The London Broncos Rugby League Foundation and Medway Dragons community club made history on Sunday by playing Wheelchair Ruby League for 12 hours at Medway Park Leisure Centre in Kent. And they are awaiting confirmation from Guinness World Records that they have set a new world record for the longest match ever.
The event, devised by Broncos Development Manager Andy Fairhurst and Medway Community Coach Mark Roughsedge, started at 8am and ran continuously until 8pm, raising over £2,000 for Sport Relief.
The game was also the biggest Wheelchair Rugby League taster session ever, with over 250 new participants getting into the chairs and taking part in the match. With a DJ playing all day, games and activities for children as well as the wheelchair game, the afternoon saw hundreds people involved at Medway Park many queuing to get into a chair and play.
In the morning, 14 new Wheelchair Rugby League match officials were qualified following a course run by the RFL. They all stayed to help referee the game and became accredited match officials.
Mark Roughsedge, Medway Community Coach, was delighted with the turnout.
“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,” he said.
“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 England Wheelchair RL squad member believes the event will be a catalyst for the growth of the sport.
“We had a lot of interest today from people who’ve never heard of Wheelchair Rugby League 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.”
Andy Fairhurst, the London Broncos RL Foundation Development Manager added: “We’d especially like to thank the Medway Dragons, the RFL and other volunteers who came down and it 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.”