This year’s National Championship would take place in Medway Kent, the Crushers were keen to take part but not so keen on 430 mile journey. Unlike previous year there would be only four teams taking part in the shield, as opposed to the normal six. It was pointed out that we had a one in four chance of winning the shield but judging the opposition I’m not so sure the bookies would agree.
Helping out team Crusher would be, ex-Gloucester and GB player/coach, Darren ‘Daz’ Ransome. First up on the Saturday would be Burn, playing with only one substitute the we felt confided that we could secure the victory. By the end of the first quarter, both teams came in at nine all with some nice rugby been played by the Crushers. After such a good start the wheels fell off a bit with Burn taking a ten point lead, though Michael was confident that they were still there for the taking. With renewed vigour the Crushers forced turn over after turn over, closing the ten point deficit and at one stage went three ahead. It was nip and tuck till the end of the game with Burn eventually running out the winner by only two points.
The second game against a full strength, quick and functional Yorkshire would be a much tougher test. Their pace and pinpoint passing was just too much for the Crusher resulting in a 62 – 37 victory to Yorkshire.
The final game of the day would be against the Hawks, again the Crushers felt confident they could snatch a win, since the Hawks only beat Burn by a couple of points. The Hawks, not as strong Yorkshire, still had a very good squad, two of whom would go on to win best in class. By the end of the 2nd quarter we were only six points behind, not insurmountable by any manor of means, but then the Hawks class and fitness levels showed and eventually beat us by thirteen points.
On the final day we would up against Burn again for the 3rd/4th playoff spot and the Crushers were keen to exact a bit of revenge for their two point loss the day before. Whether it was the exertion of the previous day, the Crusher just were not clicking as they had done before the previous games, with the result we went into the 2nd quarter three points down. The rest of the game went on in the same fashion with Burn extending their lead to six points at half time, by the end of the game Burn were the worthy winners 47 – 35. A bit of a disappointing to our first Nationals in a few year but they were reasons to cheer, some of the Crushers play was outstanding, especially in the first game against Burn, our very own Gemma took best in class and Michael took MPV. All that’s left is to congratulate Crash for winning the cup and Yorkshire for winning the shield and a huge thanks to Daz for pitching in to help us out.
With the start of The Quad Nations wheelchair rugby competition our captain, Michael, will be speaking with Alex Horsburgh on Rock Sport Radio about the game and all wheelchair ruby related issues. For everyone who would like to tune in to listen what Michael has to say about the game can do so on Monday morning 10:30 on Rock Sport Radio.
Today is the start of the Wheelchair Rugby Quad Nations competition and this year ius being held in the Leicester Arena. The four teams taking part GB, USA, Japan and Australia, some oif the top seeded teams in the world, promising to be an action pact and exciting tournament. Kicking off with GB versus USA, all the action can be followed live on the BBC Sports website.
This weekend at the Women’s Cup in Paris, Jen and Gemma would be playing in the Gymnase Emile Anthoine , just a stone’s throw from the splendid Eiffel Tower. Playing as part of team Euro they would be taking on three other teams from a pool of six, made up from the best female talent from all round the world. Playing USA early on the Saturday they won 37-20 before taking on the hosts later that day whom they also beat 32-25. Having secured two wonderful victories team Euro would be up against a talented and experienced team Asia Oceanic on the Sunday. It turned out to be a tough encounter for our girls as they took on the team made up of players from Japan, Korea and New Zealand, they eventually lost 50-17 but they gave everything and never gave up. Presented with their medals by the French internationalist Ryadh Sallem, they did their country proud, the Crushers proud and themselves proud!
It’s a big weekend this weekend for Gemma and Jen as they take part in this year’s Women’s Cup. There will be six teams taking part in the competition held in Paris, they will join a team made up of two Irish and one Israeli girl, called team Euro. A fantastic opportunity for those participating to gain some invaluable experience. Good luck girls, do us proud and enjoy yourselves!
We’re coming to the end of year and the nights are drawing in, which can only mean one thing, no not Christmas but the annual Bulls Friendly. This year there we’re five teams participating, the Ulster Barbarians, Yorkshire Lions, Liverpool RGC, ourselves and of course the hosts, the Bulls.
For this competition we would be ably assisted by Jack Smith who used to play for the Bulls and who is now in the GB development squad. Our first game, bright and early 9:00am Saturday morning would be against the bulls themselves. What a game it turned out to be, incredibly tight throughout so much so the game went into overtime with the victory going to the Bulls by only one point. The second game would be against a full strength Yorkshire, we gave it our lot but Yorkshire were just too strong on the day running out as comfortable winners.
