Wheelchair Reserves defeated by Crusaders

  • Wigan Warriors Wheelchair Reserves fell to defeat in their first outing in the Wheelchair Championship.
  • Chris Greenhalgh crossed for five tries with Nathan Roberts also getting four in the defeat.
  • FT | North Wales Crusaders 68-54 Wigan Warriors Reserves.

After a successful first season, Wigan Warriors Wheelchair will now have two teams in 2023, one competing in the Super League, with a Reserves side participating in the Championship.

The opening fixture was a visit to North Wales Crusaders, a team packed with international talent, whilst Wigan had 5 players in the squad playing in their first ever competitive game.

Making history by scoring the first points for the Reserves, Chris Greenhalgh touched down in the left corner after a looping pass from Phil Roberts caught out the edge defence. Roberts added the extras to increase the lead.

Cru came back immediately when they collected the ball from the kick off and scored in the right corner. A successful conversion from Stephen Halsey tied the scores once again.

This was to set the pattern for the first half, with both sides scoring tries almost alternately. Greenhalgh completed his hat trick within 25 minutes, showing his wealth of experience with some silky handling skills, whilst Nathan Roberts also chipped in with a brace. The first try was on the back of a quick play the ball by Stuart Ord, allowing Roberts to sprint down the middle of the court. In reply, the hosts scored two tries, and added a late penalty, to make the half time score 30-20 in Wigan’s favour.

North Wales started the second half brightly, scoring four tries to regain control and take the lead for the first time in the game. Their international players were now taking advantage of the lesser experienced Wigan players.

It’s rare in any sport for a father and son to play in the same team, however the Roberts clan are one of the exceptions. It was this family connection that saw Wigan record the next score, with Nathan collecting a kick from Phil in the left corner.

The hosts were again able to put a run of tries together, four consecutive tries were only interrupted by Nathan Roberts scoring his fourth of the afternoon. Having taken the ball to the line, Greenhalgh was able to fire a pass across court to put Roberts in to score. With all conversions successful, the score now stood at 54-42.

In the final 10 minutes, five further tries were scored. Cru started with back to back tries, before Greenhalgh added to his three from the first half to take his total to five for the game. Again, some excellent play saw Greenhalgh fool the defenders by “giving them the eyes” and sending them the wrong way as he waltzed in to score.

The last word went to North Wales in the dying seconds with a try under the sticks. Halsey slotted over his twelfth conversion of the game to take the final score to 68-54 to the Home side.

Head Coach Phil Roberts was keen to praise his side after the game: “Having got over the initial shock at how small the court was, the team acquitted themselves well against a side containing 3 of Wales’ RLWC squad”. Also, Assistant Coach Chris Greenhalgh added, “I think in a game where we had 5 players make their competitive debuts we played well as a team, which gives us a good base to build from for the season ahead”.

Wigan Warriors Wheelchair Reserves travel to Sheffield Eagles on Saturday 25th March for what promises to be another thrilling encounter, having played each other in a friendly a couple of months ago. The game has a 12:30pm K.O. at the English Institute for Sport, Coleridge Road, Sheffield, S9 5DA.

North Wales Crusaders: Stephen Halsey, Wyatt Jones, Mason Baker, Paul Southall, Ricki Davies, Harry Jones, Lewis Barry Lawrenson, Jakub Wasieczko

Tries: 11

Conversions: Stephen Halsey (12/13)

Wigan Warriors: Chris Greenhalgh, Nathan Roberts, Phil Roberts, Rob Gregson, Stuart Ord

Interchanges: Wes Thomasson, Ryan Farrer, Leila Hamrang

Tries: Greenhalgh (5), N.Roberts (4)

Conversions: P.Roberts (9/9)