Unfortunately, the epic 26-hour feat of Wheelchair Rugby 5s could not be recorded as an official record, but that didn’t make it any the less for those taking part in the head-to-head battle between the reds and the yellows, which resulted in a phenomenal score of 853 (reds), 831 (yellows).
Both teams were made up of Dorset Destroyers, Royal Signals and the sponsors from 4com.
The event took its toll as 113 inner tubes exploded and 15 tyres ripped. There were nine knock outs of wheelchairs and with 1,684 tries scored, it wasn’t surprising that 40 men and women were pretty exhausted towards the end.
Held at Rossmore Leisure Centre in Poole, the teams consisting of five players each with a maximum squad of 12, started at 1.10pm on Saturday. Three got injured and two left at 9am on Sunday.
Wheelchair Rugby 5s is played over two periods of 12 minutes. In the last 30 seconds of the marathon the theme tune to Countdown came on and everyone being so competitive went all out to score that final try.
One of the organisers of the marathon and co-founder of the Dorset Destroyers, Sue Coombs, said, “There were tears of joy, happiness and much shouting and screaming from the crowd and players as the two referees blew their whistles to draw the 26 hours to an end.
“We’d done it, we’d played Wheelchair Rugby 5s, non-stop, for 26 hours. And we’d played at a fast pace for the whole day/night/day.”
Did it matter that the record wasn’t officially recorded? “Not at all,” said Sue, “that doesn’t really matter when you realise that we have put Wheelchair Rugby firmly on the map in Dorset, given the sport a big hit of publicity, had thousands of hits on our website, new players interested in playing and so many people watching the game live across the world.”
Sue Coombs and Dave Wilkinson were thanked for organising the marathon, as were Deane Cartledge and 4com who sponsored the event and brought a team down. Thanks also went to Sean Gabriel from Rossmore Leisure Centre who donated the hall hire, David Bates from the Royal Signals in Blandford and to everyone who played, volunteered, watched, supported and made the event happen.
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