Medway Dragons and the London Broncos foundation set the world record for the longest wheelchair rugby league match in history last weekend.
They played for 12 straight hours at Medway Park Leisure Centre in Kent, raising thousands of pounds for Sport Relief.
The event was the brainchild of Broncos Foundation Development Manager Andy Fairhurst and Medway community coach Mark Roughsedge, running from 8am until 8pm last Sunday.
The game was also the biggest Wheelchair Rugby League taster session ever held, with over 250 new participants getting into the chairs and playing in the match. With a DJ playing all day, games and activities for children as well as the Wheelchair game, the afternoon saw several hundred people involved at Medway Park with a sizeable queue to get into a chair and play in the game.
Roughsedge was delighted with the turnout. He said: “We thought we’d have a few extra people come and try wheelchair Rugby League, but the numbers we had in the afternoon were incredible. Over 250 people tried the sport for the first time, and in the end we lost count of the participants!”
Nik Brooks, a Medway Dragons player and in the England Wheelchair RL squad thinks this event will be a catalyst for the growth of the sport.
He said: “We had a lot of interest today from people who’ve never heard of Wheelchair RL who want to come and play. It’s great to see so many people taking an interest in our game, and with the season about to start we hope this will boost our player numbers and the crowds at our Wheelchair Rugby League matches.
In the morning, fourteen new wheelchair RL match officials were qualified on a course run by the RFL, with all the officials staying to referee on the world record game and be accredited as wheelchair RL match officials. With sponsorship monies still coming in throughout the week, the day is expected to bring in a final total in the region of £2000 for Sport Relief.
Fairhurst said: “we’d especially like to thank the Medway Dragons, RFL and other volunteers who came down and made today possible; several of them did the whole 12 hours and it was their efforts and enthusiasm that made this happen. Medway Council, Medway Park sports centre and Sport Relief also gave us their support for this event we’d like to give them a big thank-you as well.”