Wales Wheelchair Finals Day Reports 2023

Ian Golden at Wrexham University

North Wales Crusaders lifted the WRL Wheelchair Challenge Cup for the second year in a row after overcoming Torfaen Tigers 80-28.

Three players dominated the game for Crusaders, one of whom was Wales international Stephen Halsey. His five tries gave him 82 for the season in all competitions in England and Wales, an outstanding achievement, as the record in the “running” rugby league game for a season was 80 by Albert Rosenfeld for Huddersfield in 1913-14.

Halsey also kicked nine goals in the game, bringing him up to 221 for the season, the same number that David Watkins kicked for Salford in the running game in the 1972-73 season.

Crusaders, with home advantage in the match, the more experienced players and with a few extra on the bench, didn’t have it all their own way, but they did enough to run out comfortable winners and retain the trophy.

Paul Sargent pounced on a loose ball to give Torfaen the lead in the fourth minute. Alex Powell converted.

Crusaders soon levelled. Martin Turner reached over, before a Jonathan Gill brace put them ahead. Halsey converted all three and they were 18-6 up.

Halsey was next over before Gill completed his hat-trick. Halsey converted both to give Crusaders a 30-6 lead.

Halsey went over for the next two, completing his hat-trick, putting his try count in all competitions to 80 for the season.

Martin Turner’s second try came with seven minutes remaining in the half, with Halsey failing to converted for the first time in the game.

There was still time for Lee Sargent to get a try back for the Tigers bringing the score to 46-10 in favour of the home side at the break.

Tigers started the second half as they did the first, with a Paul Sargent try and Powell conversion.

Despite the claim that he was tagged before scoring, Lewis Lawrenson got another for Crusaders, with Halsey converting.

Tigers hit back again with a Powell try and goal before Martin Turner scored two more and Gill added another, with Turner adding two goals.

Halsey scored the next try, his fourth of the game, leading to loud cheers as the crowd knew it was his 81st of the season. He soon went over for his fifth, which he converted himself, that conversion being his 221nd goal of the season.

But it was left to Torfaen to have the final say. Mathew Morris-Parker scored in the corner and Lee Sargent converted.

1 Stephen Halsey
22 Jonathan Gill
24 Martin Turner
18 Jakub Wasieczko
28 Fionn McCabe
6 Jess Booth
10 John Doyle
4 Mason Baker
3 Wyatt Jones
17 Lewis Lawrenson
32 Ethan Neilson
31 Matthew Turner

Tries: Martin Turner (7, 33, 43, 54), Gill (10, 13, 20, 55), Halsey (17, 26, 29, 67, 70), Lawrenson (51)
Goals: Halsey 9/10, Turner 3/4

3 Darran Dowey
5 Mathew Morris-Parker
11 Sian Morris-Parker
7 Alex Powell
8 Paul Sargent
4 Leighton Morris
13 Lee Sargent
14 Rob Davies
15 Luke Simmonds

Tries: P Sargent (4, 41), L Sargent (38), Powell (45), M Morris-Parker (79)
Goals: Powell 3/3, L Sargent 1/2

Referees: Kim Abel, Peter Johnston
Half-time: 46-10

Ian Golden at Wrexham University

The first ever WRL Wheelchair Invitational League Final was between the two invited English sides, both of whom fielded Welsh international players, with Argonauts beating Hereford Harriers 50-26 in a thrilling encounter.

Lead referee was Stephen Halsey, who went straight from scoring 34 points in the first game of the day to being on the side for this battle of the two best Wheelchair sides in the south, playing to extend their season in this successfully organised league.

Jacob Robinson got the first two tries with Wales international Gary Preece converting the second of them to give Hereford a 10-0 lead.

But Argonauts were soon level. Ireland captain Pete Johnston with a quick brace, converting the second and with 20 minutes gone, it was 10-10.

Fred Nye, also an Irish international gave Argonauts the lead soon after that, with Johnston adding the extras.

Hereford hit back again. Robinson tumbled over the line as he leapt on a loose ball. Preece converted again.

The two sides continued to swap tries. First, Nye in the corner for Argonauts with Johnston converting, then Preece for Hereford, who despite not being able to land the kick, ended the tournament as top points scorer.

A Keiron Hammond try, with a Johnston conversion was the last action of the first half, with Argonauts going in 28-20 up.

Argonauts struck first in the second half, Rick Rodgers scoring in the corner, converting his own try, and they extended their lead to 38-20 in the 55th minute when Nye completed his hat-trick to cement his position as the league’s leading try scorer for the season.

Hereford weren’t finished yet. On the hour mark, Alan Sheriff scored in the corner with Preece converting.

An unconverted Rodgers try on 68 minutes extended Argonauts’ lead to 16-points. Johnston missed a penalty as the Kent-side looked for a relaxing three-try cushion, but he did get a try to cement the victory with Hammond’s second try bringing up the half-century.

8 Pete Johnston
9 Scott Cooper
13 Fred Nye
82 Keiron Hammond
BL Rich Carver
BL Rick Rogers
10 Rob Cooper

Tries: Johnston (17, 20, 78), Nye (24, 35, 55), Hammond (40, 80), Rodgers (45, 68)
Goals: Johnston 4/6, Rodgers 1/3, R Cooper 0/2

9 Gary Preece
8 Alan Sheriff
3 Simon Bromwich
15 Jacob Robinson
10 Andrew Holley
4 Karl Jacob
13 Phillip Davies
7 Alan Caron
11 Harry Norton

Tries: Robinson (10, 13, 28), Preece (37), Sheriff (60)
Goals: Preece 3/5

Referees: Stephen Halsey, Kim Abel
Half-time: 28-20