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Cheltenham's Jamie Evans demonstrates the allure of Murderball

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

WHEEL TO WHEEL: Action from the weekend's matches and, below, Jamie Eans and David Durston

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ITS brute force dazzled onlookers at the Paralympics and has earned it the nickname Murderball.

And Cheltenham got a chance to watch the sport first hand as some of the country's top players took part in a tournament.

Wheelchair rugby, a terrifying fusion of ice hockey, handball and rugby, was founded in Canada in 1977 and has taken the world by storm in the past few years.

The Coloplast Super Series visited Bournside and Cheltenham Ladies College's sports centre throughout the weekend.

Among the players taking part was Jamie Evans, who grew up in Cheltenham.

The former Bishop Cleeve's school student was left paralysed after he dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool at a Greek hotel in 2002.

He heard about the sport just after his accident and has played it since, apart from during a break while he was studying for his creative advertising degree.

The 28-year-old now plays and trains with Team Storm, accompanied by some of the TeamGB players from last summer's Paralympics.

He said: "It is the only sport that is designed for those with tetraplegia and has some really good health benefits.

"I want to keep playing as it is so important to my health and my well-being.

"I learned a lot from the wheelchair rugby community living with spinal injuries and met a lot of like-minded people."

David Durston, from Cirencester, also suffered spinal injuries 14 years ago diving into a swimming pool before falling in the love with the sport two years later.

The 45-year-old dad now plays for the South Wales Pirates.

He said: "It definitely looks more violent than it is as your chair takes most of the impact. Tournaments like this are great because there is a real sense of camaraderie between the players and you get a lot of help and support from others experiencing similar problems.

"When I started, the game was more of a social event and it has changed so much and become a lot more professional."

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