Wheelchair rugby for disabled men and women, in and around Berkshire, received a huge boost recently when it was agreed, at a meeting of interested members from some of the locally based rugby clubs, to set up a new satellite club to be called the Berkshire Banshees.
And, to kick things off there will be various taster sessions at local leisure centres to allow any sports-minded, physically disabled athletes over the age of 16 to sign up to the Banshees and sample the delights and excitement of this rapidly growing sport throughout the UK.
Wheelchair rugby is an enormously fun and entertaining game for disabled sports athletes to compete in, with four players a side on the court at any given time and up to twelve competitors in a team.
Basically, each match consists for four eight-minute quarters with teams having twelve seconds to advance the ball from their back court into the front court and a total of forty seconds to score a point - or concede possession to the other team.
“Primarily it's a social sport but if we can get enough players interested we could enter a team into the local league structure,” says Banshee's motivator John Von Benecke.
The Meadway Centre will be the inaugural venue with two taster sessions between midday and 1:30pm on Sunday 5th and Sunday 19th of February 2017. The Woodford Park Leisure Centre in Woodley will also act as hosts to stage a further session between 12am and 1:30pm on Sunday, March 19th 2017. Click here for a poster promoting these sessions.
The biggest problem facing Von Benecke and his fellow co-ordinators is that of funding. Whilst they have received a grant from Get Berkshire Active, plus significant support from the national governing body, GBWR, they intend to apply for Sport England funding. They are also seeking additional sponsorship from Berkshire-based businesses to fund the purchase of the specialist wheelchairs and cover the costs of some professional coaches and facility hire for future training sessions.
Anyone interested in playing wheelchair rugby, sponsoring, or finding out more about the sport and how they can join in, should contact John Von Benecke on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated 12th January 2017