England Touch In European Spotlight

Nine England teams competed in this year’s biennial European Touch Championships in Les Quennevais, Jersey.

The event was attended by 14 nations, 53 teams and 793 players. England had 144 touring players in attendance making them the highest represented nation at the event.

In a dominant display, England finished with six top-ranked teams with three teams coming second, giving them a bag of six Gold and three Silver medals. Not only did this surpass their success at the last Euros at Swansea – where England scooped four Gold and four Silver medals – it also means that, remarkably, England has made the final in every possible division for Euros in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

These results are evidence that the sport is now well established in England with continued, repeated success in Men’s Open and Women’s Open, as well as new successes in seniors divisions. Meanwhile, the increased popularity of the sport and the growing player base also meant that England was able to field a Men’s 45s team for the first time.

High Performance Director, Tim Osborne, noted that “our success could not have been achieved without our coaching staff in meticulously preparing our teams for competition over a nine-month training campaign.

“Significant praise also goes our medical and sports science staff whose planning, support and care meant our athletes were conditioned to perform for the four-day tournament. Remarkably, the medical team reported lower injuries in Jersey than any other tournament over the past four years.

“Most of all, however, credit must go to the commitment and professionalism of our athletes.”

Gregg Cropper, CEO of England Touch Association, acknowledged England’s achievements by saying he was “immensely proud of what we have achieved to date.”

He went on to confirm that “this has been our largest and most successful campaign. However, while our short-term goals have been accomplished, there is still scope for further development.Gregg Cropper - Jersey

“We aspire to reach the standards set by the Southern Hemisphere associations. To achieve this we are committed to developing our youth, our leagues, our coaches and development officers, and our referees.

“Children are our future stars. We are starting to see development of our youth pathway, now three years since inception, with four England teams set to compete at the upcoming Junior Touch Championships. However, we need to invest more in schools Touch to better develop our youth player pathways.

“We are also developing a new league structure to support recreational players at social levels in areas across more geographical areas around the country.

“We are seeing further evolution and up-skilling of our coaches and development officers as we invest in their development and training with support from other world-leading coaches.

“Referees are a vital part of our sport’s progression. While, referee numbers are definitely growing in England, we need to redouble our efforts to ensure referee numbers grow to match the increased participation.

“It really is exciting times for us all at England Touch and we are looking forward to what the future holds for us.”

Tournament Stats 

  • 1,160 caps
  • 144 touring players (205 squad players)
  • 740 Touchdowns
  • 79 games (60 wins, 3 draws, 10 losses)
  • 54 debutants
  • 9 teams
  • 6 Gold medals (Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Women’s 27s, Mixed Senior, Men’s 30s, Men’s 45s)
  • 3 Silver medals (Mixed Open, Men’s 35s, Men’s 40s)
  • 3 undefeated teams (Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Women’s 27s)
  • 2 tournament divisional MVPs – Jake Melling (Mixed Open) and Gregg Cropper (Mixed Senior)
  • 2 records broken (100 opens caps by Kylie Hutchison, and the most Touchdowns in a match by Women’s Open)
  • 1 Opens title
  • 1 Masters/Seniors title
  • 1 Overall title
  • 1 Team – #TeamEngland

Kylie Hutchinson 100 caps

Divisional MVPs

Gregg Cropper XS, Josh Angell MO, Jake Melling XO

image2 image3 image4

Staff – The team behind the teams

Team behind the team

  • 51 touring staff, including 12 player-staff
  • 10 physiotherapists
  • 4 massage therapists
  • 2 sports scientists



  • 18 refs (25% of all referees in attendance)
  • 10 referee upgrades
  • 6 finals
  • 4 team leaders
  • 1 most improved referee
  • 1 referee of tournament

Shelley Grace Alice Scooby Watchorn

Bournemouth hosts Olympic Touch Event

Bournemouth and Poole Touch Group were delighted to welcome over 100 players to their “Olympic” themed Touch event last Saturday to mark the launch of their England Touch Affiliated group that
offers an all inclusive minimal contact sport for all.

The community sports festival ran from 9am- 6pm at Iford playing fields thanks to the support of Bournemouth Council’s Parks Department and the very kind support of Graham Donaldson, the President of East Dorset RFC.

