With such a successful Paralympics we thought it was an ideal time for us to Focus On Caledonian Crushers. In a brief interview with Claire Lincoln, she explains to Glasgow Sport the background about the club and the finer details about the sport and the only Wheelchair Rugby Club in Scotland.
Who are the Caledonian Crushers?
The Caledonian Crushers are the only Wheelchair Rugby Club in Scotland and we are based right here in Glasgow. We have players from Glasgow and all over Central Scotland with some travelling over an hour and a half each way to training every week. We will have our first anniversary next month and made our competitive debut at the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby National Championships in June this year.
What is Wheelchair Rugby?
Wheelchair Rugby is THE only full contact wheelchair sport where crashing into opponents is an integral part of the game. The game combines elements of Basketball, Rugby, American Football and Handball. The main objective is to get the ball across the line of your opponent’s goal. Games are played on a regulation size indoor hardwood basketball courts over 8 minute quarters and they are played at a very fast pace with the clock only running when the ball is in play. A team is made up of 4 players with rolling substitutions. Seeing players lying on the court after been knocked out of their wheelchair is a pretty common sight and is why the players love the game so much.
Who can play?
Wheelchair Rugby is a game exclusively for people with disability affecting both the upper and lower limbs which means that despite being one of most physical and aggressive wheelchair sports, it is actually played by some of the least able wheelchair users. Players will commonly have spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, limb amputation or malformation, muscular dystrophy or ataxia. It is a mixed sport so teams are made up of male and female players. Players are given a classification rating from 0.5 to 3.5 based on their ability and a team can field a maximum of 8 points at any one time.
What equipment do you need?
Players use specially designed wheelchairs, which come in offensive or defensive styles, along with gloves to help them grip the wheels of the chair and to help with handling the ball. A volleyball is used to play as it has good grip and is lightweight enough for people with arm weakness to handle. Our club has everything to get new players started and will help people to get equipment of their own.
Where do you train?
We currently train Monday evenings 7-9 at Ashcraig School with occasional extra training sessions at the Gorbals Leisure Centre.
Where do you play matches?
We are entering the 2012/2013 GBWR league against clubs from England, Wales and Ireland. All of our matches are played over Super Series weekends in England.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Managing to pull a team together in 9 months from scratch to being able to compete in the GBWR National Championships in June this year is definitely our biggest achievement. The results didn’t go our way but everyone learned a huge amount, got the experience to play against Paralympic athletes and came back with the motivation to work even harder.
What are your plans over the next year?
We want to increase the number of players in the club and raise the profile of Wheelchair Rugby in Glasgow and across Scotland. We need to get funding for more rugby chairs for the club to aid expansion and we also want to find a permanent home with a full size court to continue the development of our club and players. The ultimate goal is to help support Scottish talent all the way from grassroots to the GB Team.
How do I get involved?
We are always on the look out for new players as well as volunteers who can take on a variety of roles within the club including coaches, mechanics and fundraisers.
Come and meet us at a training session or for more information go to www.caledoniancrushers.co.uk, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Claire on 07894 310215