Wildcats – 2013 Regional Squad Trials

Men’s and Women’s squad trials will be held for the Wildcats on:

Saturday 12th Jan – Warwick,
Men’s Trial 1 from 2 (1000 start),
Women’s Trial (1030 start).

Venue:  Old Leamingtonians Rugby Club, The Crofts, Bericote Road, Blackdown, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 6QP (not to be confused with Leamington Rugby Club nearby).

Sunday 27th Jan – Reading (exact location tbc),
Men’s squad trial 2 from 2 – squad of 20 announced in the following week,
Women’s squad training.

These trials are for players who are interested in playing for the Wildcats West regional squad at the ‘Nationals’ tournament in March 2013.  The ‘Nationals’ will see the Wildcats compete for the national title, with the tournament also acting as the basis for selection to the elite Open and 30s squads for Home Nations 2013.

The trials will be run by the England West Wildcats Regional Team.  Anyone interested in attending should contact Sammie Phillips – phillipssamantha@rocketmail.com – to register themselves for the trials.

Those who are successful at trials will be required to attend the Wildcats West regional squad training dates promulgated here.  Updates on the exact location and timings for all future Wildcats trials/training will follow here soon.  Join the Wildcats West  on Facebook (via the Thames Valley Vikings Touch group) for the most rapid method of keeping up to speed with Wildcats news.

New Masters grade for 2013 Nationals

As our sport grows, so will the grades competing at Nationals. England Touch would like to announce the introduction of a Men’s Masters Grade for 2013 Nationals, which will be incorporated in to the successful Touch Nationals, 2 day competition.

Based on player numbers and feedback there is sufficient scope to have a North vs South Masters grade. Trials for the two sides are open to male players aged 35+ on or before 30/12/2012. The format will be North vs. South, played over a 3 games series at the Nationals tournament.

This also forms the basis for player development and selection for the England Men’s 35 and 40 sides for the 2013 Home Nations.

Both regions will announcement trial dates, so please keep an eye on the England Touch website.

For any questions at this stage, please check the FAQs page, where we hope we’ve covered everything!

Touch – a sport for all of the family

It’s a proud moment for any parent to see their children play representative sport.  Few sports could dream of simultaneous participation from all of the family at a respected and competitive level, yet Touch allows for this from clubs around the country.  That said, it’s a rare occasion when father, mother, son and daughter can field the pitch together on tournament day – a feat achieved by the McCallion family (pictured above in Cambridge) in 2012’s inaugural Challenge Touch Series (CTS).

Representing the Percy Park Pirates based in Tynemouth, Northumbria, the awesome foursome (Aidan 14, Orla 11, Lesley and Seamus McCallion) were at the core of a Pirates team which qualified for the Lilleshall finals.  Orla, Lesley and Seamus featured again (pictured below) at the combined NTS/CTS finals weekend in Lilleshall.  The family put together an inspired performance with fellow Pirates and succeeded in bringing the first CTS Plate Winners Trophy back to the North East of England!  The result exceeded the club’s expectations for the season and was an unexpected boost to the Pirates’ club profile and the continued growth and expansion of the sport in the North East of England.

The McCallion contribution to the Percy Park Pirates stems back to the club’s establishment, a venture Seamus McCallion embarked upon over nine years ago.  Since then the club has inspired many a newcomer in the North East to the sport and the Pirates stand firm as one of the region’s leading clubs, with representatives having played in regional and national level squads, most recently participating internationally in the England Touch Association’s over-all 2012 European Championship win.

Reflecting on his family contribution to the 2012 CTS Plate win and the future for Percy Park Pirates Touch, Seamus McCallion commented: “I was very proud to be able to play alongside Lesley and both my kids, Aidan and Orla, in a hard fought tournament.  I don’t think this could happen in any other sport.  It’s not just the enjoyment of being able to play alongside each other, it’s the off field, social environment of mixed touch that is unique.

The family link at Percy Park Pirates does not end there.  Though the father and son combination of Ian and Richard Moody was unable to feature on the pitch in the 2012 CTS, much gratitude is owed to Ian Moody for his coaching, commitment and behind the scenes work at the club.  Perhaps the CTS may be graced by a combined McCallion and Moody line-up in the 2013 season?!  Touch is, after-all, “a Sport for all“.

