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Wheelchair Rugby

Tigers Wheelchair Swifts fall short in maiden weekend

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This weekend saw the opening weekend of the newest Leicester Tigers wheelchair rugby team, the Swifts.

The first tournament for a brand-new team was always going to result in an uphill battle and so it proved as the side fell across all of their matches: but they didn't go down easily. 

Having not trained as a collective in preparation for the games with our new players and lineups, the side's Head Coach, Darren Matthews entered the weekend knowing the team may struggle but believed that the best way to learn is to do get out on the court and play.

"I knew it was going to be a fact finding mission and my best hope was that we would play ourselves into shape through the tournament." 

Straight from the frying pan and into the fire, the side's opening game of the weekend was set to be the toughest in the schedule, against an excellent West Coast Burn who had multiple Team GB players in Ayaz Bhuta and Danny Dawoud. Undeterred, Matthews was buoyed by a hard-working performance.

"We lost the game by 15 points, a score of 35 - 50, but I was pleased with the performance overall; every squad member enjoyed time on the court and to be holding our own at times, against a team with much more experience, I was impressed." 

The second game of Saturday saw the side fall to another tough loss, this time against Solent Sharks Red.

"Unfortunately it became another loss and the task of dealing with their speed, with three dynamic players in their side, proved difficult. However, there were bright spots, with the last quarter coming together nicely, showing how we can play and lifting the team. 

"The last game of the day was a win by default but we still managed to enjoy some valuable court time and experience." 

Sunday's matches saw a clear improvement in the squad, one that saw the team make a red-hot start against West Coast Heat 

"A strong start was needed and we certainly had that, keeping the game tight.

"The second and third quarters saw us lose our way and concentration. The fourth quarter was better, finding our groove and playing some rugby I knew we were capable of, finishing the game with a close loss 47-43."

"The weekend didn’t go as I wished results wise but as a team we all now know and believe we can improve going forward to the next". 

"I’m excited Gary Scholes has decided he will stay and help lead the team this season. We have lots of hard work to do before the next fixtures but I have no doubt we will improve. What impresses me most is the team are already talking about what we need to do and what we are capable of.

"Laurence Ball played outstanding this weekend and I chose him as my coaches MVP".