Saints Wheelchair Rugby skipper Gerry Mac insisted his side will not be resting on their laurels in the weeks ahead after claiming a first-ever success in the WR5s Premiership on Sunday.
Northampton lifted the trophy for the first time in the Club’s history after Saints claimed four wins from four on finals weekend, beating Stoke Mandeville Maulers (26-9), Ospreys (16-6), West Country Hawks (26-11) and then Leicester Tigers (22-21) on their way to the title.
“Delighted is not really the word for it,” said captain Mac. “As a team and as a Club, we’re ecstatic. It was just so sweet.
“To become Premiership champions at the first time of asking, as well as knocking Tigers off that top spot (they’d held that title for two years), as a club we’re buzzing.
Well this happened today Northampton saints are now premiership championships. What a day we played 4 and won 4 and we just managed to beat the Tigers in extra time in the last game in a golden goal scenario 💚🖤💛🏆— Gerry Mac (@GerryMac123) August 21, 2022
@northamptonsaints @gbwheelchairrugby @redhatphoto pic.twitter.com/w7crcHZ7mW
“We had a strong mindset of belief this year that we could do this and worked hard. It’s all thanks to our coach Jamie Higgins; he drives us hard, he works us hard, he’s always developing himself as a coach so we can become better. And now we’ve got the trophy to show for it.”
It was a dramatic finish for Saints, who were only promoted into the WR5s Premiership eight months ago, and saw off Tigers in a do-or-die final match with a ‘golden point’ try in extra time at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
Mac added: “I’ll be honest, I got a bit emotional. My wife noticed I was crying, and I just couldn’t stop.
“A lot of the players came into the team thinking they might not ever play competitive sport again – me being one of them. So, to see the smiles on the players’ faces, lifting that trophy, that’s what it’s all about.”Gerry Mac, Saints Wheelchair Rugby captain
“A lot of supporters turned up to cheer us on too. To have the Saints flags flying, and to have ‘Oh When the Saints’ ringing out in the background, was brilliant. I know it’s a bit of a cliché but they were really the extra man and they drove us over the line, there’s no doubt about it.”
But there’s no rest now for Saints Wheelchair Rugby, as the side take to the court again this coming Sunday (28 August) at Kettering Sports Arena with this season’s Midlands Development League drawing to a close.
Last weekend’s Premiership success also saw Mac’s side qualify for an international WR5s tournament – the first of its kind – in Poland, where Northampton will face off against some of the best sides in Europe.
And Saints’ skipper is aiming high in both competitions with more silverware on the line.
“If we win our two games this weekend, we have the chance to win the Midlands League too, win the double,” he said.
“And then, after winning the Premiership, we’ll be heading to Poland in November for the first time to play in the European Cup, where hopefully we can do the treble.
“There’s still big belief in the team, we’ve still got a job to do. The season’s not over as far as we’re concerned.
“We’ve gone back into training this week and have our captain’s run on Friday night – hopefully we’ll go out and smash it again on Sunday.”
To watch Saints Wheelchair Rugby in action in the Midlands Development League, head down to Kettering Sports Arena on Sunday 28 August. Entry is free and matches begin at 9.30am.
If you would like to play for Saints Wheelchair Rugby, or volunteer in any way, you can find out more by CLICKING HERE.