Northampton Saints Wheelchair Rugby take to the court this weekend, as they host the GBWR Midlands Development League’s third round – and head coach Jamie Higgins is urging any supporters that have yet to watch the side play to head along to Kettering Leisure Village.
Saints will face Leicester Tigers, Coventry Stampede and Norfolk Knights in the penultimate round of this year’s competition. All four teams host one round each with both Norfolk and Leicester already hosting Rounds 1 and 2 in May and October.
And with Round 3 set to kick off on Sunday (3 December) morning at the Kettering Leisure Village, Higgins encouraging supporters to head down.
He said: “I’d say if you haven’t experienced the game, you need to get down and watch our Saints guys in action. It is another opportunity to watch Northampton Saints play, whether that’s the first XV or the Wheelchair rugby team.
“The passion and pride for playing for Saints is just the same, so if you have not been to watch Wheelchair Rugby before come along and have a watch.”Jamie Higgins
“There is a lot of speed, and it is a very fast game; you have to score within 40 seconds or you lose possession of the ball. There is also a lot more physical contact involved in Wheelchair Rugby than people would think. Although there is no body-to-body contact, the hits still bear a high impact.
“Sunday is also international day for people with disabilities, so it is a great time to come down and watch a disability sport and see people that are overcoming adversity.”
With the tournament being held in Northamptonshire, Higgins is relishing seeing his side showcase their skills in front of a home crowd.
He added: “It is a development league after all, so we focus it on our new players along with some of the current players who want to get on court. We want to put a demonstration on for the supporters that make the effort to come out on Sunday and see us play at home.
“A lot of our league games take place all over the UK, and we rarely play in Northamptonshire, so it is a great opportunity to come and watch the team in action.
“The first couple of rounds have been good. We have really focused on the players on court, and just giving them game time. We haven’t looked at the scores too much or focused on that, it is more about watching the players individually on court and then seeing where we can improve their game play and what we can do to support them.
“The results for us in the Development League are not as important, but it’s still competitive. The players want to win and want to prove that they are improving game on game.”
Sunday will also see a Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby junior programme session take place at Kettering, a programme which Northampton Saints have been the delivery partner for since February.
“GBWR Juniors are coming to do a training session,” added Higgins. “They will also play a demonstration game between themselves, which is a great opportunity for us to show what we do for GBWR and also what we do for our local players.”
GBWR Midlands Development League, Round 3 Fixtures
Northampton Saints vs Coventry Stampede – Tip-off: 10.50am
Northampton Saints vs Norfolk Knights – Tip-off: 1.50pm
Northampton Saints vs Leicester Tigers – Tip-off: 3:30pm
Entry into Kettering Leisure Village is free to anyone wishing to attend.