Yesterday afternoon saw a brilliant total of seven Castleford Tigers Foundation PDRL players take to the field in the England Community Lions PDRL vs PDRL Selection match.
Mark Gummerson was named in the England Community Lions squad, whilst Connor Lynes, Nick Kennedy, Richard Fisher, Michael Parker, Ryan Lazenby and George Wilshaw all lined up for the PDRL Select side.
It was a hotly contested contest in the summer heat at Warrington’s Victoria Park and the Tigers’ PDRL stars put on a show. Cas captain Nick Kennedy got the scoring underway, getting on the end of a beautifully executed grubber from fellow Ford Richard Fisher. Fisher then got on the scoresheet himself with a shimmy and dart for the line before setting up Kennedy again in the corner, supplying a torpedo of a ball out wide to his Tigers teammate.
Watch all three tries scored by the Tigers below!
The Lions eventually ran out 30-18 winners on a standout day for physical disability rugby league and Castleford PDRL player Wilshaw talked through what was a memorable day.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I was involved in such a historic game for PDRL. I wasn’t too happy with my own performance, and I played at centre whereas I’m a forward normally, but it was just fantastic to get back together with the boys and play on a national level.
“To get the recognition and play for the select side was special. It was one of the hardest rugby games I have ever played because of the heat and the speed of it. We were all quite nervous heading up because the game was played to a different set of rules, it was in front of a big crowd, and it was all being recorded. It was great to play with lads who you normally play against, and we put up a really big performance.”
The Cas forward linked up with the PDRL side this year through being involved in the men’s open talking group, Andy’s Man Club, which runs every Monday evening at The Jungle from 7pm. Wilshaw put forward that being able to play the game he loves alongside his work as a facilitator at the sessions has dramatically helped his outlook on life.
“It’s done wonders for my mental health being involved in PDRL. It’s made me so much happier these past few months and the boys down at Cas are just the best bunch of people to play with. They have all been so welcoming and I don’t think I would have been able to play that game yesterday without their backing.
“I’m one of the facilitators at Andy’s Man Club at Castleford. I started going to the sessions after one of my closest friends took his own life and I went down a dark road mentally. The open-talking group helped me massively to get me where I am today.
“I was in a freak motorbike accident and was told I would never play rugby league again so just being able to take to the field again, it just brings you so much happiness because being told I wouldn’t play the game I love, it really knocked me down. Being able to play again has changed my life because it keeps me mentally stable, and I know I’ve got the boys to speak to. The guys at the Tigers are great people.”
Sunday’s game marked a memorable moment for the Fords’ Connor Lynes who took part in his first competitive match just a couple of months after suffering a stroke. When touching on Lynes’ return to action, George affirmed that everyone at the club sees him as an inspiration.
“The kid is an absolute angel, and he is so inspirational. You wouldn’t think for one second that Connor goes through what he does. He’s a fantastic kid and a great guy. He’s an absolute inspiration to everyone at Cas and all the girls and guys love him.”
It’s a quick turnaround for the Tigers who were involved in the representative game as they will be donning their Cas colours this Saturday at Bradford Bulls’ Festival.
Castleford are currently on a remarkable streak of seven victories on the spin and in closing, Wilshaw explained that he and the team are hungry to continue their run at Odsal Stadium.
“We are seven wins in a row now and hopefully we can keep that run going at Bradford’s festival this weekend. We play Wigan, Bradford, and Leeds so we want to get the three wins again and then look towards the finals.”
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, you would 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]