Magic Weekend saw a total of 16 learning disability rugby league teams from across the country take to the field at St. James’ Park as they took centre stage in the northeast.
The event marked the first time since 2019 that Community Integrated Care’s Learning Disability Super League stars have been able to showcase their skills at Magic Weekend due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it was a special moment to see them return last weekend.
Castleford took two teams up to the event with a fantastic number of over 20 players getting involved for the Tigers as they participated in an exhibition fixture at half-time during the St Helens versus Wigan game on Saturday.
One of the Fords’ LDRL coaches, Anthony Summerfield, reflected on what was a memorable day for him and his team.
“They all had a really good time on the weekend playing against all of the teams that were there. We took over 20 players up to Newcastle, so we had enough numbers to have two teams. It was a busy weekend because we had a couple of games against Leeds, a couple against Wakefield, and they also had a good game against Sheffield Eagles as well.
“All the players really enjoyed themselves and when they stepped out at St. James’ Park it was unbelievable. There’s a picture that the club put out on social media the other day of one of the lads running towards the Cas fans and the smile on his face just says it all. They were all absolutely buzzing with it.”
It wasn’t long ago that the Tigers’ LDRL team had the honour of playing in front of a packed-out crowd at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle ahead of the Wigan fixture and Summerfield put forward that memories like that and taking part at Magic Weekend provides moments they will never forget.
“We had one of the two teams playing in front of the Cas end which was amazing for them, and they really went for it. One of the main reasons I got involved with coaching them is to see the enjoyment they get from it and seeing their faces light up.
“It’s fantastic for them to get to play at large events like Magic Weekend. They also love playing at Wheldon Road like they did recently before one of the First Team games and it all gives them a really big boost.”
Learning disability rugby league is growing at a rapid rate and now has over 230 players representing clubs up and down the country. In closing, the Cas LDRL coach outlined that occasions such as the one in Newcastle will only help raise the profile of the sport further.
“Some of them had been told that they would never play rugby so it’s massive for the exposure of learning disability rugby league for them to be able to play in front of big crowds like on Saturday. It gives people who don’t know much about it a chance to see what they can do. It’s absolutely fantastic for the game.”
If you would like to get involved with Castleford Tigers’ LDRL team, then please contact [email protected].
Would you like to support and sponsor one of our LDRL players? Not only will you be actively supporting them, but you would also be supporting Castleford Tigers Foundation in its delivery of a whole host of programmes to help make peoples’ lives better.
Contact us for more information [email protected]