By Harry Jones
North Wales Crusaders claimed their first piece of silverware of the season last Sunday as they won their fifth consecutive Peacock Cup in Wrexham.
The Peacock Cup is a tournament celebrating the life of Crusaders supporter Thomas Jones who sadly passed away just days after his third birthday back in 2018.
Thomas, the grandson of Wales Rugby League Wheelchair Development Officer and former Head Coach, Stephen Jones and nephew of Wales international, Harry Jones. The tournament saw the Crusaders see off Rochdale Hornets, Sheffield Eagles and fellow Welsh side, Torfaen Tigers to take home the crown.
The day opened with the Crusaders securing a 28-18 victory over the Hornets with Scott Trigg-Turner, playing for the second consecutive day, crossing the whitewash for a solitary try. Player-coach Stephen Halsey crossed once and added the extras whilst Mason Baker got his team two goals. But the plaudits go to Lucie Roberts as she secured herself a hat-trick of tries in her side’s victory.
In the day’s second game, South-Walian outfit, Torfaen Tigers secured their first victory of the season with a convincing 52-12 defeat of Sheffield Eagles. The Tigers were strong throughout the game, with Alex Powell, fresh from his debut call-up to the Welsh international side starring in the captain’s role in a team that contained a number of current and former internationals. Fellow Celtic Cup call-up, Lee Sargent, scored four of his team’s 11 tries on their way to victory with father-son duo Jamie and Jason Reynolds both scoring brace whilst captain, Powell, scored a brace of tries and four conversions, Julian Osborne crossing for his side’s other try.
Torfaen once again showcased why they’re one of the favorites going into this year’s Cwpan Silians, coming from 22-4 down to secure a 42-22 victory over Rochdale Hornets to secure their place in the tournament final. Once again, Alex Powell starred as he managed four tries and four conversions in his side’s victory. The Reynolds were at it again as Jamie crossed for a solitary try whilst father, Jason crossed for a double. Lee Sargent scored his side’s other try with Leighton Morris, formerly of Ebbw Vale and West Wales Raiders scored a solitary goal.
North Wales Crusaders got the afternoon’s proceedings underway with a 26-12 victory over Sheffield Eagles, securing their place in the final. Mason Baker in his first game as captain controlled the game for the Welsh outfit, supplying a number of key passes and kicks through to take his side to victory. Lucie Roberts, went back-to-back as she secured her second hat-trick in as many games whilst Scott Trigg-Turner once again crossed. Crusaders ‘A’ star, Wyatt Jones, crossed for his first of the afternoon with Baker successfully scoring three conversions.
Next up came a clash of the tournament’s undefeated sides as Torfaen took on the Crusaders in what was the first Welsh derby of the 2023 Wheelchair season. Alex Powell played a key role for the Tigers, securing himself a solitary try and two goals whilst Jamie Reynolds and Julian Osborne both crossed for a try each. The Crusaders showed their experience and class in this game with both Stephen Halsey and Mason Baker both getting 16 points each, the former with two tries and four goals whilst the latter secured himself a hat-trick and two goals. Lucie Roberts, Scott Trigg-Turner and Stuart Williams all crossed for a try each. The moment of the game came when Crusaders youngster, Leo McCabe, who can play for England, USA, Ireland and Wales scored a conversion to a roaring ovation from the Wrexham crowd.
In the day’s penultimate game, Sheffield Eagles claimed a 30-10 victory over fellow Championship side, Rochdale Hornets in a game that came down to which team simply wanted it more, with the losers going on to claim the tournament’s wooden spoon.
The stage was set, North Wales Crusaders against Torfaen Tigers to see who would take home the Peacock Cup prize! The Crusaders dominated throughout the game with player-coach, Stephen Halsey, securing himself a personal tally of 34 points via nine conversions and four tries, Mason Baker and Stuart Williams both crossed for a solitary try a-piece, whilst, another of the Crusaders under-16’s, Matthew Turner crossed for his first try of the season which was crossed off by his father and team-mate, Martin, who came on to celebrate alongside his youngest son. Torfaen didn’t go down too easily though with Jamie Reynolds showcasing his ball-handling ability and highlighting just why he is one of Ebbw Vales’s best young prospects in the world of rugby union, crossing for a solitary try with Alex Powell adding the extras. The final words of the game went to Torfaen as Libbie Sargent, sister of international Lee and youngest child of Wales’ newly appointed S&C coach, Alana, crossed for a double of tries in the corner.
The Crusaders and Tigers were both heavily represented in the official Team of the Tournament with Alex Powell and Jamie Reynolds both being selected alongside Leo McCabe, Mason Baker and Martin Turner of the Crusaders as well as Wales Rugby League World Cup referee, Kim Abel in the tournaments prestigious team.
All footage from the Peacock Cup is available to watch and stream now via the North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair YouTube channel.