England are READY!

We’re almost at the end of our long journey since the Touch Nationals and initial squad selection 10 months ago. With our final chapter, the 9th European Touch Championships, almost upon us, our 9 representative squads are primed and ready to go back to the fields and play their hearts out in the hope of retaining the European Champions title.

In final preparation for the tournament which will see 16 countries, 52 teams and 72 international referees come together to compete in Swansea next week; England National representative teams attended their final training camp at the prestigious Welbeck Defense College, Leicestershire, for what was their 4th and final camp pre Euros.

The 2-day camp allowed teams to put their finishing touches to game plans. Each team had their own training time as well as refereed and videoed games organised as part of the HP teams plans.


A welcome from Tour Manager and MC Aaron Cockfield along with Head of Elite Coaching Tim Osborne started the days proceedings whilst setting out the schedule and goals of the weekend.


During the weekend, each player was formally presented with his or her playing jersey in an evening ceremony.

There was also a formal presentation from the President of England Touch, Gregg Cropper:

“We aim to replicate and continue our successes from the 2013 Home Nations and 2012 Euros tournaments, where we won the Overall Championship titles. We also seek to ensure that our supremacy of the Open’s, Seniors and Master’s titles achieved during Home Nations, is maintained. Equally importantly, it’s our ambition that all of our national sides taste success in their respective divisions this year.

Each year we add more to our armoury and become a more professional outfit, a big thanks to the HP team and everyone involved in making this happen.


We go into this tournament as current overall Home Nations and European champions.

This is what we’ve all been working for, to represent England, to wear our jerseys with pride and to go out their and bring back OUR trophies.
Good luck to all of Team England, enjoy the experience and do us proud!”

The feedback from the everyone following the weekend has been positive and the whole squad is heading to Swansea more prepared than ever. Men’s open vice captain and 2014 Flag bearer Justin Conway quoted ‘this has been the most professional and well run campaign ever, and I’ve been involved in a few!’

Good luck to everyone involved, players, referees, physios, coaches and all the administrators who’ve helped is along the way this year.

See you in Swansea!

Highest capped players fly the flag for England

England Touch has appointed dual flag bearers for the 2014 European Touch Championships.

This appointment recognises one female player and one male player who both have the honour of being the highest capped female/male player and having the most touch downs of all female/male England players:
– Kylie Hutchison (57 caps, 41 TDs)
– Justin Conway (56 caps, 46 TDs)


Kylie made her England debut at the European Championships in Jersey in 2004. She has played for England Women’s open at two world cups, four home nations (voted 2007 female MVP by the late Dennis Coffey) and is a five time European Champion.

Justin has played touch for England since 2006, winning two European gold medals and two European silver medals. In addition, he has a World Cup silver medal to his name and is currently the vice captain of England Men’s Open.

Future England stars show their skills

A fantastic turn out and a high level of touch skills were on show at the inaugural Northern Stars U18 mixed touch trials, held at Trinity School in Nottingham, on Sunday 20th July.

27 youngsters aged from 12-18 were up early and keen to impress, hoping to be selected for the new representative side. The players, and their parents, travelled from 10 different clubs around the north of the country. They brought with them a brilliant attitude and a willingness to learn.

All players showed a good level of touch understanding, and after drills run by the coaches, skills and awareness were improved upon throughout the day. The final trial matches were played at a high pace with excellent teamwork and some great touchdowns being scored. The coaches had a very difficult job to select a squad of only 16 as all players showed a lot of promise.

The session was run by current Women’s Open player Zoe Parish and Men”s Open player, Ben Meakin. They were supported by Sadi Meakin (Women’s Open) and Mike Beard (Lincoln Touch).

“All the players displayed skill, determination, and a positive attitude, along with being very polite and a real pleasure to coach”, commented Coach Parish.

The day was a great success with all players taking away new skills to their respective clubs. The selected squad will have two more training sessions in August and the coaches are very excited about continuing to develop the team before the  Touch Nationals tournament in Cambridge on September 7th.

Introducing the future of England Touch…

Adam Brimelow, Annabel Lyons, Brandon McCabe-Hogan, Callum Scott, Danny Hampson, Emmet Joseph, Euan Kelly, Fran Raymond, Georgie Perris-Redding, India Perris-Redding, Jack Dickinson, Jack McHugh, Jake Hill, Liam Morris, Orla McCallion, Toby Phillips.


Regional touch development days


The England Touch Association hosted the combined XBlades NTS / SPORTTAPE CTS Finals this weekend – 12th July 2014 at Droitwich RFC. Playing in warm sunshine for most of the schedule, fast competitive play was the order of the day as clubs from across the country battled it out once more.

XBlades NTS

It was a triumphant  day once more for Hot Custard as they mirrored their first series run out in Nottingham by winning both the titles and therefore coming on top in the NTS & CTS series.


Bristol Fijians took the Bowl 5-4 against Wigan Touch Warriors


Thames Valley Vikings beat Oxford Touch 4-2 in the Shield Final.

Manchester Chargers lost out to London Scorpions 5-2 in the plate final despite the result being reversed in the pool rounds earlier;


The top 4 ranked clubs going into the NTS semis were all present at this stage but winning again, as with the last round against London Galaxy, Hot Custard took the Final Cup 4-2.

Excellent drone footage of this final can be found here, Courtesy of Derek the Drone.



Angela Verniquet & Kiki Tjia were named MVPs for the NTS tournament.


The schedule began with 5 pool matches each through to playoff matches for the prizes and points. Flamingos, which is made up of England u18s player from across the country, beat Thames Valley Vikings 4-3 in the Bowl final.


Nottingham Hoods picked up the final trophy beating Galaxy 3-2 in the Shield.


In the Cup/Shield half of the competition, Manchester Chargers lost out in the Plate final this time to Percy Park Pirates 4-3 which was a reverse of their earlier result.


Custard Jägers  were the overall winners beating Cambridge Bees 4-2 in the Cup final following a draw earlier in the day.

Footage of this final can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSMZkTV3dx0


MVPs in the CTS were Jennifer Ashcroft & Stu Findlay both from Percy Park Pirates, again nominated by the other clubs.

It was another busy day for our Referees team with whistles blowing across 7 fields, a big thanks to them, the host club – Droitwich and all the helpers during the day on registration, results and timings.

Thanks to Kevin Hill, our very own Events Director extraordinaire, who has made a huge impact on the events calendar this year, with big plans for 2015 too!


The next ETA event is in Cambridge for the Touch Nationals after our teams return from the Euros in Swansea.

Good luck to all our England players next month.


Pete Walters helps ETA

The ETA was fortunate enough to welcome ‘Mr Touch’ Peter Walters from Touch New Zealand to our Touch pitches in the last month. Pete is Head of National Coaching and Elite Development Manager of Touch New Zealand and came over to work with some old faces and plenty of new ones too!

During Pete’s stay he delivered a coaching presentation on the Saturday evening of the Manchester NTS double header, in which 100+ players, coaches and referees attended. The presentation covered ‘The trends of the game’, effective line attack in the mixed game, effective use of ‘strong link’ defence in the mixed game, and transitional play in mixed Touch. Many people offered their feedback after the session; “Pete’s presentation was really engaging and his passion and knowledge of the game really shone through”. “Pete just knows so much about our game…. He was brilliant!”.

Pete was then on the road visiting and running training sessions in Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, Cambridge, London and Reading where he delivered various development sessions. Pete commented on the significant improvement of not only the skill level of the game within England, but also the improvement in the knowledge of the game since he last visited in 2013.

All of the sessions were very well received and players attended from every corner of the country to ensure they could access the vast amount of knowledge and experience of touch that Pete has. Not only did Pete manage to dodge the rain at all 6 sessions, but over +200 players attended throughout the week, with Reading being the most popular with almost 80 participants, including a kids session too.


Walters ran sessions for the EMO and EWO elite teams, sharing knowledge with national coaches along the way.

Great to see 2 legends of the game catching up and assisting the sport grow!


The final aspect of Pete’s visit was to deliver an Advanced Coaching Course in London. There were 6 coaches in attendance over the 2 day course and they all left enthused and empowered after immersing themselves in the practical and theory sessions that Pete delivered.

The ETA would like to thank Pete for taking the time out his busy schedule with Touch New Zealand and Auckland Rugby to come across and help develop the great game of Touch throughout England. The presentation in Manchester, the various development sessions and the Advanced Coaching Course in London has invigorated everyone throughout England Touch as we prepare for the 2014 European Championships and the 2015 World Cup.

England Touch delivers successful Corporate Games Touch tournament

Officials and volunteers from England Touch, along with two affiliated clubs Halton Touch and Manchester Chargers recently organised and delivered an extremely successful Touch tournament as part of the World Corporate Games in Liverpool.

The Corporate Games are the world’s largest multi-sport festivals with organisations from across the globe competing to get fit for business and offers a great opportunity for us to showcase touch as a sport to a wide range of people.

11 teams competed in this year’s tournament which was held over 2 days- round robin pool stages on the Saturday and knock out games to determine positions on the Sunday. The teams ranged in experience level from those that play regularly together at work to teams of colleagues from large companies that only met on the day and who learnt to play touch together as the first day progressed.

Despite the unseasonal weather on day 1 there was some great quality touch being played and at the end of a long day early favourites for the tournament MBNA and Accenture topped their groups and qualified for the second day of competition, with great performances across the board from all the other teams including last years winners Jaguar Land Rover, newcomers Vodafone Ireland (a team who hadn’t played a competitive touch tournament before but had benefitted from some training courtesy of Ireland international touch players) to teams such as Parsons Brinckerhoff and Towers Watson (with two teams entered) who had many players playing touch for the first time.

Day 2 dawned bright and sunny and although many teams were feeling the after-effects of the fancy dress party the night before all were keen to get started.  Some great play in all four quarter finals saw MBNA, Accenture, Vodafone Ireland and ARUP progress to the semi-finals, whilst teams from IBM, Jaguar Land Rover, TW Tigers and Untuchable competed in the 5-8th place play offs.  Two competitive semi-finals (MBNA v Vodafone Ireland and Accenture v ARUP) went the way of the experienced MBNA and Accenture teams and meant they would be battling it out for the winners medals later in the day.

The 3rd place play off Vodafone Ireland v ARUP was a highly competitive game, scores even at 0-0 until part way through the second half when the greater experience of ARUP edged them ahead to give them a 2-0 victory and 3rd place in the competition for their company.


3rd Place: ARUP

A high quality and tightly contested game between two great touch teams, with scores on each side keeping the game a hard fought contest to the end, with MBNA’s experience just edging it at the end 3-2.

Runners Up: Accenture: 


Winners MBNA

Some great feedback was received from players throughout the tournament: from those that hadn’t played before who really enjoyed the experience of playing touch and vowed to continue playing, to more experienced players and teams who commented on how well organised and refereed the tournament was and that they’d definitely be on the lookout for more England Touch tournaments to enter!

Thanks and see you next year!

U18s ‘Southern Mavericks’ Trial


Regional Coach – Leah Cuthbertson

Regional Assistant Coach – Sam Jones
Regional Assistant Coach – Dom Tripp

Email – TBC

2015 Training/Trial Dates:

Sunday 17th of May @ Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club, MacFarlane Lane Off Syon Lane, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 5PN
Time: 10.30 meet for 11am start, finish by 3pm. Cost: £5
Saturday 23rd of May @ Maidenhead RFC, Braywick Park, Braywick Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1BN
Time: 10.30am for 11am start, till 3pm. Cost: £5


Southern Mavericks Training Dates 2014

Saturday 16th August

  • Location: Maidenhead rugby club, Braywick Rd, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1BN
  • Time: 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Kit: Please bring a light and dark coloured playing top. No metal studs allowed
  • Food: Please bring lunch and snacks to get you through the day
  • Cost: £5 (payable on the day)

Wednesday 20th August

  • Thames Valley Charity Tournament (Contact Coaches for info)

Saturday 30th August

  • Location: TBC
  • Time: TBC

Who: All male and female players aged  below 18 prior to 01/01/2015 and all players need to be a minimum of 14 years of age by the 01/01/2015. Players South of Birmingham will be eligible for selection for the Southern Mavericks

When: Sunday 20th July, 1pm –5pm.

Where: King Georges Park, wandsworth

Facilities: Please come prepared to play, limited changing facilities are available in Wandle Recreation Centre, Mapleton Rd, SW18 4DN and toilets will be available there.  Parking is available in the waitrose car park on Mapleton road, alternatively free on street parking can be found on Brathway Road/ Longstaff road near the alternative entrance to the park.

Kit: Please bring a dark and light coloured playing top. No metal studs allowed. Bring drinks and snacks for the session and suitable clothing depending on the weather.

Cost: £5 (payable on the day)

Format of the trial: Skills sessions followed by games of Touch

Registration: Fill out the registration form here.

Please pass this information on to any players that you think may like to trial.

If you have any more questions regarding the trial please contact Leah Cuthbertson (leacu@ceh.ac.uk) or Sam Jones (samjones94@gmail.com)

Senior Mixed head to boot camp

The SMX were all set ready for another training weekend. With past experiences fresh in their mind, the team knew that coach Wright would train them hard, and his recent gatherings hadn’t failed to impress.
The venue this time was the beautiful rolling countryside of Gloucester.

Unbeknown to the team, this scenery would not be the only thing to take the players breath away!

Boots, check….. training vests, check…… patching body tape (lots of it!!! ) Check…. Sleeping bags, roll mats, oven gloves? Check?? And check again!

What on earth had he in mind this time? Training with a twist was the only clue that Coach was prepared to give away.

The day started at Hartpury College in traditional Touch fashion with the team covering driving drills, line attack and drop off play. After 7 hours of this the Hartpury session also finished in traditional fashion with Cooky’s recovery drills!

A minute in a relaxing hot tub was allowed but only in between spells in the gruesome ice bath. The team wound down for the day and looked forward to an evening with a few beers.

Back to Martins place, the squad expected a well-earned BBQ, but didn’t realise they were going to have to earn their food that night! Or their beds!

There was some entertainment from Byron…..

Byron - Tightrope

But this was one of the easier challenges of the night. Divided into warring factions with everything to play for, the camouflage face paint came out and the group hit the competition phase head on.

Girls - Camoflage

After a quick kit check which caught out all those who hadn’t paid attention to the detail, the real challenges started.

A Pull Up test on the carport beams, oven mits ready, team 2 clocked up a great score to start them off on the leader board, before being driven to the woods for a game of cat and mouse…


The two teams pushed on desperate to defeat the other for fear of the consequences of losing.

Martin’s carefully placed arrows led the way (as long as you could find them) for a victorious team 1 who won the privilege of choosing which bed they slept in that night. A valued prize given there was only space for 10 people indoors and the remainder would have to fare for themselves out in the garden!

After finally getting their BBQ and some of Cooky’s home made damson rum, a long and tiring day finally came to an end and the teams settled comfortably in to their cosy beds (or the floor!) ready to face another day.

Coach Wright

A rude 4am awakening was about to rear its ugly face though as Martin rallied his troops for a night time challenge. The words no-one should have to wake up to at 4am “trainers on, outside in 5 minutes ready to run!!!” The feeling was written on everyone’s tired blinking faces 5 minutes later as the challenge was revealed ‘We didn’t sign up for this!’

The teams were required to carry a heavy stretcher up the steep sided hill that had been such a beautiful vision on day one! Lungs burning, legs weary, the sun rose up, seemingly racing the teams up their steep climb.


Team 2 made it to the trig point first to again take victory and a slim lead at the top of the leader board.
Back to bed to try and steal another few hours of sleep and wonder what day 2 might entail.
A well needed lie in perhaps. No such luck, back on it at 7.00am. Man tracker time. Both teams had everything to play for as they battled for points in a game of strategy and staying power.

MX30 team

Team 2, displaying their stealth, stamina and cunningness proved well deserved winners and went on to claim the remaining points of the challenge which earned them the all important 100 point discount on the Response Monkey Graph.

No-one knows what the ultimate penalty will be when the Response Monkey brings the season to a close but no-one wants to be top of that table.

Back to Hartpury College for another more traditional Touch training session, the SMX pushed on for the remainder of the day.

An absolutely brilliant weekend, each player overcoming personal challenges and testing their fitness to the max.

Thanks to Martin for his creativity and making this all possible and for each member of the squad for bringing their ‘can-do’ attitude!


Touch makes inroads into Lincoln

Last month, 14 people from Lincolnshire took part in an intermediate coaching course at Lincoln rugby club.  Organised by England Touch Association and Paul Farrington, the course was a great success and a huge stepping stone for touch development in the Lincoln area.

The attendees gave some great feedback which will allow us to tailor the courses further and allow us to extend this across the country.

Not everyone enjoyed the classroom work and preferred to be outside running drills but all agreed that it was worthwhile and helpful.

“ I felt the coaching course went really well, it allowed us to ask about anything we were unsure about and the group work helped us support each other and overall helped emphasise the team philosophy that helps with coaching” said Charles Gould

Special thanks to Paul Farrington for a great weekend, Matt Barton and Lincoln rugby club for hosting us  and, of course the participants.