Exeter Spring Mixed Touch Tournament

Exeter Touch Rugby, in conjunction with Wessex RFC is thrilled to announce that it will be hosting a Spring Mixed Touch Rugby Tournament on 2 May 2015 at Wessex RFC, Flowerpot Fields, Exeter, a stones throw from the mainline railway station and the historic City Centre.

The Tournament will end with a barbeque and prize giving back at the Exeter Brewery Tap bar, to sample some award winning local ale, a 5 minute walk from the pitch and handy for the railway station!

The aim of the day is to provide for a competitive level of competition for mixed touch rugby teams and to also increase participation in the sport.

We will be running 4 competitions on the day, which will be pool events, leading to Cup, Bowl, Shield knock out rounds depending on the number of entrants to each section.

1. Elite Teams – 1st/2nd teams of Touch Clubs/Rugby Clubs/Universities.

2. Social & Corporate Teams – For those who want a social day out and enjoy the sun, beer & banter, without running around like Jo Pavey.

3. Under 18s competition.

We are looking forward to welcoming up to 24 teams, so places are limited. Teams entry will cost £72 for 12 players. That is £6 each for a full day, this will help fund the day and pay for the referees, first aid arrangements etc.

Matches will be 6-a-side with 6 Substitutes.
– Two women and one Veteran player (Over 35 on the day of competition) must be playing on the pitch at any given time.
– Fed International Touch playing rules will apply with any exceptions to be confirmed before the tournament.

All players in the Elite and Social players need to be 17 years old or over on the day of the event. The under 18 competition requires all players to be under 18 on the 1/9/14.

Entry fee includes tickets to the Exeter Brewery for the post match social, once again a 5 min walk from the pitch.

On the day you can look forward to:

• Music throughout the day
• A licensed bar with beers from Exeter Brewery
• Food and Hog Roast
• Pre – Match entertainment
• Raffle and prizes for best performances, fancy dress, stash outfits
• Cheerleaders and party atmosphere

The event is over the Bank Holiday weekend and with the Exeter Brewery trip after the match it is a perfect tour venue.

More information and booking

Meet the team

After the recent England Touch AGM, the Executive Board and operational committee members for the 2016 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.

Executive Board

CEO – Gregg Cropper
Email: Gregg@englandtouch.org.uk

Gregg, president since 2011 and CEO since February 2016, is the principal leader of England Touch and has overall responsibility for the Association’s administration and development. The CEO 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 5 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 years on record, winning two European Touch championships and Home Nations championships and becoming joint 3rd in the world.  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.

Ben Powell - ETA Technical DirectorTechnical Director – Ben Powell
Email: Ben@englandtouch.org.uk

Ben came on board in 2012 and has been involved in Touch since his youth. Ben is extremely enthusiastic about the progression of Touch, both within England and Europe. As Technical Director, Ben is heavily involved in the strategic planning for England Touch to ensure the future development and success of both domestic and international Touch in England.

Alongside this, Ben also focusses on player and coaching progression within England, ensuring coaching courses and various development takes place for both players and coaches within England Touch. Child Protection officer for the Association.


P-C Heselwood-03_Governance Director – Carly Heselwood

Email: Carly@englandtouch.org.uk

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.


Ian Syder Stephen DubreuilNicholas Van de Rijt

Referee Managers – Ian Syder, Stephen Dubreuil, Nicolas Van de Rijt
Email: Refs@englandtouch.org.uk
Email: Refcourses@englandtouch.org.uk
Ian, Stephen and Nicholas’s main role within England Touch is the development of referees within England. Each of the team will focus on specific aspects of the role, but we will be jointly responsible for the tasks.
Stephen will oversee coaching and grass-root development and will manage the newly appointed Regional Referee Managers, forming the bridge between the regions and the Managers. Ian will maintain the referee section of the England Touch website and oversee the collaboration and communication with the EFT and FIT Referee Commissions. Nicolas was appointed as Referee Courses Coordinator in December 2013.  Since then, he has organised and coordinated about forty referee courses in England.  Besides his duties as Referee Courses Coordinator, Nicolas will take the lead on managing the databases and finances, as well as monitoring the stock of badges, whistles and kit.

