Following a narrow loss at The Mobile Rocket Stadium against Leeds Rhinos, the first ever Physical Disability Rugby League match was played in Yorkshire between Wakefield Trinity Community Trust and the Rhinos Foundation.
The Rhinos fielded a team wholly of players with a disability which included one ‘touch’ player, Full Back Josh Butler. The rules dictate you are able to play with two ‘able-bodied’ players on the field at any one time, as Wakefield Trinity chose to do by rotating former players Alan Hunte, Nigel Wright and Keith Mason throughout the game. Those players act as facilitators, with restraints factored in that mean they cannot advance more than ten metres nor can they score or kick.
The first Wakefield Trinity PDRL game was kicked off by Chris Hall in front of a crowd of approximately 300 watchers. The Rhinos certainly started the strongest with several good sets and a couple of errors from Trinity aided pressure on their own line which after six minutes, a try was scored by Rhinos’ number seven, Tom Lockett out on the right edge. An outstanding kick from Nathan Collins put the opposition in front.
A few minutes later, Trinity found their feet when Wright and Hunte combined to send Adam Fleming over from a few metres out for the first ever Wakefield Trinity PDRL try. Half Back Darren Dean goaled, levelling up the scores.
More good work from Full-Back Chris Hall and Connor Lynes provided good field position and Alex Dickinson, from the base of the ruck, dived over to score and put Wakefield in front for the first time with sixteen minutes on the clock. Dean slotted over from an acute angle for the extra two.
The remainder of the first half, which is only 25 minutes in length, saw a try from Trinity co-Captain, Ben Nicholson who played at Stanley Rangers and Oulton Raiders as a junior. That try saw a promise from his father come true, dating back over a decade. Dean goaled again to keep his perfect record intact.
Leeds then hit the front as the impressive Chris Young scored on the right edge after good work by the Rhinos forwards to gain momentum. Young missed his kick for goal but the Rhinos were back in the game.
Half-Time: Wakefield Trinity PDRL 18-10 Leeds Rhinos PDRL
Whatever was said in the team huddle at half time between the Wakefield players seemed to work as they lifted their play in the second half, utilising speedy trio – Callum Parkinson, Connor Lynes and Chris Hall far more.
Darren Dean bagged himself a try which was a just reward for his inventive play in the middle throughout the game. He swatted off several defenders as he made his way over the whitewash.
Then, having been substituted for a breather, Chris Hall returned to the field and within a minute he had scored his first try of the contest, running a great line.
It wasn’t all one way traffic as Leeds made good ground through Ash Lockwood, Dan Roberts and Tommy Pouncey but couldn’t find their way over the line thanks to excellent defending by Trinity.
Fatigue set in and the final eight minutes saw three more tries, starting with Connor Lynes who found space and romped over from around 40 metres, his smile could be seen from the moon. Three years ago he was told he’d never play the game of Rugby League again and he’d just scored the try of the game thus far.
Chris Hall rounded off with two more stylish tries, celebrating with pure emotion. To finish off the game Hall kicked his own hat-trick try to complete an excellent debut game with solid defence mixed with classy ball movement.
Wakefield Trinity Community Trust PDRL;
1.Chris Hall©, 3.Alan Hunte, 6.Nigel Wright, 7.Darren Dean, 8.Ben Nicholson©, 9.Callum Parkinson, 10.Keith Mason, 12.Connor Lynes, 13.Adam Fleming, 15. Alex Dickinson, 17.Michael Greensmith
Tries: Fleming, Dickinson, Nicholson, Dean, Hall (3), Lynes
Goals: Dean (5), Hall (1)
Leeds Rhinos Foundation PDRL;
1.Josh Butler, 2.Chris Young, 3.Jordan Stott, 4.Dylan Hughes, 5.Tom Sheridan, 6.Owen Lockwood, 7.Tom Lockett, 8.Ash Lockwood, 10.Simon Brown, 11.Ben Rawlings, 12.Dan Roberts ©, 13.Tommy Pouncey, 14.Nathan Collins
Tries: Lockett, Young
Goals: Collins (1)
Men of the Match: Darren Dean (Wakefield), Chris Young (Leeds)