New Administration Vacancy

Administration

In order to protect our coaches and members, we have set up a  TMG CRB service contract, TMG is the umbrella body for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This will allow England Touch to utilise electronic submission of criminal record check applications for our own workforce and affiliate member organisations. In order to make this succesful, we are looking 2 recruit 2 new members to our team.

If you are interested in applying for the role please complete the  ‘Election of Office‘ form and send to Carly@englandtouch.org.uk

 

England’s premier Touch team, re-live their win

2013 saw sweeping changes to England’s premier touch team – the England Men’s Open. Ben Smith stepped up from coaching the England Men’s 30 team and brought with him an intricate knowledge of the game and also unrivalled energy and enthusiasm. Coach Smith’s ability to instruct a team is only enhanced further by his sideline presence, there is no hiding from that voice.

This years team was a finely balanced mix of both youth and experience with a number of last seasons athletes being joined by senior stalwarts returning from the over 30’s division. Once adjusted to the superior pace and skill in the Open’s category these players, Justin Conway, Mike Stibbs, and Simon Whitnall were able to use their experience to help guide the team and provide direction at crucial times. Of course there were also several new recruits, with James Knoop and Dom Tripp standing out as exciting young talent.

The fitness and speed of this years team was immense. Coach Smith led some gruelling training sessions where more than one player lost their breakfast.

The benefits of strong training were evident during the all England training weekend where despite being one of the last teams to complete the fitness tests, and having played several matches immediately beforehand, the Men’s Open still produced impressive results, claiming the highest five results in the Yo-Yo test, not to mention blistering results in all of the speed and agility tests.

The team started their campaign with a reasonable performance against Wales (7-3) who chose not to field a 14 man team and as the speed and intensity of the England Men’s Open team only increased, they conceded more and more tries as the game went on.

Against Scotland, the top seeded team, the skies opened and a heavy downpour set in before the match much to the frustration of both teams. With the ability to play an expansive game stymied, both teams had to change their strategies. The England Men’s Open team adapted to the conditions better than the Scottish and this was reflected in the final score (10-4).

Day two saw the England Men’s Open team play Ireland twice. The first match was the final round robin match and saw the England Men’s Open team win comfortably (12-2) despite a lot of Irish enthusiasm and strong home support. The second time the two teams met was in the semi final (1st v 4th), a sudden death match where previous results counted for nothing.

The discipline and relentless commitment to the game plan that Coach Smith had instilled came to the fore in this match. After a strong start from the Irish, the England Men’s Open team put the foot down and comfortably won the match (16-2).

The final was a repeat of the first match of the tournament, England vs. Wales. The Welsh squad had dwindled further in size, fortune often favours the well prepared and the England Men’s Open team remained in great condition and at full strength. The team was still continuing to improve with each match and was eager to perform well in the final.

Wales started very strongly and raced to a 2-0 lead. Both teams struggled to adjust to how the rules were being interpreted by a referee neither team had encountered before the final. After weathering the Welsh attack, England were able to fight back and go into the half-time break slightly ahead.

In a cruel blow, it was at this time Coach Smith had to depart, international business deals and six figure bonuses wait for no man, even one as athletically endowed and charismatic as Coach Smith. Long after his departure, the call of “Fresh Pegs!”could still be heard ringing in many players ears. Assistant Coach Rowling was left to fill the void and stepped up to ensure the team continued to play mercilessly.

During the second half the England Men’s Open team proved why they are the number one team in the Northern Hemisphere. Unrivalled athleticism, disciplined attack and superior skills saw the team edge further ahead and score a couple of truly remarkable touchdowns. Final score 9-3.

Game Stats

Played 5, won 5. 54 touchdowns scored, 14 conceded.
http://internationaltouch.org/home-nations-2013/fixtures-results/mens-open/

Special Mentions

Ben Meakin; played a hand in a good team touchdown in the final, Ben beat a lightning quick shutdown by going through his legs to hit the wing outwide. He may have mentioned this to you?