P-D Benzie-01_Finance Director – Douglas Benzie

Email: finance@englandtouch.org.uk

Doug is a Chartered Accountant, previously holding senior positions with Big 4 Accountancy firm Ernst & Young and currently Chief Accountant and Financial Controller at Pret A Manger. Doug brings extensive finance experience at a turning point in the ETAs finances.

As Finance Director, he is responsible for ensuring the ETA complies with all accounting requirements and ensuring the effective control and management of the ETAs finances. Doug is passionate about Touch and keen to use his skills and experience to support the ETA executive and drive the ETA’s financial management and planning.

High Performance Director – Tim Osborne
Email: Tim@englandtouch.org.uk

Tim was appointed to this post in September 2013, following two years as Head Coach of the England Women’s Open team.

Tim still passes on his role as Head Coach for the Women’s Open team after the 2015 campaign, to focus on the HP Director role as he directs England’s elite programme of eight to nine divisional teams. This involves: forming the HP management and coaching team; monitoring coaches development needs; overseeing the selection of players in national teams; controlling campaign and tour finances; coordinating conditioning programmes and research; and setting the strategic performance goals with the HP coaching team.

P-K Hill-01_Events Director – Kevin Hill

Email: Events@englandtouch.org.uk

As Events Director, Kevin certainly made his mark, with record breaking numbers and outstanding organisation of the combined NTS/CTS events throughout the season.

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/DTS and other event hosts across the season as well as continuing to develop as a Touch referee.


Non Executive Committee

P-K Pollard-02_Development Director – Ken Pollard
Email: Development@englandtouch.org.uk

Joining the team in 2014, Ken has 7 years playing Touch and has 8 years sports development experience and works for the CSP in Nottingham. Ken has Coordinated high profile engagement programmes, including Sportivate, recruiting and attracting new participants into a range of sports, predominately been focused on the 14-25 age group. Developed a range of engagement programmes with National Governing Bodies and arranged, managed and delivered large multi-sport events, including the Nottinghamshire FE games, attracting 400 people from 6 colleges.

Ken has developed relationships with key bodies in Sport, including Sport England, the Youth Sport Trust, National Governing Bodies, HE and FE sector, Local Government, Leisure Facilities, private providers, professional sports clubs, Charities and the voluntary sector.

Julia KangPR & Marketing Director – Julia Kang

Email: Marketing@englandtouch.org.uk.
If you want to talk about promoting Touch in your area, email



RKing ETA profileMembership Director – Rich King

Email: membership@englandtouch.org.uk

Rich joined the team in 2016, having previously led Oxford Touch club as its chair from 2009 until 2015. He is responsible for all membership, affiliation, and insurance matters, including  administering the membership process for individuals, clubs, leagues, and events affiliated to England Touch.
Rich’s experience of leading a club that hosted multiple ETA-accredited competitions, was an early O2 Touch club, and with members of all levels of ability and experience, means he is well versed in the multiple needs and interests of a wide range of Touch participants. He is keen to support England Touch’s diverse and growing base of members as effectively as possible.

This role 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 us, our website also has some information about affiliation, including FAQs: http://www.englandtouch.org.uk/index.php/why-eta/affiliation/

Head of Medical Services – Cari Thorpe
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. Child Protection officer for the Association.

Operational Board Members

P-L Lau-04_ Association Secretary – Lois Lau
Email: secretary@englandtouch.org.uk

Lois is keen to get more involved in the ETA setup and assist in lessening the administrative burden on other members of the committee and allow them to focus more on driving forward the strategies and future planning to build England Touch. Lois has years of administration experience, both at work and outside of the work environment. She has provided secretarial support to various forums and tasking groups including organising regular meetings, minute-taking, and following up on actions agreed.

As part of her Touch career, she was one of the driving forces behind the set-up of the CSSC club and league and is currently part of the Women’s 27s team. The knowledge and experience she has gained provide her with a good platform to help England Touch build the sport and encourage more participation in the future.

As the current secretary of the ETA, it is Lois’ task to organise and document all of our formal minuted meetings as well as providing other admin assistance where required.  Any general ETA enquiries should be sent to the secretary who will either answer your question or direct where appropriate.

