Second NTS of 2013 – London – 11th May

EVENT DETAILS:

NTS event two of the 2013 season will be held in London on Saturday the 11th of May 2013.  All details relating to the event can be found at this link.

PLAYING VENUE:  

King Georges Park, Wandsworth, SW18 4DN.

NOTE FOR TEAM ORGANISERS:
 
Dear NTS Team Organisers,
After a very successfully run Nottingham NTS, it is now time for the 2nd NTS in London on Saturday 11th May 2013.
We had hoped to include the NTS alongside the London 10s and Touch Festival at Grasshoppers RFC this year, however we have unfortunately been very badly let down by Grasshoppers such that the London 10s rugby side of the event has had to be cancelled this year, due to lack of a suitable venue being available at this late stage.
The London NTS will therefore now be held at King Georges Park, Wandsworth, SW18 4DN where the London Super League is hosted each week.
 The venue authorities have marked full size touch fields and we have toilets, changing facilities and showers available to all players and supporters at the Wandel Recreation Centre, adjacent to the fields.
You can register and pay for your team by clicking on the followingREGISTRATION LINK and selecting the first venue on the list which is ‘2013 London NTS – Hosted by Bareback Riders’ and following the process through to register your team. The registration cost is £195 for the tournament and a case of water and a lunch pack will be provided for each player.
If you would like to pay directly into a bank account, then please let me know and I will  furnish you with those details.
Kind regards
Mike Abromowitz
BBR London NTS Organiser

Mother & Daughter make #TouchNationals history!

Mother & Daughter make #TouchNationals history!

Pictured above in action against the NW Blades, Lesley (green number 9 in foreground) and her daughter Orla (green vest in background) give the ETA an interview to mark the occasion.

ETA: Lesley, could you tell our readers a little about you and your daughter’s Touch playing history?

Lesley:  “I started playing Touch at 35 and first represented England in the 2006 Euros in Edinburgh.  My daughter Orla started playing Touch when she was 3 and has been playing Touch throughout her formative years, she can’t remember a Thursday  night when she hasn’t been playing Touch.”  

ETA:  Orla, in terms of Touch, tell us who has inspired you the most?

Orla:  “My mum, dad and brother are obviously my role models mainly because of both of my parents playing internationally, with my mum playing for England and dad for Ireland.  Also, my dad played rugby league for Halifax, winning the challenge cup in his career!  And my brother is also a really talented Touch and rugby player!”  

ETA:  Which Touch club do both of you currently represent and which region is that?  Which region did you both make history playing for as the ETA’s first #TouchNationals mother-daughter combination?

Lesley:  “Our club is Percy Park Pirates, from the North East region.  However, we were both proud to be a part of the South West Saxons women’s squad for this year’s #TouchNationals.”

ETA:  Orla, would you say you always took part in sports from a young age (i.e. at pre-school)?  If so, what sports have you grown up with?

Orla:  “I have always been mad with sport!  In my primary school I got stuck into everything, but PE was always just shapes on the floor and every few years there were a few weeks of judo and multi skills, but whatever opportunity I had I would go in and do it.  I then moved to a middle school in year 5 and it was amazing, I started playing badminton, hockey, netball, rounders, athletics and I was on the team for all of those. At high school I have been involved in every match of netball, hockey, rugby league, football, handball, dance, badminton and cricket.  Out of school I play touch, hockey, rugby league, badminton, swimming and athletics.”

ETA:  Lesley, did you ever talk with your daughter about yours sports participation and do you think that inspired her?

Lesley:  “Orla’s always been physical and has been thrown about by her big brother, they used to set-up circuits in the back garden and practice tackling!  I’ve not really talked much about what I’ve done but she’s always been included and has spent loads of time on touch lines: puddle diving, rope skipping, coat holding, photo taking..!”

ETA:  Orla, do you think that girls your age take sport as seriously as boys?

Orla:  “I think they do because actually in my school, girls have as much sport as boys, and my girls football team has been more  successful than the boys because me and my other team mates are the best team in the North East!”

ETA:  Lesley, is fitness a part of your every day family life?

Lesley: “Yes, I walk the dog daily, play touch at least twice a week, teach a fitness pilates once a week, fit in a training session or 2 and I’ve just taken up squash!!  My son Aidan plays club and regional rugby league and union.  As for my husband, Seamus exercises every day – keeps him from being grumpy!”