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Ben Powell; played every minute of the tournament and comfortably took top points scorer for the team.
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Dan Mendis; as the team’s new captain Dan led from the front and is on the path to becoming England’s most successful captain. Ever.

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Justin Conway; played the tournament like he wished he could have when he was half his age. Armed with all time high levels of muscle mass, a record low BMI score, and streamlined haircut, at times he gave the appearance that he could seemingly do whatever he pleased, despite what the opposition wanted. Much like a partner at a prestigious law firm.

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Matt Myerson; melt the terminator in a cauldron of acid and Matt Myerson is what you end up with. It’s no surprise that “Myerdino” received the most MVP votes for the team.

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Mike Stibbs; added more caps to his already impressive lead as the most capped England player. Ever.

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Shaun Bengtson; Warning!

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England Men’s Open Squad 2013

Shaun Bengtson, Justin Conway (Vice Captain), James Heptonstall, James Knoop, Gareth McRae, Ben Meakin, Dan Mendis (Captain), Matt Myerson, Ben Powell, Daniel Rowling, Paul Smuts, Michael Stibbs, Dom Tripp, Simon Whitnall.

Ben Smith (Coach), Clinton Rowling (Assistant Coach).

NTS / CTS Finals – The round up

Congratulations to London Galaxy for taking the 2013 NTS title,

and to CSSC Wookies for taking the 2013 CTS title.

Round up of the winners from the weekend below, full results to come.

Overall NTS title – London Galaxy

Elite 8s Cup – Bareback Riders
Elite 8s Plate – Tumeke

Super 8s Cup – London Scorpions
Super 8s Plate – Oxford

Overall CTS Title – CSSC Wookies

CTS Cup – Canterbury Cougars
CTS Plate – Portsmouth Destroyers

Promotion/Relegation Play-off
Galaxy II 6 Wigan Warriors 1

 

Results Tables

 

 

MVP

Elite 8s Female Amber Penrith
Elite 8s Male Simon Williams

Super 8s Female Samantha Phillips
Super 8s Male Joe Hartley

CTS Female Aimee Bradshaw
CTS Male Tim Jones

Referee of the Finals Aubrey Collins
Referee of the Series Ian Syder

England Mens 35s – Home Nations Champions

The men’s 35s team had limited preparation time together before the Home Nations, there were some changes from the team that won the Euros in 2012, with a couple of players coming in from the 30s team and a couple of new faces.

Under the leadership and guidance of Mike Roa the limited time was put to good use with some great sessions that created a good team spirit and a basic game plan.  Awesome team management and organisation from Georgia before, during and after ensured that we were as prepared as possible.

Scotland

The first game was against a well organised Scottish side with both teams keen to start the campaign off on winning ways.  Unfortunately for them this game belonged to ‘Team Hobbit’ – Nathan Joyce and Travis Kenny, 6ft 2in. (combined) of Touch playing prowess.  Travis was the first to score, diving unnecessarily and shouting out like an American football player winning the Superbowl as he did so.  Later in the game Nathan broke away and ran nearly the length of the field to score and secure the win, lack of discernible wind resistance at 2 feet off the ground is likely to have played a big part in this.

England 4 – Scotland 3

 

 

 

Wales

With only 2 games on the first day it was important to follow on from the winning start.  Wales were very strong and the first half was incredibly even as the sides traded scores.  Eventually in the second half England pulled ahead and once there, played some great touch to run out comfortable winners.  Highlights of this game were a hat-trick from Sefo Bareinrseeinaeyafsybigafbnuainfdafjdejavu and some ‘fierce’ defensive work keeping Wales penned into their own half from Bruce Kirby.