Julia KangDisclosure and Barring Manager – Julia Kang
Email: Julia@englandtouch.org.uk
As part of her role as a teacher, moving into her 19th 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.
Strategic Advisor – Louaz Hofton
With over 15 years in the sport and health sector, Louaz has covered most roles in sport from Coach, right through to National Executive of a national governing body of sport. This breadth of experience is now being used to support England Touch in its next phase of development. With his established reputation in sport, Louaz was elected by the England Handball Association as the Director of Development in 2006, where he grew the game with limited resources at grass roots to then exceeding Sport England’s participation targets in 2012. Having Louaz join us, with his wealth of knowledge that covers local, regional and national levels in sport is a great asset to England Touch. Louaz will be working closely with Gregg and is looking forward to working with England Touch to develop its strategy for the future.
Schools Liaison – Matthew Thomas
Email: schools@englandtouch.org.uk
Matt has competed at domestic and regional level and a current PE teacher in London. He’s been a great advocate for positive change within education and sport development. In the immediate future he plans to reform the schools and youth system embedding Touch within educational settings around the locality.

High Performance Team members

Zoe Parish - HP Team

High Performance Manager – Zoe Parish
(Finance and Payment)
Email: Zoe@englandtouch.org.uk

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.


P-L Lau-04_High Performance Manager – Lois Lau
(Operations and Admin)
Email: logistics@englandtouch.org.uk





 HP Tour Manager – Denise Yarrow
Email: tourmanager@englandtouch.org.uk

Denise has 7 years experience in Elite Sport operations from her time working with British Cycling where she maintained and actioned information in support of the logistics for the Olympic Programmes. She now works as World Class Programmes Assistant Manager for British Para-Swimming. She ensures the British Para-Swimming World Class pathways and programme operate in a well-structured and coordinated manner. Having played with the Women’s 27s squad for a season, Denise has learnt about how the squad fits within England Touch and the demands each squad is under to perform on the day. As Tour Manager it will be Denises job to make the life of every player and coach easy, to allow them to be the best they can be without worrying about the daily issues that always occur when travelling with a large team. She will work closely with the Team Managers to ensure the international events runs smoothly and successfully.


Cathryn Ogle - Apparel Apparel Co-Ordinator – Cathryn Ogle
Email: Apparel@englandtouch.org.uk

Cathryn joined England Touch as the new Apparel and Kit Co-Ordinator in 2013/4.  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 has a vast experience in this area of expertise and has been involved in Touch as both a player and volunteer for over 20 years.

Medical Team

 Head Physiotherapist – Emma Knott
Email: Medical@englandtouch.org.uk

Emma has over 12 years of experience as a Chartered Physiotherapist and has worked with the ETA since she accompanied the squad to the Touch World Cup in 2011. Emma was appointed as Head Physiotherapist for the ETA under the management of Cari Thorpe in 2012 and has supported the ETA squads in both national and international competitions over the past four years. More recently Emma worked as a physiotherapist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Emma currently works as a senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield and in private practice. As part of her academic role, she is carrying out research into Touch-related injuries and injury prevention developing her PhD ideas in collaboration with 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.




England Touch – In Focus

This week we caught up with the driving force behind the High Performance teams:

How are your preparations going for the 2015 TWC?

In September 2014 after a hugely successful and competitive #TouchNationals and Open Trials, the England Touch High Performance Team and elite coaches selected players to be part of the initial squads for the upcoming 2015 Touch World Cup in Australia. The coaches had a tough job in selecting their squads as the number of players and quality of skill had increased yet again in 2014; a great achievement for Touch in England and Europe as a whole.

Throughout October and November the squads had numerous training sessions and were put through their paces at the All-England Camp at the Rugby School in Warwick.
England’s 16-player Touch World Cup teams were formally announced on November 21.

In the coming 20 weeks, there will be numerous team sessions, along with a further two All-England Camps: one in Loughborough and the final one in Sydney, the week prior to the tournament.


Player from England to watch out for at the 2015 TWC:

Men’s Open

  • Sam Jones: top scorer at the recent European Touch Championships with 37 Touchdowns. A very, very exciting, young talent.
  • Justin Conway: the highest capped England representative (he’ll be able to remind you of the number).

Women’s Open

  • Susannah Hudson: at just 23 years of age, Susannah will be competing in her 5th major international tournament. This is her year to shine against the best in world, with her outstanding game awareness and killer long ball.