If you’re interested in how you can get involved in this exciting minimal contact, mixed sex team sport that is a great way of keeping fit and socialising, click here for your nearest club.


Coming soon….

#TouchNationals are gathering momentum, as this week, they will launch!

Touch Nationals

England Touch are proud to announce the 2nd annual National Touch Tournament. This is a 2 day tournament where regional sides will compete for the national title whilst forming the basis for player development and pathway leading to National Squad selection.

More info coming your way… VERY SOON!

North East – Touch Development and Comp

When: Saturday, November 10th
Where: Percy Park RFC, North Sheilds, NE302BE
Contact: Lesley McCallion (lesley@mccallion-physio.co.uk 07816 220167)

Medical Team at the Euros

The England Touch Association medical team were all ready for the European championships; consumables were ordered, equipment had been shipped, the protocols had been printed and waterproofs had been packed, however a monsoon was not something that had been factored into the equation! Despite this the team remained pitchside during the downpours that occurred in the early days of the competition, to ensure that all ETA squad members had full medical cover, despite them getting a bit damp!

All medical team members volunteered to be part of the ETA medical team alongside their full time jobs for several reasons; some to gain experience working with a large squad, some to meet new people and some to learn new skills, but all had one goal, to have fun whilst helping the England team to be as successful as possible!

The competition went as well as can be expected with a significantly less number of injuries than occurred in the world cup. This was in part due to prehabilitation programmes and conditioning videos produced by the team and made available to the squad members to utilise in their training. The use of K tape was increased from previous competitions and it was nice to see so many players being open minded in their choice of K tape colour!

The days were long for the team, with early starts and late finishes; however the camaraderie with the medical team made it much more bearable!

The feeling within medical team was that of a real supportive England squad with the medical squad incorporated into the team. I believe that this was due to the appointment of a head of medical services who was visible from the beginning of the season, and opportunities for the medical team to be introduced to the squad and a named medical team member for each team. It is believed that consistency with the medical team would also continue to improve the medical team for the future. In addition this will enable data collected from the Euros and from questionnaires sent to the players prior to the competition to be utilised by the team to develop protocols and rehabilitation programmes to help to reduce injury with the squad.

The medical team would like to thank the players for their support and feedback during the last season. We are keen to continue with the planning ready for next year’s home nation’s competition and hope to see you all in the NTS and nationals competition prior to that. Finally we would like to thank Cari for her supportive management of the team.

See you all soon!

Referees October Update

Hi everyone,

Sorry it’s so late in the month, but here is October’s update for you all … better late than never!

A summary of events – further details found below:

  • 2012 ETA Referees Survey
  • Oxford Bonfire Night – 3rd November 2012
  • ETA AGM – 4th November 2012
  • Benidorm Tournament – 23rd November 2012


  • Manchester Tournament – 23rd February 2013
  • England Nationals – 23rd & 24th March 2013
  • Pendine Sands Tournament(Wales) – 24th & 25th August 2013


England Touch Association – 2012 Referee’s Survey for completion:

England Touch has put together a Referee’s survey, that I’d encourage as many of you as possible to complete.  If you attended any of the ETA events (in particular, the England Nationals, any CTS or NTS event, or the Euro’s), please do take the time to complete this survey.

Our sport is growing and the referees need to grow, expand and develop as well.  To ensure we do so correctly, this is your chance to have a say. Everyone is welcome to complete this survey, whether you’ve been an active referee in 2012 or not.

To complete the survey, please click here.

If you have other feedback, comments, suggestions, questions or queries, you are always more than welcome to get in touch with  Shelley@englandtouch.org.uk or refs@englandtouch.org.uk


England Touch Association – Annual General Meeting:

  • Date – Sunday 4th November 2013
  • Venue – Gosford All Blacks RFC Stratfield Brake, Freize Way, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1UP
  • Time – 12 noon

Referees and players are welcome to attend, but should notify their intention to do so in advance by emailing Jules@englandtouch.org.uk. Referees and players will not be eligible to vote.