England 10 – Wales 5

 

Ireland

The first game of the second and final day was against Ireland, a bit of an unknown quantity Ireland played very well and in defence England let themselves down, conceding too many scores initially.  The second half was better and England finally worked out how to score but, this was too late and this resulted in a loss.  Not a good start to the day but, spirits were kept high by Mike Roa reapplying fake tan, Travis looking through pictures of himself on his iphone and Russell staying out of the sun.

England 6 – Ireland 8

 

Semi Final vs Scotland

Having qualified first in the group England were up against Scotland again for a place in the final.  This game saw someone not only fall for one of Russell’s ridiculous dummies but, then Russell sprinting (sort of) the length of the pitch to score it, fantastic stuff that set the tone for the game.  Reports that this was the last time Russell has run that far and that fast since have been greatly exaggerated.  Scotland came back to draw level but, England were able to stay on top and secure the win.

England 5 – Scotland 3

 

Final vs Wales

Facing a Wales side desperate to avenge the earlier loss meant a very cagey final with both teams a little nervous and lacking a bit of fluidity.  Things were very tense through the game but, England were able to get 1 score up by the end – Duncan’s ‘burrowing towards the line’ technique finally paying off and we held on for the victory.

England 4 – Wales 3

 

There is still a lot of room for improvement, despite having the best record in the category and the victory the score difference was pretty low, so lots to work on before the Euros.  Overall a very enjoyable weekend and everyone was elated to have won the title… But for now.. Party time!

 

Stats (http://internationaltouch.org/home-nations-2013/fixtures-results/)

Top MVPs were Mike Hills and Travis with 5 each, second were Steve Cleary and Mike Roa with 3.

Top scorer was jointly held by Mike Roa, Sefo & Neil with 4 each.

Top ‘Hard Toucher’ was Justin, who was penalised at least once per game for the first 3 or 4 games!

 

Development Days

Ahead of the Selection day, The West Wildcats are holding “Touch Development Days” for old and new players alike.

If you’ve been playing touch for a while, then come and refine your touch skills or, if you are new to the sport, come down for the first time and try out the game. All players of all ages will receive FREE coaching from regional and national touch coaches and players (who will also be keeping a keen eye out for new talent to represent the region in forthcoming touch events).

 

Maidenhead RFC Touch Development Day

Date: Saturday 3 August 2013
Venue: Maidenhead RFC, Braywick Park, Braywick Road, SL6 1BN.

Boys and Girls aged 8 -15: 10 – 11.30am
Men and Women aged 16+ to Adult: 12 – 2pm

To register your place or for further information please contact Sammie Phillips – phillipssamantha@rocketmail.com / 07766 525938


Oxford Touch Club Development Day

Date: Saturday 10 August 2013
Venue: Gosford All Blacks RFC, Stratfield Brake, Freize Way, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1UP

Men and Women aged 16+ to Adult: 1 – 4pm

To register your place or for further information please contact Natasha Verniquet – tash_vern@hotmail.com – 07786 340025

 

Canterbury Cougars host CTS4

Due to the dramatic growth of Touch in England, England Touch launched a new two tier system in 2012. The top flight National Touch Series (NTS) and the second tier the Challenge Touch Series (CTS).

The 2013 season sees the CTS in its second year with its popularity on the increase as it is now also attracting some European club entries.   The aim of the CTS is to develop the club game and encourage more club sides to get involved at a national level.

Saturday 13th July saw Canterbury Rugby Club host, the fourth tournament, in the  ‘CTS Touch’ series.

Canterbury entered three teams Canterbury Cougars, Canterbury Cubs and Canterbury Touch.  The Cubs made it through into the knockout stages which is a fantastic effort as several of the girls on the team had never played in a competitive Touch game before.

The Cougars progressed through a hard fought pool stage undefeated.Sixteen teams entered the competition which was divided into three pools. On a glorious summer day, in the garden of England, all teams battled with not only the opposition but also the sweltering temperatures.

In the semi-finals, the Cougars defeated the experienced Touch team Wigan. Hard grit and determination in defence along with some dynamic attacking from the mids saw Cougars into the final.