Mixed Open

  • Jordan Melling: step, dive, pace, long ball – this young ginger ninja has all the attributes to compete at the top level.

Women’s 27s

  • Sammie Phillips: player, coach, super-mum supreme! With an excellent all round game, watch out for her change of pace and faultless passing.
  • Jen Palmer: a pocket-rocket middle, she will be looking to exploit the smallest of gaps each time she attacks.
  • Julie Walker: playing the best touch of her career – watch out for her intensity in defence and when attacking the opposition line.

Mixed Senior

  • Martin Wright: preparation, fitness and strength underpin Martin’s game – his attitude and presence in the middle will prove crucial in the Mixed Senior team’s bid for success.
  • Julia Kang: with pure speed and great hands, Julia looks after the far wing for Mixed Senior. Julia bagged several touchdowns at the recent European Touch Championships.

Men’s 30s

  • Dan Holland: Dan dominated defensively at the 2014 England Touch Nationals, and is going to be a real asset for the Men’s 30s in their TWC tilt.

Men’s 40s

  • Mike Roa: Mike has moved up from the Men’s 35s to player-coach the Men’s 40s. Mike’s work off the ball and coordination around the ball not only defines his game, but also defines his team’s game.
  • Terry Careswell: Terry provides the unexpected – a flick pas or a burst of speed will be a crucial weapon for the Men’s 40s in line attack.


England are currently sending 7 teams (MO, WO, XO, W2, M30, M40 and XS) to the 2015 TWC, what are your goals for the event?

Further develop our 112 elite players and 7 TWC teams through exposure to the fastest, most intense and longest tournament in international Touch. We have a whole host of youngsters, uncapped players and debutants that we’re looking to expose to the world stage, with the expectations of them being the next generation of stars.


What are you most looking forward to for your trip to Australia?

We are most looking forward to the camaraderie of #TeamEngland on tour: the 7 teams and supporting staff. This is something we have worked to build over the last 2 years and we have seen great dividends as a result of this. For our England players this will be a trip of a lifetime, representing their country, in a sport they love, in the country the sport was invented – what more could an athlete ask for…other than silverware!

We are also very excited about seeing how we compare with the rest of the world. Touch has undergone significant growth both at grassroots and elite levels in England since the 2011 Touch World Cup.


Anything else you would like to add?

England are the current double European Champions following success at the European Touch Championship in Swansea during August 2014. England won the Men’s and Women’s Opens, as well as the Men’s 30s and Women’s 27s divisions. The three Mixed and two other age-category Men’s sides all won silver medals. This success gives us a great platform to build upon.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

England Touch would like to send seasons greetings to you and your loved ones, we wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous and very successful 2015.

May your holiday season be blessed with peace, love and joy.



ETA Regional Development Officers Appointed

The England Touch Association are pleased to announce the appointment of 19 new Development Officers that will work within their local areas to develop our sport.

Congratulations to the following:

Anthea Joyce South West (Bristol/Bath/Chippenham)
Ben Meakin Midlands (North), Midlands (South), Midlands
(West- Birmingham/Coventry/Leicester)
Chris Garland South England (Surrey/Kent/Sussex)
Christopher McAuley North West (Including Cheshire)
Daniel Askew South England (Surrey/Kent/Sussex)
Daniel Wines London (East), London (South)
David Field Midlands (South)
Harry Grocott South West (Exeter/Cornwall)
Jason Cunningham South England (Southampton/Bournemouth)
Jen Palmer South West (Bristol/Bath/Chippenham)
Jose Luis Dias South West (Reading/Oxford/Maidenhead)
Lauren Sargeant North West (Including Cheshire)
Lois Lau London (East), London (South)
Mike Beard North Midlands
Nina Gulati South West (Bristol/Bath/Chippenham)
Nooroa Ogden London (South), South England (Surrey/Kent/Sussex)
Piula Tuiono North West (Including Cheshire)
Sammie Phillips South West (Reading/Oxford/Maidenhead)

Soul Phoenix                               East Anglia/Essex
If you would like one of a newly appointed Development Officers to come and run a session for you, please contact Ben@englandtouch.org.uk or Development@englandtouch.org.uk



2014 AGM & OGM minutes

On behalf of the ETA, I would like to thank all those who came along to this years meeting, it was great to have so many people there and I hope it gave you an insight as to what goes on in the association and how we are growing year upon year.

