Mixed ability team sign up new sponsor

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Halifax RUFC’s Mixed Ability Rugby Team, The Magpies, has officially named the Plummet Line Hotel, on Bull Close Lane in Halifax, as its new sponsor.

The budding new relationship was sealed with a Meet and Greet on Sunday August 4, where members of the team met with the pub’s manager, Sarah Stansfield, and the rest of her staff.

Halifax Mixed Ability Rugby Team is a 17-plus open age rugby team, for all skill levels, ability or disability, and prides itself on its welcoming environment, where its players can be themselves without fear of being judged. The 25-strong group consists of men with physical and mental disabilities, as well as able-bodied men.

The Plummet Line’s first order of business as new sponsors was to fund the team’s recreational wear, featuring both the team’s logo and the pub’s branding. Sarah was presented with her own Magpies polo shirt as she was welcomed as an honorary member of the team.

The Magpies finished their impressive season earlier this year, with only one loss to their name – despite the majority of the teams they faced not falling into the mixed ability category.

The team’s success has opened the door to even greater challenges, and they will be working hard over the next season to get ready for the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART) 2020, which will be held in Cork, Ireland next summer.

The Magpies Head Coach of two years, Craig Smith said: “It’s great to have the Plummet Line on board! I’ve actually known Sarah since I was 17, so I’m particularly pleased to be working closely with her as we prepare for Ireland – I’m sure the relationship will facilitate another amazing season.

“Rugby has given me so much over the years, it’s a pleasure to share the joy it has brought me with these truly deserving lads.

“The boys I work with are really incredible. We play full rugby, against teams both in the mixed ability category, and from the standard teams, and the only difference is the scrums are uncontested and we call ‘slow-ball’ for our players with physical disabilities, which means you can’t tackle them.

“We train hard and it pays off in our win rate. We’re also proud to see our scrum-half, who is deaf, start training with the second team next season – although we’ll miss him!”

Sarah said: “I’d been looking for ways to support our local community for some time, so when I saw the Magpies were looking for a new sponsor, I jumped at the chance! It was great to meet the guys on Saturday, as well as seeing them all together with their infectious team spirit.

“We’re going to be hosting lots of events throughout the year to raise money for the team – like festivals, band nights, charity auctions and mini tournaments – and hopefully we can send them to the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament next year. Go Magpies!”

The Magpies are currently training on Tuesday evenings for 90 minutes at Ovenden Park, now they are in the off-season, which will increase to two 60 minutes sessions, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, once the new season begins. Craig hopes to organise fixtures every other weekend for the team, to get them fighting fit for Ireland 2020.