In the last game of the day Canterbury Cougars took on Wookies. In a closely fought contest, the game was an end to end running battle, in both defence and attack. However it was the continual injection of pace from the Cougars substitutes, who took advantage of the Wookies defence, which saw them edge to a 5-4 victory.

 

Results

Shield: Winner Galaxy – Runner Up Wigan
Bowl: Winner Vikings – Runner Up Ewoks
Plate: Winner Destroyers – Runner Up Cambridge
Cup: Winner Canterbury Cougars – Runner Up Wookies

Men’s 40s take Gold at HN2013

England 40’s travelled to Dublin with high hopes of success, having finished as runners up in the European Championship 2012. The bulk of the squad remained, as did the experienced coaching team, but there was strong competition for every position. The preparation and training was extensive and thorough and we could not have been better prepared. Huge dedication was shown by all of the squad.

Day 1 – Game 1 (Simon Yarrow Trophy)
England 5 – Scotland 1
England started the game fast and took and early lead, the Scots played a very narrow game and we were able to exploit this on the wings, with new cap Paul Ainscough quickly getting on the scoreboard.

We were quickly at 3-0. Scotland came out stronger after half time but did not cause too many problems and England were to run out comfortable winners. This game had also been played in honour of Simon Yarrow and England retained the Cup previously won by the Men’s 35’s in Italy.

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Day 1 – Game 2
England 4 – Ireland 2
England had both lost and beaten Ireland in the Euros, Ireland had many new players moving up from the 35’s. England controlled the game from early on and could have won this game more convincingly. We finished the day with all objectives complete, two games played and two won.
Day 2 – Game 1
England 4 – Wales 4
This game was played very early on the Saturday morning, a wet morning. The game was fast in the early encounters and England soon took the lead. The Welsh relied heavily on one of their mids but our defence held firm and our driving and transitional play was excellent, we went into half time with a 3-1 lead. Wales came back strongly in the second half and levelled the game late on. This was an excellent and tight game and removed any complacency.
Day 2 – Game 2
England 4 – Scotland 3
After a long break we played Scotland in the semi’s. Scotland had improved as every game had gone on, but in the first half it was business as normal for England with excellent driving play and set moves bringing a couple of scores for Alex Hughes. However, we were not able to kill the game and it lead to a tense last 5 minutes.
Day 2 – Game 3 – GRAND FINAL
England 8 – Wales 5
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The Final and Wales a team we had never beaten. England had lost one winger to injury and then in the first exchanges lost Mark Swift to a broken ankle. 
The first half was tense and every time England took the lead Wales hit back. It looked liked England would take a lead into the second half but a mistake on the hooter meant the scores were level at half time 4 – 4. Early exchanges  led to a score by each team, then England moved into another gear. England scored from the next re-start, Alex Hughes again, and then were relentless with blitz defence. All members of the team worked exceptionally hard in defence giving the Welsh no opportunity to score, then our driving play was of the highest standard. The second half display was some of the best touch ever played by England 40’s and testament to the coaching of Steve Melling and Jeff Bimson. It was delight that the final hooter was sounded, a brilliant game played in a brilliant spirit between both teams. This game was particularly poignant for Pete Flanagan, Keith Dunleavy and Ian Moody, three survivors from the original mens 40’s team. For these players it had been a long, and painful, journey to success. Winning the Home Nations was testament to huge commitment by all squad members, excellent coaching and improved fitness levels. This age group will continue to become more competitive and all of the squad look forward to fighting for their places in the Euros next year.
Finally Simon ‘Sniffer’ Witton was voted most improved player, very closely run by the tireless very fit  and excellent Piula Tuiono. Ian Moody was voted MVP by his fellow players, well done to all!

