HEAD coach Mandip Sehmi believes that his side will benefit in the long run after missing out on the semi-finals in the second round of the Wheelchair Rugby 5s Championship.
Coventry Wheelchair Rugby impressed during the tournament, despite failing to match their third-place finish during the opening round in May, but Sehmi says that his side must now finish on a high next month.
“The boys are disappointed about the result but it’s important to go through these games,” he said.
“It’s difficult losing but the team is still very new, and as long as we learn and don’t make the same mistakes in the next game, I can’t ask any more of them.
“At this stage it’s all about gaining experience and I’m so proud of how the team have reacted in difficult situations – I hope we can continue building and finish on a high in the final tournament.”
Coventry were joined by debutants Mark Edwards and Colin Humphreys on their return to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, but the duo could not prevent a 17-13 loss to H4H Endeavour in the opening game.
Despite losing the previous game, Coventry hit back with an astute team performance to beat Hatfield Comets 21-13.
The victory set up a re-match of May’s semi-final against Norfolk Knights – who prevailed 15-14 in the previous encounter.
But once again, the proverbial lightning struck twice, with Coventry losing by the exact same scoreline.
The match-up did not go without incident however, as Coventry’s Lee Taylor was denied a leveller on the try line by the sound of the referee’s whistle.
Defeat meant that Coventry missed out on another semi-final with two matches remaining, but to their credit, players’ heads did not drop.
Instead, Coventry WRC dispatched of Bournemouth Lions and Hatfield Comets in sublime fashion, winning 22-2 and 22-7 respectively to claim fifth place.
Speaking on his debut for the club, Edwards spoke of his enjoyment during the tournament and invites fellow wheelchair basketball players to get involved.
“With this being my first tournament, I felt a bit apprehensive beforehand,” he said.
“But as soon as I got on court – I felt at home – it felt good being part of a team again.
“The teams were very competitive on court, but friendly and helpful off court.
“After only playing a few times, I would highly recommend it to anyone, it’s a physical and skilled game but also a lot of fun.”
Coventry return to Stoke Mandeville for the Wheelchair Rugby 5s Finals on August 31 and September 1, with entry being free for spectators.