Gwylio’r Cymry – Wheelchair launches in the dry, running rugby in the rain

Ian Golden and Harry Jones look at the last weekend’s elite action that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls.

Saturday in Wigan saw the RFL Wheelchair Rugby League season launch with a press call and a 4s event. Jodie Boyd-Ward captained the Leeds Rhinos Super League team, whilst also coaching one of the Rhinos’ development side.

North Wales Crusaders also took the the court, facing off against Salford Red Devils, York RLFC and Hull Kingston Rovers, coming away with a clean sheet of victories, not conceding a single point throughout the day. The side was coached by Harry Jones who also made brief appearances on the pitch. The day also saw both Jones and Wales’ head coach, Alan Caron act as referees.

In the day’s main event, Wigan Warriors took on Catalans Dragons in the European Club Championship – the Warriors side included Martin Lane and Mark Williams on the interchange bench with the former being introduced to the action midway through the first-half, whilst Williams was brought on at the break for his side. A pair of strong performances by the Welsh contingent was not enough as Catalan came away 78-28 victors.

In the NRL, Bradman Best helped Newcastle Knights to victory over St George Illawarra Dragons in conditions more suited for swimming than rugby league. Knights also won the curtain-raiser between the two side’s reserves with Josh Ralph in action for the Dragons. Back at the men’s top level in Europe, Luis Roberts scored a try for Leeds Rhinos but couldn’t prevent a Super League home defeat to high-flying Warrington Wolves.

In the men’s Championship, Rhys Williams scored the opening try for Swinton Lions as they recorded a famous away win at Toulouse Olympique. Chester Butler scored a try for Bradford Bulls as they had a good away win at Caleb Aekins‘ Featherstone Rovers. Matty Fozard was also on the scoresheet with Widnes Vikings, with Mike Butt, Rhodri Lloyd and Ant Walker also playing, as they beat Dewsbury Rams, for whom Owen Restall and Curtis Davies starred. Twin brother Connor Davies did taste a win as he helped Halifax Panthers edge out Elliot Kear‘s Batley Bulldogs. Max Clarke scored a try for Barrow Raiders as they sneaked a win over York Knights, and finally, Will Evans was in the Whitehaven side as they fell to Sheffield Eagles.

North Wales Crusaders continued their winning streak in League 1 with a 58-18 demolition of Newcastle Thunder, after being 42-0 up at half-time. Kallem Rodgers made his senior debut for Crusaders, whilst Wales U19 international George Birch was on the Thunder side. Elsewhere in League 1, Jude Ferreira‘s Hunslet was well beaten by Craig Kopczak‘s Oldham.

Zoe Heeley of Cardiff Demons tackles Ellise Derbyshire of Wigan Warriors into touch

The Women’s Challenge Cup reached its final group matches and Cardiff Demons lost 44-4 at Wigan Warriors with Amy Price scoring the only points for the Welsh outfit. Also involved were current Wales squad members Brittony Price, Eleri Michael, Seren Gough-Walters, Shaunni Davies, Rhi Parker, Lauren Aitken, Jasmine Gibbons, Sara Jones, Bridget Jones, Charlie Mundy, Meg Whittaker, Ffion Jenkins, Tara Finnegan and Katie Carr. The two sides meet again in Wigan in the quarter-finals this Saturday. In other Challenge Cup games, Wales captain Bethan Dainton scored two tries and was player of the match in Leeds Rhinos’ win at home to Huddersfield Giants, Kathryn Salter kicked four goals in London Broncos’ 48-0 win over Bradford Bulls and Ashlea Prescott‘s Featherstone Rovers lost to York Valkyrie.