Chargers host a sun drenched NTS

On behalf of Manchester Chargers, thanks everyone for coming to the 4th leg of the National Touch Series, we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

We’d just like to say thanks to everyone who helped to organise today:

Cathryn Ogle for running the desk/timings
Emma/Cari and the physio students for patching people up,
Burnage RFC for allowing us to host the event at their facility
Referees and also player refs for stepping up to help out.
Gregg and Jules for all there hard work in planning and organising pre/mid/post event too.

Presentations:

Refeee upgrades
Sadi Musson (Nottingham) L1
Graham Smith (Nottingham) L2
Matthew Walker L2

Referees MVR
Matthew Walker

Players MVP
Male MVP – Piula Tuiono from Bristol


Female MVP – Rachel Vile from Tumeke

 

Shield Winners
Shield final between Bristol and Nottingham went to a drop off (3v3)
Bristol winning 5-4

Bowl Winners
Bowl final between Wigan and scorpions.
Scorpions won 4-2

Plate Winners
Plate final between Cambridge and Durkas.
Durka winning 5-3

Cup Winners
Cup final between galaxy and BBR
Galaxy won 7-5

Thanks again and see you all at the finals in Bristol.

 

A true underdog story

England Men’s 30s Home Nations 2013 Campaign – The True Underdog Story

The England Men’s 30s (M30s) pre-tournament preparations were not ideal, yet the lack of a permanent coach being appointed until late did not stop the squad training. Men’s 35s coach Mike Roa and interim M30s Captain, Ruez Durani, were instrumental in keeping the training momentum going until Tracy Andrew was formally appointed as M30s Head Coach with just a couple of weeks to run to game day.

Coach Andrew announced a final squad of eleven players, ten of whom would be earning their first England international honours. While this was an impressive achievement for the eleven players involved, the relative lack of international experience in the side was a concern and a risk the England Touch Association took. On paper, pundits didn’t back the inexperienced and new look M30s England side, but coach Andrew and Team Manager Anna Jennings worked tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare the squad as best as possible, given the short timescale.

The M30s squad arrived in Dublin with Nathan Bourke announced as Captain for the Home Nations. There was no doubt in coaching staff minds that the M30s possessed a host of talented individual players with much potential. But a big question lay unanswered; could these individuals play as a team? On the eve of the competition one thing was clear to all involved: a feeling of unity amongst the squad.

England Touch - Mens 30s Division

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1, Game 1
England 8 – 4 Ireland

Tapping off Home Nations 2013 on pitch number one – centre stage – England M30s took on a spirited host nation side, who fired the opening salvo by scoring the first Touch Down of the tournament, much to the delight of the home crowd. The celebration was short lived as England’s Nicholas Matenga made a deceptive run to set-up the equaliser and England’s first score of the tournament. England had a narrow lead at half time, but the second half was a different matter. As the match progressed England became more composed and gained vast yards through Rich King and Pete Ellyat’s excellent driving play. With less than 5 minutes to full time a glimmer of Irish hope remained before Christian Garland hammered the nail in the coffin with a score that sealed a convincing opening win against the host nation.

Day 1, Game 2
England 4 – 3 Wales

This fixture proved a close encounter from the outset, where a well drilled Welsh attacking line seemed to unsettle the English momentum from game one. Nathan ‘Mongrel’ Bourke led his side from the front with a robust half time talk and two Touch Downs that settled England’s men into their game rhythm. Fired with a new found energy by further Touch Downs from Christopher Wall and Nelson ‘Braveheart’ Mcmillan, the side rallied together to overturn Wales in defence, suffocating their attacking options through some excellent defensive play. Both teams had developed a mutual respect for each other by the end of this match, and every player left the field knowing that they would have to be at the top of their game on day 2 to achieve the best of outcomes.

A team dinner after day one in one of Dublin’s finest steak house restaurants was exactly what the England M30s needed to relax overnight.