For further details on the coming AGM please check the ETA website: http://www.englandtouch.org.uk/index.php/2012/10/2012-annual-general-meeting/
If there is anything that you would like to raise or discuss in the AGM or the OGM, please e-mail Julie Walker on Jules@englandtouch.org.uk  or Shelley Grace on Shelley@englandtouch.org.uk .


Referee Kit:

England Touch have elected to use the Touch Europe Referee Kit (blue and gold), as our ON-FIELD referee uniform.  This will be used at ALL England Touch events in 2013.

Our socks have finally arrived – yay!  Order are currently being sent out, however they will not be distributed until fully paid for.  If you haven’t received an invoice for your order, please let me know and I’ll send it across to you for prompt payment.

If you haven’t received your order in the next week please let me know urgently and I’ll get this sorted with you.

England Touch also now holds some spare Touch Europe Referee Kit (blue and gold) so if you missed out on ordering, and would like your own, please get in touch. Email – refs@englandtouch.org.uk


Referee Courses:

We are planning to start running Level 1 courses over the Autumn and Winter to prepare for 2013 – watch this space for dates.

Save the date … Forthcoming 2012 Tournaments and Touch Events

Join in the fun and get yourself along to some of these great events below!

Bonfire Touch Tournament – Saturday 3rd November 2012

Oxford is putting on their annual Bonfire Touch Tournament and would appreciate any referees making themselves available for this event.  Always lots of fun – come and join in!



2nd Benidorm Touch Tournament – Saturday 24th November 2012

This year a group of referees are actually going to enter a team to PLAY.  Yes, you read that correctly, a group of referees are entering a team to play in this tournament, and we are leaving our whistles behind.  If you would like a trip down memory lane to remember what it’s like to actually play instead of ref all the time, then this trip is for you!

If you fancy a winter weekend break to Spain, and having a run whilst trying to catch a ball rather than trying to find your whistle, then jump on board!

The more the merrier and we are especially looking for female players.


For more information on this event, please contact Kevin Hobbs in the first instance, check the facebook event for this tournament or please email me (contact details above).


Save the date … 2013 Tournaments already announced:

4th Annual Manchester Touch Tournament – Saturday 23rd February 2013

Due to popular demand, Manchester are hosting their 4th Annual Touch Tournament.


Please get in touch with Shelley (refs@englandtouch.org.uk) or Gregg (fullychargedevents@hotmail.co.uk) to register your interest to referee or for further information.

2nd Annual England Touch Nationals – Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March 2013

7 regional men’s and women’s teams will again compete in the 2013 England Nationals Tournament, alongside a North v South Seniors division.

With plenty of advanced notice – please leave the weekend of the 23rd and 24th March 2013 free for this event.  I can’t promise it won’t rain (like it did last year) but it’ll be a great weekend of Touch and a great way to kick start the 2013 season.  I’m hopeful that we will also have at least one referee coach present at this event.


  • Date – Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March 2013 (** this is a two day event **)
  • Format – Men’s, Women’s and Seniors (North v South)
  • Timing – 40 minute games

Please get in touch with Shelley (refs@englandtouch.org.uk) to register your interest to referee as we’ll be looking for as many referees as possible for this weekend.  Further information will be made available as it is confirmed by England Touch.


Looking forward to 2013 …

The ETA is a volunteer based organisation and are always looking for new people to come on board and help out.  The referee section is no different. If you are able to help out in any way please let me know as we’d love to have you on board.  Many hands make light work remember!

The Referee section is looking for people to help with the co-ordination and running of:

  • Referee Recruitment and Retention
  • Touch Europe Referee Kit
  • Referee Courses and training
  • NTS and CTS events
  • Updating the ETA Referee website and Facebook pages
  • Sponsorship possibilities

If anyone has an interest, or contacts that could help us with any of the above, please do let me know!  Any help would be much appreciated.

Contact – Shelley@englandtouch.org.uk or refs@englandtouch.org.uk


Facebook ….

