Leyland Warriors wheelchair debut brings two victories

Leyland Warriors wheelchair rugby league side
Leyland Warriors wheelchair rugby league side

Leyland Warriors have broken new ground by competing in their first wheelchair rugby league game.

The team travelled to Wiltshire to take on Swindon St George and Halifax in a round-robin competition, coming away with two wins to get their inaugural league campaign off to a great start.

Wheelchair rugby league was created in France in 2000 and is very different to Paralympic wheelchair rugby as wheelchair rugby league is faithful to the original rules, with six tackles in possession, the ball passed backwards and kicked in the same way as an Aussie Rules hand-pass.

Warriors first game, against Halifax, was a real thriller with the lead changing hands on five occasions.

A hat-trick from Declan Roberts, and two conversions from Phil Roberts saw Leyland lead 16-12 at the break.

After second-half tries from Louis Telford and Martin Norris, Halifax then fought their way in front.

But undaunted, with just three minutes left, Norris pushed a great line to squeeze in between two defenders for his second try, and Roberts converted to give Warriors a dramatic 30-28 success.

In their next game, Leyland stormed in front against the hosts, with tries from Reece Duddle, Norris and another Declan Roberts hat-trick, together with three conversions giving Warriors a 26-10 half-time lead.

The second half momentum was all with Swindon, who added two tries.

And despite keeping Warriors to a single point when Roberts added a drop goal, Leyland hung on for a 27-25 win to get their league season off to a perfect start.

- Back on the grass, Leyland Warriors open-age team travelled to Chester Gladiators for the second consecutive week and having defeated the home side in the league, they were now looking for the same result in the North West Men’s League Shield.

With a semi-final spot at stake, Gladiators tried to overpower Warriors early in the piece but once more, the Leyland forwards were a match.

In a similar pattern to the previous week, this allowed the Warriors half-back partnership of Will Roper and Stewart McLean to not only create space for their outside backs to exploit but they successfully attacked the Chester line, both scoring a brace of tries.

Leyland added further tries through Mark Quinn, Danny McLean, John Boles and Stephen Bryan.

Roper capped a man-of-the-match performance by adding five conversions for a final score of 42-16

- The club’s Masters team take part in a festival at Whitehaven and although all Masters games officially end in a draw, the team performed well in each game and Martin McColl collected the Master of the Tournament trophy.