With the days play over it was off to Billingham Synthonia for the usual feed of pie and peas. It turned out to be a sedate affair compared to other years, what without the inclusion of the customary Drinking Olympics. Under normal circumstances the lack of drinking games would lead to an early night tucked up with a hot cup of Horlicks but our new bad influence, Raychel, insisted we go into town to sample a few too many cocktails. Thankfully though our only game of the day against the Barbarians didn’t tip-off till midday, so even after the late night of drink and debauchery the team were fresh faced and raring to go on the Sunday. The team felt confident going into our last game of the weekend and it turned out to be an enjoyable game to watch and play in. Although we lost by eight points in the end we played some mighty fine rugby.
As usual everyone involved with the Bulls put on a magnificent spread, were most welcoming couldn’t have been any nicer, a huge thank you from all at the Crushers.
Super series two this year was held down in Leicester in the very impressive Leicester Sports Arena. With the Maulers having pulled out we would only play four, instead of the usual five games over the weekend, for once catching a break and not having to play till 12:30 pm as opposed to the original tip of time 9:00 am. It was going to be the easiest weekend for the Crushers as we wouldn’t have Coral helping out and Ciaran was ineligible to play, thought we did go into the first game feeling confidant. Up first would be Gloucester, whom we felt, had a real chance against. The first quarter and a half the scores remained at parity before they gradually took more of the lead, eventually running out winners by 11 points. The second game of the day would be against a very functional and mobile Hawks, it was a particularly challenging game with the Hawks eventually taking the win.
Day two would see us up first against Liverpool, who with the return of big Roy and Martin Bedisford were out for revenge after their previous defeat by the Crushers. It turned out to be another difficult game for the Crushers ending in our defeat. With our loss against Liverpool meant that we would play a Tigers select team in the last game of the weekend ,which would be made up of players from the GB development squad including our very own Ciaran. Even though they fielded an under pointed team, their superior skill and experience came to the fore to inflict a heavy defeat on the Crushers. Thankfully though the game wouldn’t count in the league standing.
It was an all round disapointing weekend for the Crusher, though with some hard work we can improve before super series three.
What a great day for the Crushers at the bucket collection in Breahead. We had a the perfect spot right in the centre of Soar, with a large area cordoned off where we could go through our paces in full view of the hundreds of passing public. All the players took turns playing and raising money on the buckets, raising a fantastic £568.59. It was a great outcome for the day along with some invaluable exposure for the club and the bonus of a free fitness session. A huge thanks to all the volunteers, who kindly gave up their Saturday afternoon to help and a well done to our Fundraising coordinator, big Davie.
For the first Super Series of the season the Crushers made the long trip down to the Stoke Mandeville Stadium and what a weekend it turned out to be. Having been offered a place in division two it was going to be a hard fought weekend but, thankfully, we were ably assisted by Coral Batey. The Saturday was an early start with tip off against Burn at 9:00am. Of all the teams we would be up against Burn were expected to give us the stiffest competition, the game itself was a cagey affair with Burn taking the lead and holding it for most of the game, before eventually taking the win by only seven points. Bolstered by our performance in our opening game we were full of confidence going into the second, this time against Gloucester Titans. Again this was another cagey affair, except this time it was the Crushers who would hold a slim lead for most of the game before running out as the winners by eight points.
The final game of the day would be against Liverpool and victory would gain us a place in the semi-final and the added bonus of a much need long lie. Liverpool were missing two of their most influential players in Big Roy and Martin Beddis, resulting in two losses, and having beaten Liverpool on our last outing for once we were going into the match as favourites. Liverpool played some good rugby and fought hard but the Crushers took the win to set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Yorkshire.
Thankfully day two started off later than the first with tip-off against Yorkshire at 10:45am. For that game it was us that were going in as the underdogs, having never beaten Yorkshire before but with our previous victories and the prospect of actually making the final the Crusher were buzzing with confidence. The game was so tight with the lead fluctuating to and fro, with the result finishing at 45-45 at the end of normal time. We went into a nervous and exciting overtime, not once but twice. The game would hinge on who could make the less mistakes, and the Crushers played some amazing and inspired rugby and eventually running out as deserved winners 52-50. We were in a final!!!
We would meet up again with Burn in the final. Even though we had lost against them the previous day, results were going our way, we were playing some wonderful rugby at times and we were full of confidence. As with all the games played by then the final was no different, the pace and intensity was high and there was very little difference in the teams and scores. The final outcome was a win for Burn by only four points but the Crushers were far from being disappointed. Everyone was delighted with the weekend, topping things off with Michael and Ciaran winning best in class and Coral taking MVP. What a weekend.
The Caledonian Crushers Had a great week, with myself and Jason Speirs meeting up earlier this week with Chris Stewart, Partner and Head of Digby Brown’s Serious Injury Department and Kathleen McMonagle, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, who presented the team with a cheque for £5,000 as part of there ongoing support.
The Crushers a overwhelmed with the support we receive each year from Digby Brown and would like to thank them for their continuous support and interest in our club. Without the support from such generous companies sports clubs like ourselves would not be able to run