WRL Wheelchair Invitational League – Week 2 round-up

Harry Jones reports from Crook Log Leisure Centre in Leisure Centre in London

Home side Argonauts edged out Cardiff Blue Dragons 48-30 in a competitive encounter, where the Welsh side made history having a mother and daughter score in the same game for the first time in WRL history.

Fourteen-year old Libbie Sargent scored twice with mum Alana Sargent getting on the scoresheet once.

In only their second game as a club, Cardiff were boosted with the addition of experienced Scotland international, Peter Lauder whilst Argonauts added Ireland international, Rick Rodgers to their already strong side.

Argonauts started strongly with a score in the opening five minutes through former Wales international, Richard Carver, but Cardiff held strong with some great defensive and offensive play. It took until the 27th minute for the next score as Carver extended their lead but failed with adding the extras, extending the score to Argonauts 10 Cardiff 0.

Cardiff were then rewarded for their hard work just minutes after with Alec Martin getting his side’s first try of the afternoon, successfully adding the extras to take it to 8-6 in favour of the home side.

Youngster Ted Field managed to break the Cardiff line to add his first of the afternoon under the sticks with Rodgers adding the extras, but that was before a fantastic kick-off by Sophie Woodmass forced a goal-line drop-out which saw Alec Martin capitalise and add his second try of the proceedings, taking the score to 14-10 with 15 minutes left of the opening half.

Back-to-back sets for the Argonauts saw Rodgers grab his first of the afternoon – his experience showed once more as he slid his way through the defensive line from close range for his second, adding the extras to extend his side’s lead. Lauder then thought he scored a try however a last-ditch tackle saw it disallowed.

However, the Blue Dragons capitalised on the broken defensive line and crossed in the corner through Libbie Sargent. Lauder then added another try for Cardiff with less than a minute on the clock in the first half. Eddie Clampin added a try for the home side on the hooter with Rick Rogers unsuccessful conversion attempt making it 30-18 in favour of the home side.

It took 12 second-half minutes for there to be a score as Fred Nye used his experience to assist Rodgers in getting over for another and adding the extras, but joy for the Argonauts was short-lived as Lauder scored directly from the kick-off to take the score to 36-22 to the Argonauts.

Cardiff kept their momentum up as Libbie Sargent crossed in the corner and it took until the 20th minute for Argonauts to get their next score as Ed Fields raced all the way up the pitch to cross in the corner to extend his side’s lead.

Cardiff continued their strong second-half performance as player-coach, Alana Sargent crossed in the corner to take the score to 40-30. A clever kick-off by Nye forced a knock-on and led to Carver crossing in the corner. His impressive afternoon then continued as he added another score, taking his side to a 48-30 lead following a missed conversion.

In their fourth encounter of the season, Hereford Harriers once again overcame Torfaen Tigers, winning 62-56 but it wasn’t without a fight by the plucky Welsh side.

Tigers were dealt with an early blow as Alex Powell had to withdraw last minute due to injury, resulting in the Welsh side needing to call on Ireland assistant coach Fred Nye to cover on the bench, especially as Torfaen had 11-year old debutant Alys Golden, daughter of Wales Rugby League media officer, Ian Golden.

It only took the experienced Harriers eight minutes to break the deadlock as Gary Preece held up the defenders to offload for former Welsh player, Phil Davies to score in the corner with Preece adding the extras.

Torfaen were then able to capitalise off a number of Hereford errors and some strong defense with Sian Morris-Parker crossing in the corner with Leighton Morris unable to add the extras.

Hereford continued their control on the ball, forcing the Tigers to get tired in defense which led to Davies adding his second of the game with Preece once again able to add the extras, taking the score to 10-4. Regathering the kick-off and taking advantage of a large hole in the defense led to Preece racing all the way down court for his first of the afternoon and continuing his 100% rate off the tee. Next, it was very much the same as Preece once again raced away, however this time he opted for the offload which led to Andrew Holley scoring in the corner. Davies then flirted with the touch-line to cross for his hat-trick.

The tries continued. After a verbal warning to Torfaen Tigers for time wasting, Preece was able to break through, score, and add the extras.

After half an hour, Torfaen were finally able to get some chances with the ball, coming close on a number of occasions before Nye managing to cross the try line for a four-pointer.

Hereford were in again with little under a minute on the clock as an over-the-head by Gary Preece led to Simon Bromwich crossing under the posts, however, was unable to add the extras. After some champagne rugby by the Harriers, Andrew Holley dropped the ball on the hooter, taking Harriers to a 38-8 lead at the break.

Torfaen’s fight-back started early in the second half. There was some swift play from the kick-off as Torfaen were able to regather the ball and work it out to Leighton Morris who crossed in the corner and add the extras. Tigers went back to back as Sian Morris Parker was on the end of some great play and crossed in the corner. Nye was once again able to go up the other end and score from kick-off, taking the scoreline to 38-22, crossing again for his hat-trick from kick-off. Two minutes later, a cheeky kick-through by the Tigers led to yet another try for the South Walian outfit. Morris scoring and taking the score to 38-30.

It took 11 second-half minutes until the Harriers got a touch of the ball after being shut-out by the Tigers, managing to score in the corner through Bromwich. Hereford looked to re-organise following the re-introduction of Preece, however it was all in vain as Morris was once again able to cross with Lee Sargent adding the extras, making it a six-point game with Hereford leading 42-36.

Torfaen were able to once again go back-to-back following a penalty for interference by the ‘tee collector’ with Lee Sargent able to score between the sticks and add the extras to make the game level board a 42-all

Hereford were finally able to get some good field position with a try ruled out due to a forward pass, however, the pressure consisted and the Harriers were able to score in the corner through Andrew Holley with Preece adding the extras. This time, Harriers were able to go back-to-back as a pair of cheeky dummy passes put Preece over under the sticks but he was unable to convert his own try.

Tigers were able to regather the kick-off and Nye was able to cross the try-line once again, however a missed conversion once again made it a six-point game. That deficit was soon reduced to two as Sargent was able to squeeze over in the corner, he was once again able to evade the defenders to score between the posts, adding the extras to give his side the lead, albeit, not for long as Hereford regathered the kick-off which led to a Gary Preece try, making it 56-a-piece.

Gary Preece was able to regain Hereford’s lead as he gathered a Sargent kick to race up the pitch to score and add the extras, taking it to 62-56 with less than two minutes on the clock. A last-ditch effort by the Tigers was unsuccessful with Hereford able to hold out and take the victory 62-56.

A mark of respect was shown prior to each of the day’s actions with a minute silence following the tragic news of Paul Southall, a member of North Wales Crusaders’ Wheelchair side tragic passing away.