The Black & Whites hosted a memorable Inclusion Festival at the University of Hull on Saturday, featuring over 600 participants from the Wheelchair, LDRL, and PDRL areas of the sport!
Hull FC, one of four sides to enter teams in all three areas of the festival, enjoyed a memorable Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup qualifying festival, ultimately falling just short of a spot in the final.
Featuring all six Betfred Wheelchair Super League sides and Catalans Dragons, with the top two sides qualifying for the final in Sheffield, Hull raced into an incredible lead on the league table with victories over London Roosters (8-4), Warrington Wolves (12-2) and Wigan Warriors (16-0).
While the Black & Whites fought valiantly against eventual finalists Leeds (4-12) and Catalans (0-16), those defeats meant that FC would finish the tournament in an impressive third place, finishing off the afternoon with victory over the reigning league champions Halifax Panthers (8-4).
Although Hull fell short of a spot in the final, the side will take great confidence from their efforts at the Allam Sports Area, featuring victories over some of the sport’s top sides.
Earlier in the day, the Black & Whites’ development side also featured in the Wheelchair Trophy competition, with Gravesend Dynamite and Sheffield Eagles earning their spot in the final.
Meanwhile, outside on the University’s sports pitches, eight-team competitions in the Physical Disability Super League and the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League, took place featuring hundreds of participants.
Hull FC’s Head of Community Foundation, James Price, said: “Yesterday was a positive example of our commitment to promoting inclusion within Rugby League. It was excellent to witness first hand both the level of competition and enjoyment had by participants across all playing variants.
“Growing participation opportunities across our learning disability, physical disability, and wheelchair teams is a key priority for the Foundation as well as scaling wider, more holistic opportunities through our inclusive education programmes and sensory experiences. “
Chris Godfrey, the RFL’s Social and Inclusion Manager, said: “Congratulations to Leeds, Catalans, Gravesend and Sheffield, but also to everyone else who has been involved in a real celebration of Rugby League.
“We’ve had well over 600 players involved across Wheelchair Rugby League, Physical Disability Rugby League and Learning Disability Rugby League, with 16 clubs represented.
“It’s been great to welcome the Catalans Dragons to the Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup for the second consecutive year, and Halifax Panthers and Hull FC also deserve recognition for fielding development teams in the Trophy competition.
“Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, Bradford Bulls and Hull KR fielded teams in all three areas of the Festival – Wheelchair, PDRL and LDRL – and I’d like to thank Hull FC and Hull KR, especially Mike Swainger and Liam Waslin, for combining to organise the PDRL and LDRL Festivals.
“We are also grateful to Mark Hagues and his team at Hull University’s Allam Sports Centre, which has proved the perfect venue for such an ambitious Festival.”
The next PDRL Festival will be at Warrington’s Victoria Park, while the Betfred Wheelchair Super League resumes with a third Magic Round of fixtures at Medway Park in Kent on July 30.