A triple header of Wheelchair Rugby in Poole, Dorset was held at the weekend to celebrate The Dorset Destroyers Wheelchair Rugby Club’s third anniversary since they started training back in 2015 (Founded in March 2014).
The Destroyers invited new clubs Bristol Bears and Northampton Saints to Poole to play in a day of “Friendlies” which involved all 3 teams playing 4 matches each.
“The Dorset Destroyers won their 4 matches, but at the end of the day it wasn’t just about winning, it’s about being together, learning, enjoying and then eating cakes,” said Nick Coombs Chairman of the Destroyers, whose club is as well known for their after match cakes.
“Grassroots wheelchair rugby is a vital part of the sport. If we want to attract more people to the sport, we need to have more people knowing about the sport and to be able to access it,” said Sue Coombs, Club Secretary and Cake Maker for the Destroyers. “Wheelchair Rugby is opening up to more people with disabilities and a new version has been introduced called Wheelchair Rugby 5’s, more based around the Invictus Games version, and it seems to be attracting a lot more disabled people who could not play in the traditional version.”
The Dorset Destroyers, not just content with being just a wheelchair rugby club, also decided to set up several other sports including wheelchair tennis, badminton, shooting clubs and more recently The Dorset Devils Wheelchair Basketball Club which has exploded with the amount of interest and people turning up to play.
“Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair basketball compliment each other very well. We had so many people asking for us to open a Wheelchair Basketball Club, because the nearest is 40 miles away, so we decided that we would,” Said Nick Coombs Chairman. “Being a bunch of mates, we can set things up very easily. We have a quick chat about it at one of our committee meetings and everyone just says Yes, let’s go for it,” he continued. “The only problem we have is trying to find funding, as we rapidly grow in both sports. We are running out of wheelchairs due to demand.”
One of The Destroyers aims is to turn Dorset into a powerhouse for disability sports and to make Rossmore Leisure Centre a centre of Disability Sporting Excellence.
“It’s really taking hold and disabled people are now realising that we are not just a flash in the pan, but are here for the long term,” said John Colgan Club Welfare Officer. “We have great plans which are slowly taking hold, and with a great Centre Manager like Sean Gabriel behind us, staff that will readily help and players who really want to make this work, it will happen.”
One of the club’s fundraising ideas which was brought to the table by David Wilkinson (ex Royal Signals Corps), is a 24 hour + Wheelchair Rugby Marathon to help raise funds. “Dave is putting a huge amount of work into this to help the club and to help 2 organisations who helped him on the road to recover,” said Sue Coombs. “Our aim is to raise £10,000 to get more disabled people have access to Wheelchair Rugby.”
On Saturday March 17 2018 The Dorset Destroyers will start their 24 hour + Wheelchair Rugby Marathon at Rossmore Leisure Centre in Poole, to beat the current record held by a team in Poland and to get into the Guinness Book of Records. They are being helped by the Royal Signals Corps and the event is sponsored by 4com and the hall hire costs have been donated by Rossmore Leisure Centre. More information on the event can be found at http://www.thedorsetdestroyers.co.uk/marathon/
To help the club with their fundraising you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/24hourwrugby
For further information about any of the clubs, contact Sue on 07747 586006.