Bmth 5

Jason Cunningham, event Co Organiser and England Touch Regional Development Officer commented,

“Allan Reed and I have been running Touch events in the area for more than 5 years and after the success of our Beach Touch and Rugby World Cup themed event in 2015, we could not resist running an Olympic themed Touch event. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the forthcoming Olympics, unite local rugby players and to celebrate the success of our local touch players who have embraced Touch, made Regional and also the National Teams. Several of our Bournemouth “Titans” Touch players recently represented England at the European Championships and won Gold and Silver Medals.”

The organisers reported that the players were thrilled to receive a surprise visit from 2012 Olympic Torch bearer in the form of Mr Keith Simmonds, MBE, who posed for photos with the teams. We also had the company of Councillor Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure and the Arts and were honoured to receive a very special visit from The Worshipful, The Mayor & Mayoress of Bournemouth, Councillor & Mrs Edward J Coope as our VIP guests.

The Mayor and Mayoress received a royal welcome with 3 cheers, as they were introduced to Founders, England Touch players, local players and service men from the Royal Army all forming part of our super Bournemouth Touch Group.

Bmth 7

The Mayor addressed the group of Olympians commenting on his love of sports and his focus to support Health & Well being and community sports events in his year of office.

A donation was made to the Mayors Trust Charity for the parks and flowers presented to the Mayoress as a sincere thank you from the event organisers.

Allan Reed Co founder of Bournemouth and Poole Touch commented that the event was a huge success.

For anyone male or female over the age of 16  interested in trying Touch this summer in the surrounding areas, please contact us.

What do Children learn from playing Touch?

Respect for the opposition instils in children that conflict is also healthy.

Teaches essential social skills, co-operation, team spirit and sportsmanship

Promotes motivation to achieve and a healthy sense of competition.

Brings boys and girls from all backgrounds together to have FUN!

Developing an ‘on field’ personality can help children learn about themselves.

Touch is a game built on trust and encourages honest and fair play.

Healthy living
Encourages a healthy lifestyle, to make correct choices every day, keeping them fit physically and mentally.

Learning the strategic part of the game enhances concentration and analytical skills

National Schools Touch Tournament

England Touch is proud to announce the first ever National Schools Touch Championships on October 1st 2016.

Boys (18’s, 15’s, U13’s)
Mixed (18’s, 15’s, U13’s)
Primary Mixed

England Senior Mixed win Gold at the Euros

Having topped the group in previous Euros and narrowly missing out on a gold medal to Scotland in Swansea 2014, Coach Wright and his squad were determined that this time around that they were ready to take on the challenge in the beautiful Island of Jersey. The goal, to win a gold medal for England, and once more be crowned the Senior Mixed European champions wasn’t going to be an easy feat with strong competition from a pool consisting of Wales, Jersey, France and Ireland.

The SMX squad growing older since the last Euros, Coach Wright decided to bring in some new younger players.

The last 9 months have allowed us to grow and develop together as an even tighter squad and new players integrated fully in to the team. We have lived and breathed the same thirst quenching desire to be crowned European Champions once more.

SMX England Team

The input from Coach Wright with assistants Cropper and Cooky have ensured we could not have been better prepared for 2016 Euros both mentally and physically and this time around we had the support of Tim Osborne, HP coach whose knowledge and experience has been invaluable.

Travelling the length and breadth of the country to develop together, those early morning visits to the gym before work, the bootcamp weekend away that pushed you beyond that comfort zone you never realised you were in. The relentless hours spent away from frustrated loved ones who support you in your quest to be an international athlete. All of this preparation undoubtedly allowed us to cope well with stresses on the pitch and the sinking feeling when you’re trailing in a game and the noisiest crowd aren’t cheering for you. But somewhere in us all is that learnt ability to come out harder and step up our game and turn around our fortune. We had all been well drilled and prepared for these circumstances.

SMX 01_JerseySMX 03_Wales v2


Our pool games saw some close fought battles against France, Jersey and Ireland who were all capable of topping the table. Many times we came from behind believing in ourselves and our ability to be winners. No-one’s final slot was assured and it was down to our last game against France to ensure our rite of passage on to field one on Finals day to play against Ireland who were sitting comfortably at close of play on Saturday.

The weather turned and down came the rain. The supporters were thin on the ground as they huddled under umbrellas and opted for dry areas under gazebos and tents.

SMX_Ireland Final

Ireland fans braved to rain to get behind their squad. Suddenly a mistake on the pitch meant we were a man down and battling to hang on to the gold medal dream that was slowly sliding from our grasp.

We didn’t lose our focus or blame each other’s mistakes. Our boot camp mentality and love for each other turned us around and we went back fighting harder for what we’d spent all these months preparing for.

At half time we grabbed a shirt and pulled together, knowing we had come from behind several times over the week and believed in ourselves that we could do it again. Back to 6 players we gradually clawed back our lead.

With only seconds to go and one TD up, we thought we had achieved our ultimate goal. As the hooter sounded and we waited for the last play call from the ref, we realised, to our frustration, that the referee hadn’t heard the welcoming sound attuned to our own ears. A score from Ireland and we were in to Drop off.

We wasted no time to ponder the situation and Tim called us quickly back in to the box. Time to refocus on what we needed to do and not what could have been. Captain Byron’s 5 psychological P’s hammered in to our heads.

The remaining drop off players dug deep and a score from Ollie Sills gave us the advantage we needed.

The D team scraped their last ounces of energy from their exhausted bodies and held the Irish out.

That feeling when the final whistle blew was indescribable. It will live with us always. This was one of the biggest tests of positive mental attitude we had ever encountered.

SMX 01_winning

We had fought harder than anything for the status of European champs. Harder than we’ve ever fought before in any previous tournament to date and no one deserved it more than us. No one could take that moment from us.

SMX 03_MedalWe live in our Touch world for only a brief moment in comparison to the rest of our daily lives, but our bonds amongst the Senior Mixed have become strong. Our team work and determination are what have seen us through the tournament and enabled us to come out on top. We are a family, we are one team. Grab a shirt, come in close, we are England Touch Senior Mixed!

SMX Winners

Coach Wright, reflects:

“Firstly I would like to say thank you to all of you for your efforts throughout the course of the year and in the final week.  It has been a very pleasurable squad to be a part of (again) and we have created a great atmosphere.  It really is one of the most striking things about the England SMX squad that we continually create the sort of atmosphere which people want to be a part of.  The mixture of maturity, eagerness, professionalism and fun that you all bring is the perfect balance.

Cooky Liam


“I would also like to say a big thank you to the guys who supported us this year.  Cooky, Liam and Tim made my life at the tournament very easy and enabled me to concentrate on just playing Touch.  For this I am very grateful.  They deserve the gold medals every bit as much as the 16 players who earned them on the field and I hope you will all join me in thanking them for their efforts.

The Leadership within the squad was also a big factor in our success this year and I thank Gregg, Byron and Sue-Ellen for all they have done for the squad.  Changing Leadership and Captains is not always successful but you guys took it all in your stride and made it a great success”

SMX Eng Vs France 2 SMX Eng Vs Ireland 2 SMX Eng Vs Jersey 2

SMX Eng Vs Wales 2 SMX Gold

SPORTTAPE and England Touch Renew Partnership Through 2016/17

England Touch and SPORTTAPE have signed a 1-year extension to their partnership with the joint aim of helping to develop the sport throughout the UK, and help the England Touch Elite teams continue to compete at the highest level.

Touch is one of the fastest growing sports in England and one of the only sports that promotes inclusivity through mixed team competition. To facilitate the growth of the sport and ensure that our elite teams can continue to perform at the absolute highest level it was essential to partner with a company that understands the sport and provides a product that literally keeps our players on the field.SPORTTAPE-CLINICAL-BOX-RED

SPORTTAPE will be the title sponsors of the SPORTTAPE CTS Touch Series and will be providing product to our medical team for use throughout the course of the 2016/17 season. All members of a Touch team will also be entitled to a discounted rate on SPORTTAPE products.

Ieuan Thomas, Marketing Manager for SPORTTAPE said:

“We’re so excited to be partnering with England Touch again this year and continue a fantastic partnership. Our tape is truly designed for sport and is tested by these players in some incredibly harsh conditions, so we get some fantastic feedback! We hope that our tapes can help the incredible medical team keep the players in one piece as they aim for yet another European Championship title.”

