GB’s winning start halted by Australia
16:15 14 October 2015
A round-up of day two at the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge
Wins for Australia and USA in the second evening of BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge action rounded off what was an eventful second day of matches.
World champions Australia managed to win their second game of the day whilst ending European champions Great Britain’s 100% winning start to the tournament with a 57-55 win.
In a game that has been dubbed ‘The Smashes’ it was certainly a feisty affair between two of the tournaments big names- Ayaz Bhuta and Ryley Batt.
GB were playing well but Australia grabbed the early lead in the first quarter and held on for the duration of the game.
Defensive player Jonny Coggan was superb in blocking the right players at the right time to allow Bhuta to score on a few occasions in the first period.
Australia took a three-point lead into the second quarter and Bhuta let all of his frustrations out on an onrushing Batt who went tumbling to the ground.
Jim Roberts was keen to add to his points haul just 24 hours after the France win and he managed 12 tries as the second quarter came to a close.
Australia took a three point advantage into the interval thanks to a last second try right on the buzzer to make the score 23-26.
Batt, who had spent most of the second quarter on the bench, returned to the court after half time and he made an instant impact, scoring the first try after the restart.
Coach Paul Shaw gave Nicholas Cummins some court time and he managed to create a space just big enough for Roberts to pick up his 14th try.
GB had to be on top defensively and Bulbul Hussain did his best to keep tabs on Batt when the 43-year-old was called upon to put in some court time.
Four points separated the two teams going into the final and a massive push was needed if Shaw’s side was going to get a win against the world champions.
The introduction of captain Chris Ryan boosted the team and three quick goals from Roberts x2 followed by Ryan managed to set up a nervy final minute.
It looked like GB may have found the equaliser but Australia held on as the clock wound down to end the game 55-57.
USA cruised through their third game in two days with an emphatic 62-23 win against South Africa in the other evening game of day two.
In the morning session, New Zealand couldn’t have wished for a better start to their BT WWRC campaign as they beat South Africa 64-32 in the opening game of day two.
In the day’s second encounter, world number one team Australia fought hard to take a 65-62 victory over Japan.
And USA bounced back from their opening day defeat to Canada to end New Zealand’s unbeaten start to the tournament with a 54-45 win.