Old meets young in successful first Wheelchair league game

Old met young today in the first day of Wales Rugby League’s new Invitational Wheelchair Rugby League when North Wales Crusaders beat Cardiff Blue Dragons 58-20 in the first-ever game.

The league rules state that only one current full international player can be on the field at one time during a game, leading to an emphasis on development.

Newcomers Cardiff held their more experienced opponents in the first half of this encounter and were only eight points down at the break. It was a famous first ever game for the capital side which also recorded the suspected youngest-ever scorer in Wheelchair RL history when Charlie Puddick, who turned only eight years old less than five months ago, went over in the second half. Alexander Martin scored two first-half tries for Cardiff, whilst Robert Carpenter scored a try and two goals.

Wales Rugby League’s oldest international player John Doyle, who turns 70 next month, scored a try in opposition to his young opponent. Lewis Lawrenson got a hat-trick of tries, Jakub Wasieczko scored twice, whilst Matthew Turner, Wyatt Jones, Jess Booth and Jack Atkins all went over for a lone Crusaders try each, with Atkins kicking nine goals.

Full timeline: https://bit.ly/44doEl3

In the second game, Argonauts were too strong for Hereford Harriers, beating them 82-36, with Ireland captain Peter Johnston and Ireland assistant coach Fred Nye both running the show. The two experienced players linked up and scored 12 tries between them, five for Johnston, who also kicked 10 goals, and seven for Nye. Also scoring tries for Argonauts were Edward Fields, Scott Cooper and former Wales international Richard Carver, who also landed one goal.

Replying for Hereford was Wales international Gary Preece with a try and four goals, Jacob Robinson who scored two tries with Matthew Wooloff getting two tries and two goals. Wales head coach Alan Caron also turned out for Hereford, after refereeing the first game, scoring one try.

Full timeline: bit.ly/3KvAcZw

Cardiff Blue Dragons head coach Alana Sargent, who also refereed the second game, only founded the Wheelchair arm of the club earlier this year and is immensely proud of how the league kicked off at her home ground.

She said: “For me, proud doesn’t cover it. It was a really good day where the Wheelchair Rugby League family came together and everyone had a great time.

“Hosting the inaugural event was a bit nervewracking, but it came together really well and I’m really proud of my Cardiff side. Every player had game time, three had never played competitively before – Charlie Puddick, Sophie Woodmass and Seren Jones – and Seren played this after just one training session. What an amazing day and we now look forward to going to Argonauts for round two in two weeks’ time.”

2023 WRL Wheelchair Invitational League Table

Team P W D L PF PA PD T Pts
Argonauts Skeleton Army 1 1 0 0 82 36 46 15 2
North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair 1 1 0 0 58 20 38 10 2
Torfaen Tigers Wheelchair 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cardiff Blue Dragons Wheelchair 1 0 0 1 20 58 -38 4 0
Hereford Harriers Wheelchair 1 0 0 1 36 82 -46 6 0