Leicester Tigers wheelchair rugby team began their defence of their historic treble this past weekend, with the first round of the Fours Premiership.
You can see the full list of results below:
- North East Bulls 39 - 53 Leicester Tigers
- Leicester Tigers 58 - 44 GB Talent
- London Storm 45 - 53 Leicester Tigers
- Leicester Tigers 43 - 53 West Coast Crash
Going into the season having lost Team GB silver medallist Jack Smith, the team knew that the starting side that built their historic win streak and, in a broader context, their historic treble, was no more. The challenge to continue this incredible form would be exceptionally difficult, although the side could now boast the return of 1.0 Alex Smart, who had just returned from a six year break from the sport.
The side got off to a storming start on the Saturday, picking up where they left off form wise and securing three victories from three games.
All three matches echoed one another, both starting very nip and tuck before the experienced Tigers side were able to pull away as the game ticked towards half time, with Smart and French International Sebastian Verdin exceptional throughout. These matches saw the whole squad get valuable court time, the whole bench utilised to aplomb as Tigers' secured convincing victories.
Sunday, however, would see the side finally lose their coveted undefeated streak.
Their opponents, West Coast Crash, had finished last season in third place and fielded a strong line up, including the new signing of a French International. The match started off similarly tight, with Crash taking an early lead. Both sides were struggling to gain a real edge as the game went on, with Tigers firing back to equalise before Crash would pull ahead again, only for Tigers to find a way back again, the two teams scoring tries in tandem. This tussle continued until the fourth quarter, where Crash finally got the edge and ended Tigers' undefeated streak by a score of 53 - 43.
Although results weren't perfect, the side feel they have left Round 1 as a better team than the one that came in. Smart impressed immensely, especially considering his break, whilst Hayley Cassin and Jack Coulson earned valuable experience on the court. Lots to work on but the coaches believe what is most pleasing of all is the way the club are continuing to develop. These are exciting times.
The 'Best in Class' trophies were awarded to: