Touch, sunshine, sangria and paella.

The annual Women’s tournament in Valencia was held on November 9th this year with 6 teams battling it out for the top spot in what looked to be fantastic sunshine!

She Who Dares Try’s captained by Jo Howson, combined players from Cambridge, Ipswich, and Bedford (and a last minute French signing was also made on the day!) to finish an impressive 3rd in a competition that included several international teams. They have credited their competitiveness to excellent driving, deft piston defence, and attack that grew in confidence throughout the day.

Congratulations to the team for a great result and we hope more teams will look into making the trip next year, by all accounts the Liopardes put on a great tournament!

Your sport, your views – the results!

Here at England Touch, we aim to grow Touch throughout the country, encourage more people to get involved with the sport so that they can have fun and improve their performance on the pitch. More players, more skills, more fun! To help shape our plans, we ran a short survey to hear your views about developing our sport – with the added bonus of a chance to win a coaching session from one of the top England Elite coaches for your team or club. Here are the results…

The biggest single message from the survey was that the most commonly cited wish for improving your enjoyment of touch is more local leagues or tournaments (73% of respondents wanted this), closely followed by more coaching (66% of respondents). Ensuring that touch remains a social and family friendly sport were really important minority views that came through the survey results too.

Most of you play touch because of the fitness benefits, competitions, the social side of touch and skills. The themes around coaching and local competitions came up in free text comments when you were asked about the biggest thing we could do to help improve your enjoyment of touch. Youth touch, connections between local teams and the regional franchises, as well as bridiging the gap between the England elite players and the ‘rest’ were strongly held views. My own personal favourite suggestion was that we should ‘create an extra day of the weekend’!

Nearly 90% of respondents were members of a touch club, with half of you active in organising teams. 75% of the members of clubs recieved regular coaching, but only 15% of them recieve structured team and individual coaching from a dedicated coach. Lots of you (60%) have a Level 1 referee qualification, but only 20% have a Level 1 coaching qualification.

England Touch will use all this valuable information to shape our plans for the coming years – watch this space for more information!

And the winner is…

Claire Rylance from Warwick Touch was the lucky winner of the coaching session. Tim Osborne, the Head of Elite coaching and England Women’s Open coach, will be in touch to arrange a suitable time. Congratulations!

If you want to get in touch to talk more about our plans, or if you want to volunteer, drop us a line at

I’m looking forward to working with you all to continue to improve our sport for you!

ETA Development Director


Who’s who?

After the recent England Touch AGM, the committee and operational board members for the 2013/14 season are as follows. We would like to thank those who’ve left us for their hard work and welcome all the new volunteers to their role.

These are exciting times for Touch in England and with a committed and driven team at the helm, we’re looking forward to taking the next steps in developing and moving the sport forward to the next stage.



Gregg, president since 2011, is the principal leader of England Touch and has overall responsibility for the Association’s administration and development. The President is elected by the members and responsible for representing the views of the Association and its members.
Gregg is an enthusiastic, focussed, passionate advocate for the sport of Touch as a whole and specifically for the growth and development of England Touch.  He has a clear vision of the future direction and development of the ETA and has worked tirelessly over the last few years to further this, generating many positive outcomes thus far.
By creating teams that work positively to support this vision and getting others to believe in, share and work hard to develop this, England Touch has had it’s most successful 2 years on record, winning the European and Home Nations championships.  Planning for the future is high on Gregg’s priority list.  He is currently overseeing the formulation of the ETA’s strategic plan, which will outline the foundation of our efforts, programs and focus over the next few years. The plan will provide a clear direction for the sport, provide an outline of the activities we will undertake and set some ambitious but achievable targets for our sport to obtain.


Mike commenced as Vice President in 2011. His primary role is supporting the Directors of Coaching, Development, Referees and Governance within the ETA structure.

His core goals are to have more people playing Touch and for each person to realise their true potential. Mike is an avid Touch participant and currently plays for England M35, SE Regional team and for the Galaxy club.



Ben came on board in 2012 and has been involved in Touch since his youth. This role looks after arranging coaching courses and strategic planning to ensure the future development and success of both domestic and international Touch in England. Ben is heavily involved in setting selection policies, leadership roles and responsibilities, strategic priorities and principles and coaching course plans and progression.



Elected in 2011, Carly’s role is to ensure the ETA has effective corporate governance ensuring both regulatory and ethical procedures and processes. This encompasses document control, policy formulation, legal compliance and safeguarding.

The role also entails leading initiatives to compile our organisations best practices in partnership with the Sport and Recreation Alliance (member organisation) and Sport England. Incorporating her experience and expertise through employment within the Sports Development sector since 2003 and as a Touch participant since 2007.

The ETA board is to make a commitment to better governance by signing up to work towards the Voluntary Code of Good Governance for the Sport and Recreation Sector.



Mike is basically responsible for looking after the money! Previously an investment banker and accounting major with almost 20 years commercial experience, he is responsible for financial planning, streamlining the system, P&L and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to the England Touch management committee.

Mike has had a long international Touch playing and coaching career and is currently taking a break from active participation… for now.



Newly appointed to this post in September 2013, Tim is a hugely valuable addition to the team, overseeing the elite programme and development of national sides as well as high-performance coaching. This role provides England Touch with a role that is similar to Australia’s and New Zealand’s respective high performance set ups.



Shelley’s main role within England Touch is the development of referees within England. Shelley has been working hard to increase the standard of refereeing across the country. Shelley co-ordinates the referee team at ETA sanctioned events as well as planning and presenting referee courses, coaching referees and assessing for badge upgrades.

The number of active referees has increased during Shelley’s time and there are big plans to expand further in the near future.



Dave is responsible for encouraging and supporting Touch development activities across England. With the aim of increasing the number of people playing Touch, and having them play more regularly in high quality games, we aim to draw more people into the elite game.

If you want to talk with Dave about promoting Touch in your area, email



As Events Director, Kevin is responsible for annually delivering a range of tournaments for all ages and standards of players to compete in across England. These events will provide the opportunity for England Touch to nurture talent and improve standards of performance of all involved in Touch through regular high class competition.
With a wide background of event delivery at all levels, Kevin has experience of providing high class sports events and competition, including a key field of play role at the 2012 Olympics. Kevin will be working closely with NTS/CTS and other event hosts across the season as well as continuing to develop as a Touch referee.












Phil has recently joined us in November as the PR/Marketing Director. He is responsible for communicating England Touch’s activities and facilities to attract members, funds and other resources. A key objective of his role is to raise the awareness of England Touch throughout the Touch playing and wider sporting community, enhance the reputation of England Touch and to create opportunities for sponsorship and partnerships between the sport and other organisations.

If you want to talk with Phil about promoting Touch in your area, email



Steve is responsible for membership within England Touch, specifically ensuring that England Touch provides as much support and assistance to members as is possible and also administering the whole membership process for leagues, clubs and events affiliated to England Touch.

For a quickly expanding sport such as Touch, it is important that we are involved in all Touch operations throughout the country and engage as much as possible with each member. Anyone looking to affiliate their Touch operation should contact Steve, our website also has some information about affiliation, including FAQs:



Jules is the current secretary of the ETA and organises and documents all of our formal minuted meetings as well as providing other admin assistance where required.  Any general ETA enquiries should be sent through the secretary who will either answer your question or direct where appropriate.
Jules is a current player for Manchester Chargers and the W27s team.

Operational Board Members


Zoe has been involved with England Touch since 2008, and returns to the ETA operational board after being involved with the HP team throughout Euros 2012.

During time spent in Australia, she has developed links and made key contacts while participating in the high performance programme at Wallsend Wolves. Zoe played State Cup and Vawdon Cup for the Wolves rep team, and also played for Hornets in the National Touch League.

This experience, along with a passion for fitness and nutrition, will help her role in supporting Tim with the Elite programme.



Georgia is a former World and Double European Champion Dragon Boat Racer who represented GB for 4 years. Her passion for sport and understanding of competing at elite level make her ideal as a member of the ETA support team.

She has worked with the fantastic M35 team since 2012 and is looking forward to continued involvement in the coming exciting years. In her spare time Georgia trains for Crossfit and is actively engaged in competing where possible.

She did play Touch for a number of years but Crossfit took over and now she just shouts, very loudly, from the sidelines.



As part of her role as a teacher, moving in to her 18th year in the profession, Julia has undergone child protection and disclosure training throughout. As disclosure manager for the ETA, she has the responsibility of helping to safeguard the welfare of young children and vulnerable adults within the Touch community.

It is the disclosure manager’s role to ensure that all coaches and course deliverers affiliated to the ETA, working with young children and vulnerable adults, have up to date checks in place. Julia administers the DBS checks on all eligible coaches and is responsible for verifying applicant IDs.


Chris has been working on behalf of the ETA since 2011. He runs his own sports marketing, media and events business called Perfect Motion, that includes running successful Touch leagues in Nottingham. As part of his business interests he has been able to develop a strong working relationship with the RFU which culminated in the successful negotiation and signing of a Partnership Agreement in May 2013 – the first of its kind for England Touch. The relationship and subsequent 4-year agreement with the RFU will help to grow the Touch base of players across the UK as well as generate much needed funds for the ETA.

Chris is a Level 2 (not yet assessed) referee, England 35s player and former coach for the Midlands Tigers Women. He balances his business interests with lots of Touch, a wife and three children. He’s also just taken on the Operations Director role for Nottingham Rugby Football Club.



Cathryn has joined England Touch as the new Apparel and Kit Co-Ordinator.  Her responsibilities include the administration or all kit and liaison with players and Managers to ensure that all International players are kitted out appropriately.
Cathryn joins us with vast experience in this area of expertise and has been involved in Touch as both a player and volunteer for over 20 year and is looking forward to being involved with England Touch.

Medical Team

Cari was appointed in 2011 and brings a wealth of experience to this role. Having created a strong multi-professional medical team, Cari’s main role is injury management, rehabilitation and prehabilitation programmes for all players involved in England Touch.
With strong links with the sports physiology department at Chester University a collaboration has begun to improve the strength & conditioning programmes, research the demands of Touch and aim to inform training programmes.


Emma qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 2003 and has worked with the ETA since she accompanied the squad to the Touch World Cup. Emma was appointed as Head Physiotherapist for the ETA under the management of Cari Thorpe in 2011.

Emma is currently carrying out research into Touch related injuries and injury prevention developing her PHd ideas in collaboration with both The University of Huddersfield, Chester University and Manchester Metropolitan University. It is hoped that this knowledge will be able to inform the practice of the medical team and ultimately benefit the players.


NTS / CTS Tournament Season 2014

Following a nomination process and announced at the ETA AGM at the beginning of November the dates and venues for the combined National and Challenge Touch Series have been set.


As previously communicated the newly combined competition will have the following benefits;

  • Free up 4 weekends in the already busy Touch calendar
  • Bring together the 2 events, allowing economies of scale
  • Aid in the logistics for teams to travel
  • Allow pooling of referee resources from within the UK and Europe
  • Provide a platform for which the CTS teams can watch the country’s premier clubs and pick up tips
  • Give Regional and National coaches an opportunity to see new and emerging talent

Several teams applied to host tournaments for the 2014 season with 5 placing a 1st choice nomination for round 4. The hosting decisions were considered on a range of factors by the Executive Board and Tournament Director including previous events, timing of application and development opportunities.

We have three great venues confirmed for 2014 which are located across different regions in England. Further opportunities for other clubs to host are being investigated by ETA; with the High Performance team looking to supplement their preparation for the Euros through single gender competitions along with a development level of CTS becoming an opportunity as more new teams across the county are looking for competition.


Teams eligible for NTS 2014:

Bareback Riders London Scorpions
Bristol Fijians Manchester Chargers
Cambridge Hornets Nottingham Hoods
CSSC Wookies Oxford Touch
Durka Touch Phoenix Touch
Galaxy II Thames Valley Vikings
Hot Custard Tumeke Sports
London Galaxy Wigan Touch Warriors

Teams with a reserved space in the CTS 2014:

Custard Jaegers (NTS 2013) Nottingham Hoods 2
Wigan Warriors 2 Galaxy 3
Portsmouth Destroyers U18s England Mixed Team


Reserved CTS spaces will be held for a short priority period for each tournament. The remaining spaces, will be on a first come, first served basis, which will include completing the relevant registration form and paying entry fees before confirmation of place is given. A maximum number of 12 teams (TBC) will be permitted in each CTS tournament.

Further information including full details of 2014 NTS/CTS tournaments will be forwarded in due course to team contacts.

Please contact Kevin Hill – ETA Tournament Director – for any enquiries

The Bonfire Tournament, 2013

Wild and windy, with flying gazebos, flying touches and flying scores, the Bonfire tournament on Saturday, once again, ended the touch year with a bang for us at Oxford. Despite the storm of the century (?!) last week, we are grateful that 11 visiting teams weren’t put off. It was great to see so many old friends and the tournament newcomers, travelling from all over the UK, Scotland and even Switzerland to take part in what proved to be a cracking day out.

The pool stages (2 pools of 6 teams) kicked off promptly with some good wins, small losses and surprising draws with some great touch played by both old hands and newbies. Ten back to back rounds of 20 minute matches kept the refs warm and busy (huge thanks to Ian, Kevin, Angela, Alice, David, Gary and Martin for stepping up as well as the player refs that allowed them to take a rest) as well as the players. The final standings saw Loughborough, Cambridge, Portsmouth and Ipswich fighting for the Bowl, Thames Valley Vikings, Manchester Chargers, Superhands and Oxford vying for the Plate, while Galaxy Jedi, Galaxy Warriors, Geezers and Wigan Warriors had their eyes on the Cup.

The knockouts saw Loughborough going to meet Cambridge in the bowl final, while Superhands and the Chargers went through. Then the two close-fought, and evenly matched, excellent Cup semi finals ended in drop offs with each side scoring 3 a piece. The Galaxy Knights eventually managed to put one past the Wigan Warriors getting them through to the Cup final, while, finally down to 3-a-side, the Geezers managed to break the Jedi defence.

With fading light and increasing wind, the Bowl final sent silverware to Cambridge in a 5-1 match and the same score line meant the Chargers took the Plate (they never leave without silverware). In the final match of the day an arm wrestle of a Cup final, saw some tense play, excellent defensive work and only one score in the 20 minutes, with Galaxy Knights managing to hold on to the lead to take the Cup.

As well as the refs, thanks to all of those that organised the tournament, gathered the teams and caught the flying gazebos. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Oxford Touch


Touch Series Finals 2013

Play started at 9:50 at the National Touch Series (NTS) and Challenge Touch Series (CTS) Finals 2013, but the Elite 8 kicked proceedings off at 10:25 on Pitch 1. The Elite 8 are made up of the top half of the NTS league, the Super 8 holding the rest of the teams.

The tournament has four pools that play over four pitches, but we would be focusing on pitches 1 and 2 that were holding the Elite 8 matches as well as all the finals of the day’s competition.

A teams standing in the league is determined by how well you place in events such as this. The NTS had four tournaments in Nottingham, London Cambridge and Manchester while the CTS played in Reading, Newcastle, Widnes and Canterbury. Squads gathered from England, Scotland and Wales to take part in the finals.

Elite 8s
Pitch 1

London Galaxy 6 – 2 Phoenix Touch
Touted as one of the teams to watch, London Galaxy opened their account with a strong showing against the Welsh side Phoenix Touch.



Tumeke Sports 6 – 1 Manchester Chargers
Tumeke had great team composition and proved a handful for Manchester.



London Galaxy 4 – 6 Bareback Riders
The London teams were the ones to beat, the Bareback Riders knew that and took the game to London Galaxy. Trading scores in a fairly well matched game these two teams were great to watch.


Tumeke Sports 5 – 6 Hot Custard
This was an energetic game with Hot Custard making use of some clever two man play to get scores and make the difference.


London Galaxy 7 – 1 Durka Touch
The Galaxy were finding there stride in the competition, which was unfortunate timing for Durka Touch.



Tumeke Sports 3 – 6 Cambridge Hornets
Cambridge were able to pull of the upset against Tumeke, perhaps this championship is more wide open than expected.


Pitch 2
Bareback Riders 8 – 2 Durka Touch
This was Bareback Riders first game of the day, and they set down a marker for the other teams. With a potent offensive capability the Riders looked a good bet to do well.



Hot Custard 5 – 3 Cambridge Hornets
Hot Custard started the tournament well putting it on Cambridge to capture the win.






Durka Touch 3 – 5 Phoenix Touch
Phoenix Touch did their part to maintain Welsh pride picking up the win against Durka.



Cambridge Hornets 9 – 7 Manchester Chargers
Although Manchester gave their all, Cambridge gave more with many players going in for a score.





Bareback Riders 7 – 2 Phoenix Touch
The Riders continued their winning form, easing past Phoenix for an emphatic win.



Hot Custard 8 – 4 Manchester Chargers
Manchester Chargers’ games are a family affair, but even this tight unit wasn’t able to pull out the win against Hot Custard.




Super 8 results
Pitch 3
London Scorpions 5 – 2 Custard Jagers
Thames Valley 6 – 3 Nottingham Hoods
London Scorpions 5 – 2 Wigan Touch Warriors
Thames Valley 5 – 2 Oxford Touch
London Scorpions 7 – 3 Galaxy II
Thames Valley 5 – 5 Bristol Fijians

Pitch 4
Wigan Warriors Touch 4 – 2 Galaxy II
Oxford Touch 3 – 8 Bristol Fijians
Galaxy II 3 – 3 Custard Jagers
Bristol Fijians 4 – 3 Nottingham Hoods
Wigan Touch Warriors 4 – 1 Custard Jagers
Oxford Touch 4 – 2 Nottingham Hoods


Everyone was hoping the weather forecast wasn’t going to be accurate. Heavy rain was predicted for the late afternoon which was just the time the finals were due to kick off. The knock out games started in fine conditions, but eventually that began to change.
CTS Cup Semi-final 1

Thames Valley 4 – 7 Wigan Touch Warriors
Wigan team had a good mixture of young development talent as well as more experienced player. The outcome was a win for the well balanced side.



CTS Cup Semi-final 2

Canterbury Cougars 5 – 4 CSSC Wookies
These two teams enjoyed their appearance on pitch 1 & 2 during the finals. Both teams played hard in an effort to make the most of the opportunity to progress.



CTS Plate Semi-final 1
Portsmouth Destroyers 4 – 3 Galaxy II

CTS Plate Semi-final 2
Percy Park Pirates 3 – 2 Nottingham Hoods

Elite 8 Plate Semi-final 1
Phoenix Touch 6 – 3 Manchester Chargers







Elite 8 Plate Semi-final 2
Tumeke Sports 3 – 2 Durka Touch

Super 8 Plate Semi-final 1
Oxford Touch 9 – 6 Custard Jagers

Super 8 Plate Semi-final 2
London Galaxy II 4 – 5 Nottingham Hoods

Elite 8 Cup Semi-final 1
Bareback Riders 10 – 2 Cambridge Hornets

Elite 8 Cup Semi-final 2
Hot Custard 3 – 4 London Galaxy

Super 8 Cup Semi-final 1
Bristol Fijians 8 – 3 Wigan Touch Warriors

Super 8 Cup Semi-final 2
London Scorpions 4 – 0 Thames Valley

CTS Cup Final
Wigan Touch Warriors 1 – 2 Canterbury Cougars

Super 8 Plate Final
Oxford Touch 10 – 1 Nottingham Hoods

CTS Plate Final
Portsmouth Destroyers 4 – 0 Percy Park Pirates

Super 8 Cup Final
Bristol Fijians 2 – 6 London Scorpions








Elite 8 Plate Final
Phoenix Touch 2 – 7 Tumeke Sports

Elite 8 Cup Final
Bareback Riders 5 – 0 London Galaxy

On paper this was due to be the best game of the day. The top two teams of the top half. Although facing a London team that were fancied to win the competition, the Scottish team showed no mercy in dispatching the London Galaxy to take the Elite 8 Cup Final.







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

















Despite the damp end to the day, there was some scintillating touch rugby on offer. Hopefully it’s not to long until another big touch tournament comes to town.