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The Canterbury Hellfire wheelchair rugby team

Canterbury’s wheelchair rugby team does city proud

by Ian Lloyd

Sport, we must accept, can be dangerous and carries a risk of injury. Rugby is probably one of the highest risk injury sports in the United Kingdom. But there is a sport where being seriously injured is a starting point.

Originally known as Murderballl, wheelchair rugby is a fast paced, high energy sport for athletes with a disability which is played indoors on basketballs courts.

The sport has been rapidly growing in popularity since London 2012 and is made with of a selection of elements from basketball, ice hockey, handball and rugby union.

It is probably the only sport where tripping someone out of a wheelchair is part and parcel of the game.

Four years ago, former chairman of Canterbury Rugby Club Jonathan Marsh created Canterbury Hellfire wheelchair rugby team.

Steve Brown in action for Canterbury Hellfire

Coach Steve Brown, a former Team GB Paralympics coach and BBC Countryfile presenter, has built a squad which now competes among the top six in the country.

On Sunday Canterbury Hellfire took part in the Roma Sport National championship for the first time competing against the other top outfits at the Medway Sports Park in Gillingham.

Spread across two days, the national competition sees team play three games with each game lasting for four periods of eight minutes.

It was a tough weekend for Canterbury Hellfire but they made it through to the second day, ultimately losing to Solent Sharks despite a solid effort.

Coach Steve Brown said: “We have to remember it is our first time playing in the cup against the top sides in the country.

“It is something we can take away and be proud of and even last year we did not have the opportunity to compete at this level. We have progressed so much in the last year and are very proud of the team”.

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