There are two groups established on Facebook which you should join to help you keep in touch:

England Touch Referees

Touch All

These are great forums to communicate with other referees and players alike.  Join in the banter and make sure you are part of these groups.

Otherwise email me refs@englandtouch.org.uk if you are interested in becoming a member of either group.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!


Shelley Grace
National Referee Director

England Touch Association
** To update your contact details, please click here. **

Manchester set to kick-off the 2013 season

Due to popular demand, Manchester are again running their 4th Annual Touch Tournament.

When: Saturday 23th February 2013
Where: William Hulme School, Manchester
Time: 9:30 Start
Format: Mens, Womens and Social Mixed
Cost: £150
Entry Form: Please click here to download

For any more information at this stage, please email fullychargedevents@hotmail.co.uk


2 Trophies for the Crumpies

Retirement, injuries and sadly illness meant a change to some personnel for the 35s squad following the World Cup. (Er, bronze medal since you ask.)

I don’t know if our coach was expecting trouble on or off the pitch but he included two enforcers in the new selection. Very different in their styles, the’ juggernaut’ and the ‘assassin’ brought a new edge (and penalty count) to the team. Alongside the enforcers, we also managed to add some more Englishmen, which was nice.

The tournament started with a tense opening game against the French in which we produced an excellent impersonation of a bunch of middle aged men, straight from a flight and limited night’s sleep, trying to play sport at 07:30 in the morning. Goodness knows what the opposition had been up to as we finally won 5-1.

Later that day, we played the Welsh during a thunder storm of biblical proportions. Soaked to our y-fronts in seconds, we stayed focussed and manage to edge ahead to a 4-2 lead at half time. At which point the game was called to an end by the officials for fear of losing ‘sleepy dwarf’ or ‘chipmunk’ in one of the puddles.


The rain interruption caused havoc and the remaining schedule had to be re-jigged. The good news was we only had to get through 4 more games to get to the final.

With renewed focus on day 2, we put a fast flowing performance to beat Scotland 9-2. The following morning we stuttered slightly against Wales finally scraping through 6-5 (we really don’t like early mornings) before ‘Le Crunch’ in the afternoon.

In bright sunshine with a partisan crowd we put in our performance of the tournament to date to win 10-3. Unfortunately, whether it was memories of Blanco-Heslop or niggle from previous encounters, the game finished with a little bit of ‘sacs a main’ with our enforcers and professional negotiator to the fore. Still it was nothing a couple of beers in a paddling pool couldn’t smooth over.

England went out to beat the Scots 9-2. Progressing to the finals, the strong England team defeated Wales 5-3, another gold medal for England

The fourth and penultimate day took us to the serious business of the inaugural Yarrow Memorial Cup. Contested in the most senior England v Scotland fixture at each tournament, the Cup is in memory of Simon Yarrow who tragically passed away last year (2011). Simon gave a huge amount to the sport of Touch Rugby as a player and a coach in Scotland and England. The team felt very privileged to play in this inaugural fixture. The game was a fiercely contested and close encounter that we hope did some justice to Simon’s legacy. Despite England finally winning the division and Scotland coming last overall, the teams made a really close match of it finishing with a 5-3 win to England. Both teams held a minute’s reminiscent silence before the match and players wore black armbands. It was a great occasion – very touching and it was clear that both sides had an extra spring in their step knowing the trophy was at stake. Si would have loved it.

And so to the final in which we would face a Welsh side slightly depleted in numbers but that had pushed us close twice already.

We don’t always do what our coach tells us. We don’t always stick to patterns and we don’t always like to make it easy on ourselves. Nonetheless, we always work hard for one another and we work as a team. That commitment and collectivism saw us edge out a talented and spirited Welsh team 5-3 to become European Champions 2012.

Another enjoyable and successful campaign and so our thanks must go again to Emma Crawford our physio, to Anna our sports masseuse and to Georgia our excellent manager for all their hard work and support. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!

We are a bunch of middle aged men. We are trying to stave off the ravages of time. We get our own team mates names wrong. We have mixed interpretations of our coach’s simple instructions but…

We played 7.
We won 7 and we are European Champions.
We are England Mens 35s.