Tigers PDRL finish on a high at Finals Day

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At the weekend, the PDRL season came to its conclusion on Finals Day at Belle Vue Sports Village in Manchester. A celebratory day for all the hard work put in behind the scenes to get the PDRL game on the map and showcase some fantastic Rugby League talent.

The Fords were represented by their own PDRL side on the day; A team that had finished 4th in the season proper. Playing two games in total on the day, the team gave a really good account of themselves and finished on a high with a win over Bradford Bulls.

The first game of the day featured the Tigers taking on Wigan Warriors. In an end-to-end game, Wigan opened the scoring before Ricky Fisher got one back after catching a great pass and breaking the line from close range. Wigan scored two quickfire tries to seemingly put the game out of Cas’ reach. Another try for Fisher down the left-hand side was merely a consolation and the game ended 16-8.

In the final game of the season for the Tigers, they faced Bradford Bulls who opened the scoring after a high ball was not dealt with. A bit of magic from Fisher again with a chip and chase levelled proceedings after the Bulls fullback failed to catch it on his line and Ricky finished off his own kick.

Bradford took the lead again with an overlap on the right, but this didn’t deter the Fords. It was that man again, Fisher, who left the Bradford defence guessing with two dummies to score his fourth of the day. The Tigers rounded the win off through Ryan Lazenby who scooted from the play the ball and found a gap to ground and cap off a fantastic 16-8 win.

The team have gone from strength to strength this year and Head of Operations at the Castleford Tigers Foundation, Mat Lancaster, was really pleased to see the progress from every one of them individually, and as a team.

“The defeat in the first game was a tough one to take because we’ve come so far this season and expectations are high, but that can’t take away from what has been an absolutely fantastic year. They’ve come a long way and they have a lot of pride in playing. That shows in the disappointment when things don’t go our way, but they’ve put so much hard work into it and put their bodies on the line despite all of the other challenges they have day-to-day.”

PDRL Coach Jamie Beards echoed his pride in coaching the team and believes that the pack will go into 2023 with their heads held high.

“The pride shines through of what they go through and despite what they go through they turn up and everyone plays for each other, and they put 100% into playing for each other. Today has been disappointing, but we’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll go again.”

From a playing point of view, PDRL half-back Ricky Fisher is relishing the opportunity to pull on the Cas jersey and is grateful to the Foundation for all their work in getting the game on the map. Fresh from scoring two tries in the opening game, Ricky spoke to about how much the game means to him, and how much the foundation has done for the sport as a whole.

“It’s massive. To be able to wear the shirt and as some people see in the game, I get so passionate about it and I have hunger to win each game. I’m so grateful for what Cas Tigers have done for me and giving me the opportunity to play Rugby League again.

“The Foundation are doing everything they can. Mat and Jamie have been brilliant and all the players of how they welcome you in and the backing we get from the Foundation is amazing. We don’t get paid to do it, but we get the funding and the acknowledgement the game deserves. People underestimate the game and think it’s a lot easier and not as physical, but when you come into the game it’s not, it’s amazing.”

The Castleford Tigers PDRL team has been a platform for great things already, in particular for Nick Kennedy who along with two others from the Fords side, have been selected for the upcoming World Cup. Nick believes that without the Fords’ PDRL side, he wouldn’t have been able to fulfil his dream of playing for his country.

“The coaching staff that we have, Mat, Jamie and Tosh, altogether they’ve really lifted my game this year. The way they coach and the attention to detail and pushing us. Just because we’re disabled, doesn’t mean that it’s ok to drop a ball or run a wrong line, they push us constructively as well. It’s a supportive, detailed coaching. They’ve really lifted us as a team and improved my game as well.

“Without that, would I be pulling on an England shirt? I don’t think so. I can’t thank the coaches enough and everyone that has supported me through my journey to be pulling on an England shirt. You put away any hopes of representing your country when you’re 14 and not signed for a professional club. I’m 35 now and I’ll be playing against Australia, New Zealand and Wales at a World Cup. It’s such an honour and without the support of the Foundation, and the coaches, these things don’t just occur.”

If you would like to get involved with Castleford Tigers PDRL team, then please contact [email protected].

Would you like to support and sponsor one of our PDRL 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]

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