Day 2, Game 1
England 6 – 2 Wales

Team cohesion amongst the squad was tight going into the final day, and as news travelled into the Team HQ of a Wales victory over Ireland during breakfast, Coach Andrew & Manager Jennings knew their place in the Home Nations Gold Medal Final was provisionally booked. It was Richard Jones who proved that if in doubt, do nothing else other than the basics of Touch well and you will excel. With two Touch Downs following some intensive driving play, excel in this match is exactly what Richard did! Ruez Durani’s homework paid off. His in-depth study of the Welsh allowed him to show the England men that above all, keeping a cool head was key to exploiting scoring opportunities. Wales conceded defeat to an England side determined to gain any psychological edge possible before the final.

Day 2, Game 2
England 6 – 3 Ireland

The positive performance in the morning against Wales was anything but that in an afternoon match versus Ireland. Knowing that a place in the final was secure, whatever the outcome of this game, England seemed to start the match lost at sea. The Irish team played very well in the first half and displayed a marked improvement from day one. With the support of the home crowd, Ireland were dangerous in attack and played with passion and pride, aiming to bow out of their tournament on a high note. Leading the veteran guard, Nicholas Matenga settled England’s tense nerves with play making moves as cool as ice and a partnership with Amro Karim which saw Amro over the line to score twice and Nicholas once. Just as important was the defensive performance of Christopher Wall, who worked tirelessly to support his team mates and saved at least two Touch Downs in the process. Richard King’s breakaway Touch Down in the second half seemed to quash any Irish hopes of an upset, and although the victory was secured, a bruised England team knew they’d have to lift their game for the final.

Day 2, Game 3; Home Nations Men’s 30s Final
England 7 – 5 Wales

The atmosphere for any final is electric and this was no exception. You could feel the excitement of the England players as they took the field to the cheers of travelling supporters and through the tunnel of honour provided by other team mates. Representing your country, playing for a Gold Medal at an international tournament, this was the stuff of childhood dreams. But it was time to stop dreaming, England had done too much of that against Ireland in their penultimate match and could have paid the price for it. From the tap-off, England’s lads smashed into the Welsh defence without mercy, wave after wave of attack seemed to batter opposition morale; Wales were relieved to hear the half time whistle. Amro Karim earned his ‘Golden Ball’ title after scoring another Touch Down and totalling 7 for the tournament! Welsh fighting spirit never dies and Wales demonstrated this in the second half with a strong come back which halted the English attack and put early trophy celebrations on ice – England would have to fight to the final whistle if they wanted Gold. And fight is exactly what England M30s did, with John ‘Howler’ Howells proving an inspiration to his team mates after a ‘shimmy’ manoeuvre, his eye for a gap, and explosive speed saw him slice open the Welsh defence once more to score a diving Touch Down and place the trophy out of Wales’ reach and into England’s hands at the final whistle. Jubilation for England M30s!

Congratulations to our MVP & the England Men’s 30s

Nelson - MVP

Much to his surprise, our ‘Braveheart’ – Nelson Mcmillan – came away from the tournament with a special honour: winner of the Home Nations Most Valued Player (MVP) award for the Men’s 30s Category. On receiving the award, Nelson said: “I came to Ireland to fulfil a childhood ambition of being able to play sport at an international level, to represent my nation’s colours with pride. Winning a Gold Medal on top of that was special, but never could I have imagined receiving a player award of any sort. I’m humbled by the MVP trophy and dedicate it to all those who have coached, mentored, taught, and believed in me from the first day I picked up a Touch ball. Dreams can come true.”

Most Valued Player prize

Finally, congratulations to all those involved in the England M30s at Home Nations 2013, you epitomise what the ETA believes in. Through perseverance, self-belief, and cohesion, we can all succeed – We Are England Touch.

England Touch - Mens 30s division champions

European Touch Championships 2014

Where: Swansea University Sports Village, Swansea, Wales.
When: 7th – 10th August 2014
Host: Wales Touch Association
Divisions: tbc

Notes: International Tournament for European national sides. Dependent on team numbers, the tournament may start on 6th August.
More information to follow.