to the Players, the Lions have a dedicated group of Volunteers (The Crew) who are enormously supportive and without whole the Team couldn’t function.
The Lions registered with Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby in February 2015 and aim to join the League in August/September 2015. Coach Smith is aiming to arrange a series of friendly games with other clubs during late Spring and Summer 2015.
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Division 3 Super Series 1 – North
On Saturday 6th February Yorkshire Lions Wheelchair Rugby Team opened their account by playing in the Northern Pool of the National Super Series Division 3. This was the first of three Super Series. There are three Teams in the Northern Pool; Yorkshire Lions, Liverpool Lions and Caledonian Crushers.
The event was held at the superb facilities of Leigh Sports Stadium all on one day with each team having two games.
The first game was scheduled between Yorkshire Lions and Caledonian Crushers and prior to the game our Lions were nervous but excited and completely up for the challenge. Lions started extremely well and soon got into a smooth pattern, being able to keep their shape and complete comfortable defensive and offensive plays. Our attacking players scythed through their defences and our lower point players were brought into play with assists time and time again. As the game went on the Lions grew in confidence and at times excelled themselves, at one point scoring eight points without reply, turning over the play and robbing Crushers four straight times. Ultimately Lions came out winners with a 53 : 25 victory. For their first ever competitive game!
Game stats: Yorkshire Lions Scorers – Josh Tudge 30 Points, Neil Foulds 14 Points, Byron White 8 Points, Graeme Spencer 1 Point
The second game was between Liverpool Lions and Caledonian Crushers. The Liverpool Lions finished comfortable winners with a 61:29 points score.
The third game of the day was always going to be a cracker as Yorkshire Lions and Liverpool Lions had met before in a friendly game in Birmingham in 2015 (if there is anything friendly about wheelchair rugby games). The Liverpool Lions are a far more experienced team and in that game they ran out easy winners.
It was a nervous start for the Yorkshire Lions and it seemed that Liverpool Lions sensed this and took full advantage. They managed to expose the inexperience of our team and exploited this time and time again during the game. Liverpool constantly pulled the Yorkshire Lions defensive play out of shape and therefore found holes through which to score points. A certain amount of panic set in amongst the Yorkshire Lions and whilst they kept their own score count ticking over, it was no match for a stronger outfit who forced missed passes and incomplete moves from our team. The Yorkshire Lions will have learned so much from this match but should be proud of their performance. The final score was 66:36 to Liverpool Lions.
Games Stats: Yorkshire Lions Scorers – Josh Tudge 16 Points, Neil Foulds 10 Points, Byron White 5 Points, Lee Haldenby 4 Points, Graeme Spencer 1 Point
The first Southern Pool of the Super Series Division 3 was held week before and the results of the North and South Games reveal the following in terms of Division 3 so far:
1/ Liverpool Lions 6 Points
2/ Stoke Mandeville Maulers 6 Points (by score difference)
3/ Yorkshire Lions 4 Points
4/ Woodbridge Wheeled Warriors 4 Points (by score difference)
5/ Team Solent Hammerheads 2 Points
6/ Caledonian Crushers 2 Points (by score difference)
Division 3 Super Series 2 will be held at Leigh Sports Centre on March 5th 2016
As you will see below, many spectators travelled over the Pennines to watch the Team and they would like to thank all of them for coming and supporting.
Here are a few mages from the game: