Saints Wheelchair Rugby rose up the ranks in the WR5s Premiership after claiming three wins out of four in July – and now sit joint-second in the table heading into the final weekend of action.
Victories over Stoke Mandeville Maulers, Ospreys and reigning champions Leicester Tigers at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Sunday saw Saints propel themselves up into second position in the table.
In a day of hard-fought contests Saints started the tournament brightly, digging in to come out on top of a 21-20 scoreline against Maulers; and though Northampton suffered a frustrating 21-14 loss against West Country Hawks in the second match, Saints got their day back on track with a resounding 22-10 win over Ospreys.
And Saints final clash of the afternoon would see them line up against their Midlands rivals for the second time in July, with sides having met in the GBWR Midlands Development League in Leicester on 3 July. That day Saints came away 18-17 winners, and despite Tigers remaining unbeaten in the WR5s Premiership for three years, it was Northampton who took the Derby Day spoils for a second time on Sunday – romping to a 23-16 success.
Some great results for our Saints WCR today.— Saints Community (@SaintsComm) July 24, 2022
3 wins from 4 with some close fought games today.
Keep following for details later in the week about our upcoming leg of the @gbwrnews Midlands Development League. And the WR5s final weekend. pic.twitter.com/MsL2DmXukT
After a series impressive performances, Saints now sit second in the WR5s Premiership table on try difference, as well as top of the Midlands Development League after an unbeaten month in that tournament.
It’s an unprecedented run of form from Jamie Higgins’ side, who secured their promotion back into the Premiership only eight months ago; and the head coach has nothing but praise for the team’s work ethic this season.
“I’m immensely proud of what this team has achieved already this season,” said Higgins. “We knew if we knuckled down we could cause a few upsets but being in a position to top the Premiership in our first season back at the top – as well as being the first side in three years to defeat Leicester Tigers – is a huge testament to this group.
“But we’re nowhere near finished yet, we go into Finals Weekend level on points with both Maulers and Hawks, and only two points from Tigers at the top.
“There’s just four games left and we know with another four strong performances, there’s a good chance we could be lifting a trophy at the end of it.”Jamie Higgins, Saints Wheelchair Rugby head coach
“There’s also European qualification on the line, with GBWR announcing last week that the top two sides in the Premiership will qualify for November’s Poland Cup – the first international WR5s competition – so it’s definitely all still to play for.”
Saints will round off the Premiership season at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Sunday 21 August – facing Maulers, Ospreys, Hawks and Tigers for the final time in the league campaign. But Northampton won’t be resting on their laurels after the close of the Premiership term, as they prepare to host their first-ever showcase event in the Midlands Development League just a week later.
Taking to Kettering Sports Arena on Sunday 28 August, Saints – who currently sit top of the Midlands table – will host the penultimate round of clashes, and Higgins says his side is relishing the chance play in front of a home crowd for the first time in the Club’s history.
Higgins added: “It seems a strange thing to say but we’ve only ever played one ‘home’ game before. So to be able to host our own tournament in Northamptonshire is something we’re hugely excited about.
“We won all three matches in the last leg of Midlands League games, hosted in Leicester back in June, and there’s sure to be more exciting Wheelchair Rugby on show in Kettering.
“It’s a great chance for Saints supporters to be able to see the team more locally and we’d love to see as many of them there as possible. Entry to watch the tournament is free, so hopefully we can get a good crowd cheering the side on from the sidelines!”
To view all of Saints Wheelchair Rugby’s fixtures and results, CLICK HERE.