The Harlequins Foundation’s wheelchair rugby team, known as “The Jesters”, took on Crawley Jets at Hampton High, in both team’s first fixture since they formed in Autumn 2019. With both teams having trained regularly, the fixture was a chance for them to put their skills into action ahead of an exciting summer schedule of tournaments, as well as an anticipated return fixture. The teams were well supported by staff from Harlequin FC and The Harlequins Foundation, as well as local councillors, and the coaching staff of the Crawley Jets.
On the night, Crawley Jets ran out 22-21 winners over The Jesters in a close fought affair with both teams showing immense skill to take the game right down to the wire. The game was end to end throughout, with some intense drama in the final few minutes seeing Crawley Jets narrowly take the victory.
Claudia Burrough, Captain of The Jesters, said: “Playing our first fixture together as a club was a great experience and we learnt so much from it. The game itself was competitive but also gave us a good chance to practice our skills as most of us are new to the sport and get used to playing together as a team.
“The support from those who came to watch was brilliant and really boosted us and made for a brilliant occasion for our first game. Thank you to Crawley Jets for making the trip and we look forward to the return leg in the near future.”
Trish Duffy, Team Manager for the Crawley Jets, said: “As a new club, training is great, but really a team needs something to train for.
“The teams worked so will together, there were lots of different strategies employed by each team to try and break through.
“It was a tough and close game but we just edged it on the day. It was great to see that The Jesters had a good bunch of supporters there, and we can’t wait for the return fixture!”
Kirsty Openshaw, Head Coach for The Jesters, said: ““I’m proud of the team, just look how close the score was. It was a great game and I’m delighted.
“I think it’s really important for the players to be able to play competitively, because that’s a major part of every sport and wheelchair rugby is no different. The team played really well and I’m sure all the players will be happy with their performances.”
Want to see The Jesters in action? Then check out this video from their launch event, attended by Harlequins stars Mike Brown and Mark Lambert!