Another agonising Finals Day for Wakefield Trinity PDRL as their wait for the competition’s showpiece prize goes on following defeat to Warrington at the last hurdle.
Looking back at the season as a whole, the day after the dust has settled, Trinity’s Physical Disability Rugby League side can be proud of their efforts in 2023, claiming their second consecutive League Leaders’ Shield in the process.
Ahead of Saturday, top spot of the PDRL standings just wasn’t the satisfaction they were looking for, however, as the side headed to South Yorkshire with fire in their belly, looking to take the day by storm.
First place in the overall competition offered Trinity the luxury of arriving late at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park, keeping a keen eye over the battle between Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors in game one, a contest in which our West Yorkshire neighbours prevailed following Golden Point extra time.
A tie with the Tigers was confirmed as we looked to reach our fourth Grand Final in the last four years, however, just like our last meeting with Castleford just a matter of weeks ago, this was no walkover.
A tentative start from both sides got proceedings underway, however, two tries for both sides in quick succession got the game started. Castleford hit the front foot first, capitalising on a lapse pass in centrefield before Trinity equalised. The same state of play followed again soon after, Castleford edged their way in front, once again, before Wakefield hit back.
With the Tigers leading 12-8 in the dying embers, it was going to take something special for Trinity to pull ahead, and that is exactly what they did. A neat piece of play over on the left sent Trinity charging over with just a matter of minutes left on the referees’ clock and draw the scores level. A conversion attempt from the touchline was all that stood in Trinity’s way, with Adam Fleming slotting over with ease to set up a Grand Final fixture with Warrington Wolves.
With the sides in the PDRL competition getting stronger year after year, there were no easy games, optimised by the Wolves side that stood in Trinity’s way. No stranger to winning the competition, the 2021 victors were looking to reclaim their prize, while Wakefield looked for revenge.
The nervous energy was unmatched, the Grand Final bringing out a side that many festivals throughout the year wouldn’t get near. Through this, the start was slow, both sides finding their feet in a game that meant so much.
A sin bin in the first 10 minutes altered the game’s complexion, Warrington finding themselves a player light after the referee reduced the Wolves to 10.
However, despite the player advantage, Trinity was unable to capitalise, continuing to look for ways to unlock the Warrington defence, whilst protecting their own. That was until the final moment, and with just minutes left on the clock, it was the Wolves who crossed the whitewash, bringing back flashbacks from 2022, 2021 and 2019 as heartbreak ensued for Trinity.
Defeat at the final hurdle was devastating, however, the triumph should be an overwhelming feeling from the season, doing the Wakefield Trinity badge proud throughout 2023.
We would also like to take the time to thank our sponsors for their incredible support, Medequip UK, Farrar Bamforth Architecture, Limetree Mortgage Solutions, Age UK Wakefield District, Centurion Traffic Management, Nujum Sports, Millpark Construction, RBP Services, Community Integrated Care.