At 10.00am on Saturday 6th December, we held the 2014 England Touch AGM, were all members (that contribute financially to the ETA, i.e. clubs, leagues) of the ETA were invited to send one representative to attend and participate in the meeting.

This years meeting was held at Twickenham, in the hope to raise it’s profile and to give something back to our members. With 28 people in attendance, we had a wide and diverse range of members, each with their ideas on how things currently run. After the opening speeches and reports, it was evident that the majority of our members are unaware of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes and by so few volunteers. This is something that the ETA will look to address further in terms of further member engagement.

Over the course of the day, lots of discussions were had and it was felt that the meeting was very successful and productive.

Please take a look at the 2014 AGM OGM Minutes – v1.0 here.

For more information, check out our 2014 Annual Report:

Please click here to view online (not mobile compatible)
Please click here to download



Gregg Cropper
ETA President

The Spring Chick 2015

When: Saturday 21st March 2015
Where: Chippenham RFC, Allington Fields, Frogwell, Chippenham, Wilts, SN14 0YZ
Time: 9:30 Start
Format: Women’s
Cost: £125
Entry: Email jen.palmer@bristol.ac.uk 


This event is particularly suited to those new to Women’s touch. Players of all level encouraged. Following the success of the inaugural Spring Chick in 2014 – with 13 teams entering, it was the biggest Women’s touch tournament of its kind in the UK last year, and second biggest in Europe – we are proud to invite you to take part in Spring Chick 2015!

Maximum of 14 players per team.

Struggling to get a full team together? Enter as a small group or individual and we will combine you with others to make a team if we can!

ETA medical team joined forces with sponsors SPORTTAPE

The ETA medical team members joined forces with our sponsors SPORTTAPE to support the elite athletes, teams and fun runners in the inaugural Urban Attack  held at the national cycling centre in Manchester, hosted in the impressive indoor BMX track. The indoor obstacle race was the first of its kind, combining both the physicality of OCR with the atmosphere of a fun run.



The SPORTTAPE medical team provided advice, treatment and utilised several rolls of tape to ensure all the racers completed the course the to best of their ability!

The day was a great success and the skills developed by the ETA medical team over the past 5 years working with Touch players certainly came in helpful!

This was also a great opportunity for the ETA and SPORTTAPE to continue discussions on their ongoing partnership, which is flourishing year on year.

SPORTTAPE - Gregg and KA

SPORTTAPE - Gregg and Carl


England Men’s Open player James Heptonstall has upped his game again, this time by racing a boat!

James, of viral video #RaceTheTube fame, has created another video from his ‘Epic Challenges‘ YouTube channel and took on the Thames Clipper from the London Eye to Bankside Pier in his #RaceTheBoat challenge..

James and co-founder Noel Carrol had just 8.30 minutes to beat the boat, covering 2.2km, 5 bridges and countless pedestrians, see how they got on, here:



Related post: http://englandtouch.org.uk/wp/index.php/2014/09/racethetube/

Women’s World Cup Fundraiser

The England Women 27s team hosted a fundraising evening on Saturday 6 December to raise money to support their trip to Australia for the Touch World Cup in 2015.

GJ’s pub in Wandsworth, London opened their doors to the festive beach themed night which saw outfits from a bikini wearing reindeer and Santas with kiwi accents to impressive combos of boardies and Christmas jumpers.

Fundraising events included timed races on a rower and bike machine, competitive beer pong, cake and festive accessories sales and of course, how many condoms in the jar.

The “Bangers” ladies put on a top effort to prepare for the night. There was also the grand raffle of which prizes included a holiday in Carcassonne, France, a night’s stay at an award winning B&B in Somerset, and some All Blacks signed items.

Supporters and good willing attendees of GJ’s got fully involved in all the fun and frivolity and meant that the team raised over £3,500 which will certainly help with expenses whilst Down Under.

Just to add, the ladies had two full training days on the Saturday and Sunday (hangover? what hangover!) and Coach Sammie Phillips along with Will TenBroeke did an amazing job of structuring the weekend and putting us through their paces.

The team also had the opportunity to have Ben Powell test their grey matter on the Sunday, running through some new tactics that will ensure the team is one to be reckoned with come the World Cup.