Glasgow Panthers v Dundee Dragons
Easterhouse Sports Hub Sunday 9 August 1pm
Referee: Peter Lowis (Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League)
Line Referee: John Cairns (Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League)
Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club Rugby League team travelled to Glasgow on Sunday 9 August to take on the Glasgow Panthers in the first leg of the SWRL Challenge Cup.
Dundee were missing former Scotland international Gemma Lumsdaine but included former international Ian McKeen, Dundee’s only able bodied player, and team captain for the day.
The playing squad was a mixture of experience and inexperience, was going to say youth but that would be stretching the truth a bit, with current Scotland players Stephen Carling and Michael Mellon and recent addition to the Scotland squad Jay Anderson who along with David Birtles, Ronnie Robb and Derek Moncur were playing their first competitive fixture.
Glasgow Panthers kicked off and the game started in frantic fashion with collisions all over the park and a huge amount of kicking, some of it constructive and some it a bit aimless.
Panthers were quickly into the attack pushing the Dragons back with wave after wave and opened the scoring with a well worked, but unconverted try on 13 minutes.
This galvanised the Dragons and it wasn’t long before they were ahead on 15 minutes with a Michael Mellon Try converted by Ian McKeen, followed by an Ian McKeen Try converted by the same player on 17 minutes.
This stung the Panthers and the pressure on the Dragon’s line was relentless resulting in a converted try on 26 minutes, but just as it looked like the tide was turning in Panther’s favour that man McKeen appeared in the line to dot down and convert his own try on 31 minutes.
Ronnie Robb then joined the match after Jay had a bit of trouble with her chair and his impact was immediate as he sent Stephen Carling away down the line for his first try of the day on 35 minutes, but the conversion was missed.
Panthers were not going to let the match get away from them and on the half they found space in the corner for an unconverted try.
Half Time Glasgow Panthers 14 Dundee Dragons 22
Dundee came out for the second half with guns blazing and Mckeen crossed again on 42 minutes for an unconverted try, and once again it looked like the Dragons might stretch away, but this Panthers team is made of strong stuff and they fired back with a converted try of their own on 50 minutes.
This was followed by an immediate sucker punch when Glasgow failed to deal with a restart and Michael Mellon roared in for a try converted by ian McKeen on 51 minutes.
The play was now end to end and Panthers got the scoreboard ticking again with another converted try on 55 minutes followed by a Dragons try by Stephen Carling try converted by himself on 55 minutes and then a further Panthers converted try on 63 minutes, with defences really not on top.
The Dragons continued to mount pressure on the Panthers line and debutant Ronnie Robb forced his way in for a first try for the club on 68 minutes, which went unconverted.
Derek Moncur joined the match on his debut with 10 minutes to play to help to close the match out.
Panthers were not taking this as sign of defeat as they powered down the pitch with an interception try from halfway which was not converted from wide out, now only 8 minutes left and it was truly game on.
Dragons were the first to blink as Panthers capitalised on some slack defending to score a try, tying up the scores with the conversion to come and only a few minutes left to play.
The successful conversion from out on the wing brought the biggest cheer of the day from the appreciative Glasgow support.
Dragons really had to respond and having pushed Panthers back from the restart they regained possession and worked a try scoring opportunity at the corner which Stephen Carling gratefully accepted and Ian McKeen confidently converted from the touchline.
Two minutes to play and Dundee Dragons four points ahead with possession coming their way.
The restart was confidently gathered and Dragons played out their set of six tackles working their way down field to the Panthers try line, where the ball was spilled into touch and the referee blew for full time to signal Dundee Dragons first victory.
Full Time Glasgow Panthers 42 Dundee Dragons 46
This was truly an exciting and enjoyable game of Wheelchair Rugby League with both teams giving their all and then a little bit more.
The Challenge Cup final is now very finely poised going into the Dundee return on 23 August, and with only four points in it it’s anyone’s cup.
Come and join us at Dundee International Sports Centre at 1pm on Sunday 23 August, bring a friend, bring your family you will not be disappointed.