ETA:  Orla, have you always had your parents spectating and supporting you at sporting events as you’ve grown up?

Orla:  “Yes, all the time!  My friends always ask if my mum is coming because they love it when my mum comes because she cheers us on and gives us tips on how to play better. But my dad is so embarrassing because  the other day I was playing rugby league and my dad stomped out the car and started coaching but again everyone said that he was good but it was still really embarrassing. My mum and dad have kind of been team physio’s for me and my brother too.”

ETA:  Lesley, do you think being an ‘involved parent’ offers extra encouragement?

Lesley:  “Definitely, although my kids are getting to an age where they can take responsibility for getting to and from some of their training sessions themselves.  I love watching them play sport now, it’s getting more and more competitive.”

ETA:  Orla, who has been the sporting hero you’ve always idolised?  Also, how did you feel playing at the Touch Nationals for the first time, particularly knowing that your Mum was watching every move?

Orla:  “Definitely my mum.  She will always inspire me and be my role model, and not just because of sport, but also for the way my mum recovered from illness and fought her way back to being able to play Touch. She is amazing and I love her. THANKS MUM XXX!  As for playing at the Nationals, well it was really exciting and scary.  Yes, my mum waswatching my every move, that’s why I wanted to score really badly to make her proud.”

ETA: Lesley, how did you help your daughter/children develop a love for the game of Touch?

Lesley:  “To be fair, Orla hasn’t had much choice, she’s grown up with Thursday night touch sessions and the Pirates have always encouraged family touch.  It great to see mum, dad, aunty, uncle, granny…….all playing alongside each other.  Orla often plays alongside her brother (15) and cousin (5).  Things can sometimes get a bit fiery, especially when Aidan and I are on the same team!”

ETA:  Thank you to the Lesley & Orla McCallion for their time and contribution to this news article.  We hope this will inspire the next generation of Touch players out there!  Share this story with your friends.  – We are England Touch.

England’s #TouchNationals Full News Round-up

Touch Nationals 2013 Trophy Winners

Men’s Touch National Champions – South East Taipans

Women’s Touch National Champions – South East Sharks

Masters Touch National Champions – Northern Monkeys

#TouchNationals 2013 saw the South East Taipans (men’s squad), the South East Sharks (women’s squad), and the Northern Monkeys (Masters Division) crowned as National Champions of their respective divisions.  Well done to the Taipans and Sharks for successfully defending their titles, and congratulations to the Northern Monkeys, who won the inaugural Masters series 2-1 after a thrilling drop-off encounter in a nail-biting game 3 decider!

Individual Trophy Winners

Men’s MVP – James Heptonstall (West Wildcats)

Women’s MVP – Susan Kidd (SE Taipans)

Masters MVP – Jeff Bimson (Northern Monkeys)

Coach of the tournament – Natasha Verniquet (West Wildcats)

Referee of the tournament – Neil Fitzpatrick

Individual winners were as follows: Men’s MVP, James Heptonstall (West Wildcats); Women’s MVP, Susan Kidd (SE Taipans); Masters MVP, Jeff Bimson (Northern Monkeys); Coach of the tournament, Natasha Verniquet (West Wildcats Women); and Referee of the tournament, Neil Fitzpatrick.  Congratulations to all the trophy winners!

ETA Note of Thanks

The ETA would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who contributed to the organisation of the #TouchNationals, Bolton School for providing a superb venue, the England Touch medical teams, and the referees.  A successful tournament wouldn’t have been possible without your contribution!
Catch up with the action from the event in the multitude of photographs now uploaded on the ETA Facebook Page.

Post-tourament player interview with Taipans’ Rowling brothers

#TouchNationals – Taipans say thanks!

The Men’s National Champions – South East Taipans – brotherly duo of Daniel & Clint Rowling were proud of their team’s achievements and took a few moments after lifting the trophy to share their thoughts with us:

“We’re over the moon with the outcome, and couldn’t be more pleased that we were able to produce our best performance in the final. Before the game we spoke about the importance of doing the little things right and the big things coming as a result and fortunately things fell into place for us.  As relatively inexperienced coaches we were lucky to have a squad of great guys with winning attitudes.

The tournament organisers put on a great event and everything ran like clockwork. The fields were in great condition, the venue was well laid out, communication was clear and the referees were tireless. The ETA should be proud of producing a tournament of this quality.

The biggest positive for us was seeing firsthand the continued development of the regions outside of the South East. All of our matches were a real challenge and came down to the final whistle – the competition keeps getting fiercer. It’s great to see the advances that are being made, it’s really positive for England touch.

During the lead up we joked how 2013 is the year of the snake but one thing’s for sure, the Taipans will be back in 2014 and looking to make it three in a row – hisss!”

Shane Hills: Touch Europe Referee – come player – note of thanks!

Shane Hills, normally known as one of England’s European Touch Referees, took to the field as a Midland Tigers player at the #TouchNationals and had this to share with the ETA:

“Thanks to the ETA for an amazing tournament. Great venue and facilities. Weather was typical of England but all else ran smoothly. Great to see it from the other side & cannot believe the schedule on Sunday actually ran ahead of time by 10 minutes. That never happens. Thanks to Tom BedkowskiShelley Grace and all the other little elves that helped make that a huge success. I believe all the teams had an enjoyable experience.”

OFFICIAL RESULTS

MOTHER & DAUGHTER MAKE #TOUCHNATIONALS HISTORY!

Pictured above in action against the NW Blades, Lesley (green number 9 in foreground) and her daughter Orla (green vest in background) give the ETA an interview to mark the occasion.

ETA: Lesley, could you tell our readers a little about you and your daughter’s Touch playing history?

Lesley:  “I started playing Touch at 35 and first represented England in the 2006 Euros in Edinburgh.  My daughter Orla started playing Touch when she was 3 and has been playing Touch throughout her formative years, she can’t remember a Thursday  night when she hasn’t been playing Touch.”  

ETA:  Orla, in terms of Touch, tell us who has inspired you the most?

Orla:  “My mum, dad and brother are obviously my role models mainly because of both of my parents playing internationally, with my mum playing for England and dad for Ireland.  Also, my dad played rugby league for Halifax, winning the challenge cup in his career!  And my brother is also a really talented Touch and rugby player!”  

ETA:  Which Touch club do both of you currently represent and which region is that?  Which region did you both make history playing for as the ETA’s first #TouchNationals mother-daughter combination?

Lesley:  “Our club is Percy Park Pirates, from the North East region.  However, we were both proud to be a part of the South West Saxons women’s squad for this year’s #TouchNationals.”

ETA:  Orla, would you say you always took part in sports from a young age (i.e. at pre-school)?  If so, what sports have you grown up with?

Orla:  “I have always been mad with sport!  In my primary school I got stuck into everything, but PE was always just shapes on the floor and every few years there were a few weeks of judo and multi skills, but whatever opportunity I had I would go in and do it.  I then moved to a middle school in year 5 and it was amazing, I started playing badminton, hockey, netball, rounders, athletics and I was on the team for all of those. At high school I have been involved in every match of netball, hockey, rugby league, football, handball, dance, badminton and cricket.  Out of school I play touch, hockey, rugby league, badminton, swimming and athletics.”

ETA:  Lesley, did you ever talk with your daughter about yours sports participation and do you think that inspired her?

Lesley:  “Orla’s always been physical and has been thrown about by her big brother, they used to set-up circuits in the back garden and practice tackling!  I’ve not really talked much about what I’ve done but she’s always been included and has spent loads of time on touch lines: puddle diving, rope skipping, coat holding, photo taking..!”

ETA:  Orla, do you think that girls your age take sport as seriously as boys?

Orla:  “I think they do because actually in my school, girls have as much sport as boys, and my girls football team has been more  successful than the boys because me and my other team mates are the best team in the North East!”

ETA:  Lesley, is fitness a part of your every day family life?

Lesley: “Yes, I walk the dog daily, play touch at least twice a week, teach a fitness pilates once a week, fit in a training session or 2 and I’ve just taken up squash!!  My son Aidan plays club and regional rugby league and union.  As for my husband, Seamus exercises every day – keeps him from being grumpy!”

ETA:  Orla, have you always had your parents spectating and supporting you at sporting events as you’ve grown up?

Orla:  “Yes, all the time!  My friends always ask if my mum is coming because they love it when my mum comes because she cheers us on and gives us tips on how to play better. But my dad is so embarrassing because  the other day I was playing rugby league and my dad stomped out the car and started coaching but again everyone said that he was good but it was still really embarrassing. My mum and dad have kind of been team physio’s for me and my brother too.”

ETA:  Lesley, do you think being an ‘involved parent’ offers extra encouragement?

Lesley:  “Definitely, although my kids are getting to an age where they can take responsibility for getting to and from some of their training sessions themselves.  I love watching them play sport now, it’s getting more and more competitive.”

ETA:  Orla, who has been the sporting hero you’ve always idolised?  Also, how did you feel playing at the Touch Nationals for the first time, particularly knowing that your Mum was watching every move?

Orla:  “Definitely my mum.  She will always inspire me and be my role model, and not just because of sport, but also for the way my mum recovered from illness and fought her way back to being able to play Touch. She is amazing and I love her. THANKS MUM XXX!  As for playing at the Nationals, well it was really exciting and scary.  Yes, my mum waswatching my every move, that’s why I wanted to score really badly to make her proud.”

ETA: Lesley, how did you help your daughter/children develop a love for the game of Touch?

Lesley:  “To be fair, Orla hasn’t had much choice, she’s grown up with Thursday night touch sessions and the Pirates have always encouraged family touch.  It great to see mum, dad, aunty, uncle, granny…….all playing alongside each other.  Orla often plays alongside her brother (15) and cousin (5).  Things can sometimes get a bit fiery, especially when Aidan and I are on the same team!”

ETA:  Thank you to the Lesley & Orla McCallion for their time and contribution to this news article.  We hope this will inspire the next generation of Touch players out there!  Share this story with your friends.  – We are England Touch.

Pictured above are the 2013 #TouchNationals women’s finalists, the SE Sharks & Taipans.
————————–
Before the gold, silver, or bronze, it’s the red, white and blue..
As at this year’s Home Nations,
it’s not the colours you go home with that matter,
it’s the ones you came in.
We are one team,
We are England Touch.

Challenge Touch Series Rd 2 – 18th May – Newcastle

CTS round 2 takes place in Newcastle (Tynemouth to be precise) this weekend, Saturday 18th May.

Venue: Percy Park RFC, NE302BE. (From 11am – gives teams time to get to us)

Tournament Information:  Details covering the competition timetable, post-event party, parking, camping and more can be found here.  PiratesInfo(V1)-1

Fixture Schedule:

 

 

#TouchNationals 2013 Official Results

Touch Nationals 2013 Trophy Winners

Men’s Touch National Champions – South East Taipans

Women’s Touch National Champions – South East Sharks

Masters Touch National Champions – Northern Monkeys

#TouchNationals 2013 saw the South East Taipans (men’s squad), the South East Sharks (women’s squad), and the Northern Monkeys (Masters Division) crowned as National Champions of their respective divisions.  Well done to the Taipans and Sharks for successfully defending their titles, and congratulations to the Northern Monkeys, who won the inaugural Masters series 2-1 after a thrilling drop-off encounter in a nail-biting game 3 decider!

Individual Trophy Winners

Men’s MVP – James Heptonstall (West Wildcats)

Women’s MVP – Susan Kidd (SE Taipans)

Masters MVP – Jeff Bimson (Northern Monkeys)

Coach of the tournament – Natasha Verniquet (West Wildcats)

Referee of the tournament – Neil Fitzpatrick

 

Individual winners were as follows: Men’s MVP, James Heptonstall (West Wildcats); Women’s MVP, Susan Kidd (SE Taipans); Masters MVP, Jeff Bimson (Northern Monkeys); Coach of the tournament, Natasha Verniquet (West Wildcats Women); and Referee of the tournament, Neil Fitzpatrick.  Congratulations to all the trophy winners!

ETA Note of Thanks

The ETA would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who contributed to the organisation of the #TouchNationals, Bolton School for providing a superb venue, the England Touch medical teams, and the referees.  A successful tournament wouldn’t have been possible without your contribution!
Catch up with the action from the event in the multitude of photographs now uploaded on the ETA Facebook Page.

Post-tourament player interview with Taipans’ Rowling brothers

#TouchNationals – Taipans say thanks!

The Men’s National Champions – South East Taipans – brotherly duo of Daniel & Clint Rowling were proud of their team’s achievements and took a few moments after lifting the trophy to share their thoughts with us:

“We’re over the moon with the outcome, and couldn’t be more pleased that we were able to produce our best performance in the final. Before the game we spoke about the importance of doing the little things right and the big things coming as a result and fortunately things fell into place for us.  As relatively inexperienced coaches we were lucky to have a squad of great guys with winning attitudes.

The tournament organisers put on a great event and everything ran like clockwork. The fields were in great condition, the venue was well laid out, communication was clear and the referees were tireless. The ETA should be proud of producing a tournament of this quality.

The biggest positive for us was seeing firsthand the continued development of the regions outside of the South East. All of our matches were a real challenge and came down to the final whistle – the competition keeps getting fiercer. It’s great to see the advances that are being made, it’s really positive for England touch.

During the lead up we joked how 2013 is the year of the snake but one thing’s for sure, the Taipans will be back in 2014 and looking to make it three in a row – hisss!”

Shane Hills: Touch Europe Referee – come player – note of thanks!

Shane Hills, normally known as one of England’s European Touch Referees, took to the field as a Midland Tigers player at the #TouchNationals and had this to share with the ETA:

“Thanks to the ETA for an amazing tournament. Great venue and facilities. Weather was typical of England but all else ran smoothly. Great to see it from the other side & cannot believe the schedule on Sunday actually ran ahead of time by 10 minutes. That never happens. Thanks to Tom BedkowskiShelley Grace and all the other little elves that helped make that a huge success. I believe all the teams had an enjoyable experience.”

Official Results

2013 Touch Coaching Courses

The ETA are pleased to announce the following Coaching Courses for 2013. This is an exciting time for the ETA and its affiliates as we look to build from grass-roots to an international level.

Registration for the coaching courses is now open

There are limited spaces on all courses and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
Please download, complete and submit your application to Development@englandtouch.org.uk, to secure your place.

 

Application form

ParticipantRegForm_2013

 

What/Where/When

What: Intermediate / Level 1 Coaching Course
When: 10th & 12th of May
Where: London (NTS 2)
Duration: 10hrs
Friday 10th.   7pm-8.30pm
Sunday 12th.  9am-5.30pm
Cost: £50

 

What: Introductory/Community Coaching Course
When: 2nd June. 10am-2.00pm
Where: Cambridge (NTS 3)
Duration: 4hrs
Cost: £30

 

What: Introductory/Community Coaching Course
When: 30th June. 10am-2.00pm
Where: Widnes
Duration: 4hrs
Cost: £30

 

What: Intermediate / Level 1 Coaching Course
When: 5th & 7th July
Where: Manchester (NTS 4)
Duration: 10hrs
Friday 5th.   7pm-8.30pm
Sunday 7th.  9am-5.30pm
Cost: £50

 

What: Intermediate /Level 1 Coaching Course
When: 12th & 14th July
Where: TBC (CTS 4)
Duration: 12hrs
Friday 12th.    6pm-9pm
Sunday 14th.  9am-6pm
Cost: £50

 

What: Presenters Course*
When: Thursday 25th July. 7pm-10pm
Where: Manchester
Duration: 3hrs
Cost: £30

 

What: Advanced / Level 2 Coaching Course*
When: 26th & 28th July
Where: TBC (NTS Finals Location)
Duration: 10-12hrs (+15-20hrs home study)
Friday 12th.  7.00pm-9.00pm
Sunday 14th. 8.30am-6.30pm
Cost: £100

*Subject to change

n.b. All costs include: All course materials, light refreshments

 

Course Information

Introductory/Community Coaching Course

Entry Requirements – None

Coaching Topics Include:

Info will be available shortly…

Intermediate / Level One

Entry level course for anyone wanting to start coaching and learn more about the game of Touch. Aimed at current and potential community school, club to regional coaches.

Entry RequirementsNone

Coaching Topics Include:

  • Introduction to Coaching
  • Role of the Coach
  • Individual skills
  • Sub Unit Skills
  • Improving Performance
  • Fitness for Touch
  • The Junior Athlete
  • Team Skills
  • Game Sense
  • Planning
  • Sports Safety and Injuries
  • Rules of Touch and the important Practical Observations & Assessments

Course Assessment

  • Course Work
  • Rules examination
  • Course participation
  • Practical Coaching – assessed on course

 

Level Two

Advanced Coaching for those with good knowledge of the game and coaching experience. Aimed at the elite level of the sport.
Entry Requirements – Level 1 coaching qualification required*.
*Experienced Touch players with teaching or coaching qualification may be eligible for dispensation from the Level 1. However, this is not advised.
.
Coaching Topics Include:
  • Planning for Touch
  • Risk Management
  • Coaching Better
  • Functional Anatomy
  • Principles of Training
  • Speed, Strength
  • Flexibility and Power Training
  • Growth and Development of Touch Players
  • Nutrition, Building a Better Team
  • Sports Medicine
  • Managing People
  • Advanced Individual & Sub Unit Skills
  • Analysis of Individuals
  • Tactics and Set Plays
  • Team Analysis
  • Talent Identification, and Coaching for Varying Events

Course Assessment

  • L2 Home Study Workbook
  • Participation in Course
  • Presentation on Course
  • Practical Coaching (needs to be separately arranged, as per 1 & 2 below)
  1. Assessment during Coaching Session
  2. Assessment during Competition Match

 

Presenters Courses

This course prepares and assesses Level 2 Coaches to allow them to present and deliver coaching courses. Level 2 participants from previous years will be eligible.

Entry Requirements
Level 1 / Intermediate Coaching Qualification (allows you to present Introductory Course)
Level 2 / Advanced Coaching qualification  (allows you to present Intermediate Course)

 

For further info on any of the above courses, please contact Marnie@englandtouch.org.uk or Ben@englandtouch.org.uk

SGM – April 2013

Dear ETA members,

Please see below, details for the upcoming rearranged SGM.

Please find the link to the AGENDA (This has been emailed to all members prior to this web posting) along with the proposals being made and being voted on.

This is a very important SGM as it will incorporate a vote on the recent insurance amendments and affiliation costs for ETA members and we therefore urge you to attend to have your say and exercise your right to vote.

You should have already received the insurance statement and FAQs document from Steve Cleary (Steve@englandtouch.org.uk – membership director). Please let Steve know if you’ve not got this.

Venue: Bolton School, Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4PA
Date: Saturday 13/4/13
Time: 19.00

If there are any questions on the attached please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Your confirmation of attendance is requested – if this is the same as for previously scheduled meeting then no need to reconfirm, HOWEVER, if your availability has changed then please let me know.

Please Note: If you would like your vote to be used by a proxy on your behalf this MUST be submitted in writing to Jules@englandtouch.org.uk  prior to the commencement of the meeting otherwise your proxy vote CANNOT be counted

Thanks
Jules
ETA Secretary

Battle in Bolton – it’s a sibling rivalry!

North West Blades’ Emily (left) and West Wildcats’ Sarah (right) Kelly.

BATTLE IN BOLTON – IT’S A SIBLING RIVALRY!

Muhammed Ali’s ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ isn’t a patch on our ‘Battle in Bolton’.  Why?  Because we’ve got the edge with a sibling rivalry!  Debatable, but  the world of sport isn’t short of its sibling rivalries, think of tennis’ Williams sisters for one, or boxing’s Klitschko brothers as another example.  Touch is no exception, the Verniquet sisters are well established amongst the England elite, but 2013 introduces two new sisters which the Touch world should look out for.  Both young of age and full of skill, the Kelly sisters have been making their mark this off-season, impressing regional selectors to obtain a place in the final North West Blades (Emily Kelly, pictured left) and West Wildcats (Sarah Kelly, pictured right) squads.  In this interview the talented sporting sisters and their parents reveal the truth behind the brewing Battle in Bolton.

ETA:  Sarah, the England Touch community wants to know who you are, could you start by telling me about your Touch history?

Sarah:  “I’m 20 years old and I’m currently in my first year at the University of Southampton, studying Environmental Science.  I started playing touch in Malaysia for Bingtang Rugby Club and then, after a group of us persuaded the PE department at school that we could form a decent touch team, I joined the first school touch team at the Alice Smith School, playing against other international schools in Asia.  When we moved back to the UK, I took a year out to settle back in and then joined North Wales Touch.  I played for the North West Blades last year at the Nationals, making the England Women’s Open training squad that summer.  Since moving down south I now play for the Portsmouth Destroyers (2013 CTS debutants) and West Wildcats.

ETA:  Have you and your sister played against each other at an official tournament before?  Where and what was the outcome on each occasion?

Sarah:  “I think the first time we ever played against each other was in the Manchester 2013 season opening ‘Fully Charged Events’ tournament, a game which my sister’s team won.  As we were in different age groups and different years at school we have never really competed against each other [until now].”

ETA:  Sport psychologists say that “siblings create a instant dynamic perfect for sports”, what do you think?

Sarah:  “I think I would agree with that, as there is definitely a benefit to playing with my sister.  The ability to communicate without having to say anything, and the fact I know what she is good at and what she isn’t; this is the same for her [with regards to me], which is definitely a benefit.”

ETA:  With your sister in mind, what are your Touch aspirations for this year’s Nationals tournament and beyond?

 Sarah:  “Ideally, I’d like to beat her team and hopefully go one better than the Wildcats managed at the Manchester tournament (Fully Charged Events 2013) and win the whole thing. Id love to get selected for an England squad again but I’m just enjoying playing and meeting new people.”

ETA:   Are you and your sister competitive off of the field of Touch?

Sarah:  “I wouldn’t say we are particularly competitive as we both have different interests outside of touch.  We used to be quite competitive with each other when we both swam competitively, to see who could come home with the most medals!  Other than that only the occasional Wii game, where one of us has got a little over competitive and HAD to win.”

ETA:  No one wins all of the time, when your two teams meet at the Touch Nationals, how do you feel about losing to your sister?

Sarah:  “The Wildcats lost to my sister’s team in the Manchester tournament and I knew my sister wouldn’t let it go, even though we made the final she was adamant they were still the better team because they beat us.  No-one likes losing to a younger sibling but I think it will just spur me on to perform better when we play them [NW Blades] at the nationals.”

Sarah Kelly (pictured centre) representing Alice Smith School (Malaysia) Varsity team.

ETA:  Emily, could you tell us a bit about your background and your Touch playing history?

Emily:  “I’m 18 years old and I’m currently studying at The Queen’s School in Chester.  I started playing in Malaysia for a team called Bintang Rugby Club in Kuala Lumpur around six years ago, I was invited to come and join training by a couple of friends who already attended the club.  I never played for my school team in Malaysia because I was too young.  In the UK, I now play for North Wales Touch and the North West Blades.”

ETA:  You and your sister have previously played for the same team, how do you feel playing against her at the Touch Nationals for the first time?

Emily:  “I prefer it to playing with her!  We have a competitive nature towards each other so it’s a lot more fun when we get to play against each other.  It also encourages me to play better because beating her team is more satisfying than beating any other!”

ETA:  We sense a real rivalry here, what happens after the Touch Nationals between you both?  Hard feelings or not?

Emily:  “No hard feelings, if her team wins she’d do a little victory dance in front of me and I’d do the same if my team wins!  Then we’d have a little debate afterwards about things such as calls by the referee and discuss which team deserved to win (each of us insisting our own team was the best of course).”

ETA:  Your sister knows all of your Touch strengths and weaknesses, have you had to adjust and update your personal play book to obtain tactical advantage over her?

Emily:  “I don’t think I have had to change them, making sure I know my role in set play work for The Blades has been enough to obtain that advantage!  I wouldn’t say I have any individual “signature moves” that she could identify and prepare defensively.”

ETA:  Who has been your greatest inspiration in the sport of Touch thus far and why?

Emily:  “Nobody in particular, but I admire players with a natural talent for sport who pick up touch principles in an instant!”

ETA:  Would you agree that “playing with siblings can create bonds strengthening the sibling relationship”?

Emily:  “I would agree with the statement, the time Sarah and I spend playing touch either against each other or with each other makes up a majority of the time we do spend together.  Without it we’d probably have a lot less to talk about!”

Victory in unison! The Kelly sisters win Touch silverware representing Bingtang Rugby Club (Emily, back row, far left; Sarah, front row, second from right).

ETA:  [To the parents] You must be proud to see your daughters competing at the Touch Nationals, but are you not also torn between which regional team to support?

Mum:  “Of course we are very proud to see both girls playing in the Touch Nationals and I hope to get to see some play on the Sunday, I work on Saturday.  Dad, Steve, works abroad at the moment so won’t be around.  I am sure I can manage to cheer on both girls and after all I get two chances of supporting the winning team!”

Dad:  “As an ex-rugby player, I am really proud to see both girls taking to touch and I am naturally disappointed I can’t be around to watch and support.  I am as interested in seeing them play well and enjoying themselves as I am in them winning.  I do not mind which team wins if they did meet as it would be a great achievement for either of them to make it the final.”

 ETA:  Now that the draw has been made the ETA can give you a top tip, your daughters will face each other on Sunday at 1250!  Do you have any interesting anecdotes about the sporting spirit and competitive nature of your daughters as they’ve grown up?

Mum:  “We have always encouraged the girls to try any sport around and remember Sarah at the age of 4 trying really hard to master somersaults and cart wheels and performing in a rhythmic gymnastics competition in Mexico (we were living there at the time – she wasn’t an international gymnast!).  Both girls have been lucky to go to a school, Queen’s School Chester, that really encourages sport and they have represented their school from junior through to senior level in netball, hockey, tennis, rounders, lacrosse (Sarah) and swimming. They both swam competitively for Chester for a number of years before taking a dislike to the early starts!

Whilst living in Malaysia (2006-2009) the girls were both representing their school, Alice Smith School, Kuala Lumpur, at international competitions in places such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Brunei and  Singapore in a number of sports but principally swimming. Malaysia had a number of NZ/Oz expats so Touch was quite popular there. Outside of school, they  joined a girls Touch team that sprang up at Bintang Rugby Club alongside boys rugby!  Steve got involved with the coaching but was completely self taught ( he had been a very competent fly half/full back in his time).  Not really sure the girls liked having Dad as coach and they were very rude to him at times!  We had some good times at Touch competitions, especially The Straights Cup held annually in Singapore, it was run alongside the rugby so all-in-all it was very inclusive.

Returning to England, for A levels and GCSE’s, Sarah picked up where she left off with school hockey and swimming, Emily struggled a bit to find her niche as she had not played hockey whilst abroad but has played on the school team, her swimming ability allowed her to step straight back onto the school team though.  Emily was also hampered by cruciate ligament damage from a skiing accident that needed surgery in 2011. On return from Malaysia, Steve started playing Touch at North Wales Touch based in Wrexham and persuaded the girls to come along as well and since then they have played with them for the last few years, Emily in a knee brace for quite a while!

I think Emily has always had her sister to look up to but has also been very pleased with herself when she has out done her at anything!  They are competitive, Sarah probably more overtly and Emily in a quieter but very determined way!  Emily is having to learn that she hasn’t got he sister around to organise her and get her to training etc now Sarah is away at uni; turning up at training with no boots would not have happened with big sister checking you’d got everything before you left home!”

 ETA:  Thank you to the Kelly family for their time and contribution to this special edition #TouchNationals interview.  We wish the girls all the best for tournament day and beyond. – – We are England Touch.

Touch Nationals – back with a vengeance from 13-14th of April

#TouchNationals 2013 from 13th – 14th of April!

Move aside poor weather and make way for Touch Nationals weekend from the 13th to 14th of April.  England Touch enthusiasts from all over the country will be converging on Bolton to either participate in or get a glimpse of the nation’s showcase event: #TouchNationals 2013.

VENUE & TOURNAMENT MAP

If you’re going to be there to support, play or officiate then here’s the destination address.

A handy layout of the grounds is included in the map below.  Note that Bolton school have allocated us pitches 2, 3, 4 and 9 for competition use.  Pitches 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are out of bounds (as marked on the map).

CONFIRMED PLAYING SCHEDULE

Nottingham Touch Development Festival – 20th April 2013

FESTIVAL OVERVIEW

Nottingham Touch Club has been selected to run one of the five rounds of the National Touch Series featuring the top 16 teams from across England. Running alongside this, we would like to invite local clubs and teams for a mixed development festival with shared post event food, drink and entertainment – all abilities are welcome!  Both competitions take place at the same venue – Nottingham Trent University.

See our event entry form for more information: Nottingham Touch Development Festival Entry Form 2013