On Sunday 3rd September 2023 Berkshire Banshees Wheelchair Rugby Club CIC, took part in the third and final GBWR 5s competition at the Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke-on-Trent and ended the day beating close rivals Newcastle Wheelchair Rugby, known as North East Barbarians, to claim the top spot of the Championship meaning the Banshees will be playing Premiership 5’s league Wheelchair rugby in 2024.
It was a fantastic series of tournaments, where the skill levels of all clubs taking part had improved significantly from last year’s tournament, where the Banshees just lost out on promotion to Bournemouth Lions.
At both the first and second tournaments of the season, Banshees and Barbarians finished the days level on points but because Barbarian’s had narrowly beaten Banshees on both occasions, they topped the table. So, it was all to play for going into tournament three.
Both Banshees and Barbarian’s won two of their first three games of the day, leaving them still level on points, so it all came down to the exciting final game to decide which team would be promoted to the Premiership! Banshees plan of attack worked, and they won convincingly, with a final score of 24-16, showing the development of the team over the season.
This means the Banshees have been promoted twice in three years, quite remarkable considering the club was only formed in 2017 to give people with physical disabilities and learning / neurological conditions the chance to give the sport a go!
Head Coach Sally Sycha said ‘I am so proud of all the Banshees, both those who played at the tournament and those who train with us. I’ve seen development in the whole team this year, both individually and as the team working together, implementing the tactics we’ve trained for. I’m looking forward to further development of the 5s team as we enter the Premiership, and hopefully entering a second 5s team next season to provide more competitive opportunities for our players. As well as this we’re now going into 4s season with our combined team with Brighton Buccaneers, named the Banshaneers, and we continue to develop our youth team. It’s exciting times for our growing club, and we couldn’t do it without all our supporters help, thank you!’
Craig Hunter, Chairman of the Banshees said “this was a terrific performance by not only the players who played across the tournaments but the whole club, all players who trained and played friendlies together, coaches and volunteers. Our thanks must also go to the local business community who have supported us from day one, notably Absolute Mobility, SecureCloud+, Polyco Health, Dudmans of Berkshire, Haslams, Egnyte Software, Get Berkshire Active, without all their support this would not have happened.
We now look forward to developing a 4s team, who will play the same game as the GB Paralympic team, as well as continuing to develop our Youth section for children and young adults aged 8 – 16.