Rugby League


18 Aug 2023

Sheffield prepares for Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final

Sheffield prepares for Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final

Prepare for more Rugby League drama on BBC Sport this weekend, with the Wheelchair stars of Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons set to follow in the footsteps of the Men and Women of Leigh Leopards, Hull KR, the Rhinos and St Helens.

The Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final, which kicks off at 1pm and will be shown live on iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app, is the highlight of a double header at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport on Sunday afternoon, and a weekend feast of Rugby League in the Steel City.

The Eagles Wheelchair team, who have been in existence for less than two years, will take on Kent’s Gravesend Dynamite in the Wheelchair Challenge Trophy Final in the first match of the double header at the EIS on Sunday, kicking off at 1030am, and hoping for home support.

The Eagles men play their attractive Betfred Championship fixture against leaders Featherstone Rovers at Olympic Legacy Park on Friday night (KO 7.30pm), with Mark Aston’s team looking to consolidate their Play-Off position.

EIS holds special significance for the Eagles after the side launched their wheelchair team at the venue during England’s fixture against Wales in 2021. Since then, the side has continued to develop and now find themselves within arm’s reach of silverware for the very first time.

Leading the squad are mother, daughter and son trio Vicky, April and Will Brooks and Vicky can’t wait to get stuck in. She says:

“It’s an honour to be representing the Eagles having supported the club for so long and it’s really emotional that I’ll get that opportunity alongside my children Will and April.

“We got involved with Wheelchair Rugby League two years ago - for me it was to be able to return to playing the sport I love and for Will who has a disability to be able fit in and play on a level playing field. It’s been life changing for us all, but the best bit is being able to play as a family.

“We had a tough first year as a club, but the players have stuck at it, Greg Brown is a great and patient coach, and everyone’s efforts are paying off. To play our first final in our home city will be very special and we’re all looking forward to it!”

Matt Bell will take charge of the Trophy Final with Becky Whiteley second in command and Ollie Cruickshank and Grant Jackson overseeing the in-goal. Jake Brook has been appointed reserve referee.

Attention will then turn to the Wheelchair Challenge Cup which is poised to be repeat of the thrilling 2022 Final which the Rhinos won 48-34 to complete a hat-trick of Cup wins. 

Catalans, whose men’s team are currently top of the Betfred Super League table and in pole position to challenge for a first Super League title, retained their French Wheelchair title earlier this year, and are determined to gain revenge for their defeat by Leeds in the 2022 and lay hands on their first Challenge Cup title.

David Butler has been appointed lead referee of the Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final for the first time with Ollie Cruickshank his support. Matt Bell and Becky Whiteley will be the in-goal judges, and the reserve referees are Jake Brook and Grant Jackson.

Sunday will also see Sheffield Eagles Women’s team travelling to second placed Dewsbury Moor in the Championship (KO 2pm.)

A limited number of tickets are available for Sunday’s event at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and can be purchased here.