Gregg Cropper, CEO of England Touch said:

“We value our partnership with SPORTTAPE. The demands of tournament play means that players succumb to many injuries. Players and referees alike use strapping and taping to assist general movement and to minimise discomfort.

Our medical team report its quality over and above its competitors and that SPORTTAPE is a high quality product that is always very well received amongst all our athletes. It allows effective rehabilitation after injury enabling our players to be back to peak performance quickly.

SPORTTAPE 08Company director, and personal friend Kate-Anne Kelly, eats, breathes and sleeps SPORRTAPE and they are much more than just a sponsor. The energy she brings is infectious and I am very excited to continue our relationship and look forward to another year in partnership.”

England Touch is the national governing body (NGB) for the sport of Touch in England, and aims to provide a structure for players of all ages to be involved in the sport of Touch at all levels. England Touch provide affiliated leagues and clubs around the country with support and services that ensure anyone wanting to play the sport can do so in a safe and enjoyable environment.

We are proud to hold the status as European Champions following the recent European Touch Championships in Jersey.

SPORTTAPE is the UK’s number 1 Tape brand, providing the highest quality kinesiology and traditional tapes to sports teams, clinics and individuals all over the world

If you would like to know more information, or would like to enquire about SPORTTAPE’s range of products please visit www.sporttape.co.uk.


England Touch recognises success at reception in St Helier

On Sunday 10 July 2016, England Touch hosted their European Touch Championships post-tournament reception in Fort Regent. Overlooking St Helier as the sun set after the final day of competition, the 200-strong England touring party celebrated their collective success as well as recognising both contributions from staff and individuals player achievements.

Firstly, the wonderful England staff received their accolades and thanks. The nine England teams were supported by a dedicated back-room team of 10 physiotherapists, five massage therapists, five sports science staff and seven-strong high performance management team.

Then for each team, a Players’ Player and Coaches MVP award was presented. The 2016 awards recipients are listed below:

Women’s Open
Players’ Player:
Rosannah Cormack and Sadi Meakin

Coaches MVP:
Carlie Hoffman

Men’s Open
Players’ Player:
Dom Tripp

Coaches MVP:
Clint Rowling

Mixed Open
Players’ Player:
Jake Melling

Coaches MVP:
Leah Cuthbertson

Women’s 27s
Players’ Player:
Tanya Winson

Coaches MVP:
Alex Maskell

Men’s 30s
Players’ Player:
Dan Wines

Coaches MVP:
Dean Hancock

Mixed Senior
Players’ Player:
Byron Tibbitts

Coaches MVP:
Cathi Farrar

Men’s 35s
Players’ Player:
Chris Wall

Coaches MVP:
Matt Hall

Men’s 40s
Players’ Player:
Simon Witton

Coaches MVP:
Gary Povall

Men’s 45s
Players’ Player:
Ian Grisewood

Coaches MVP:
Neil Davies

Finally, at the end of the evening a most remarkable achievement was recognised: the England Women’s Open captain, Kylie Hutchison was presented with a commemorative award having attained her 100th international cap for England in the 4-3 final victory against Wales earlier in the day. Most significantly, all one hundred caps were as a player in an opens grade, and we believe this is the first time it has been achieved in the history of Touch.

The event capped off a very successful tournament for England Touch.


Congratulations to all our referees who achieved upgrades, finals appointments and other notable performances and achievements last week at the 2016 European Touch Championships. (Rankings in brackets)

Adam Brimelow (L2)
Melissa Day (L2)
Rebecca Maxwell (L2)
Layo Aromire (L3)
Kevin Hill (L3)
Mike Green (L3)
Alice Watchorn (L3) – Most Improved Ref
Catriona Weir (L3)
Gareth Hinds (L4 Senior)
Nicolas VdR (L5)

Finals appointments
M40 Final Referees:
Gareth Hinds (15 – Leading senior male)

Womens’ Open Final Referees:
Alice Watchorn (13)

M30 Final Referees:
Ian Syder (11)
Shane Hills (10)

Senior Mixed Final Referees:
Nicolas Van De Rijt (7)

Mixed Open Final Referees:
Shelley Grace (6 – Leading female)

Referee of the tournament
Shelley Grace

Team Leaders/Mentors
Nicolas VdR
Ian Syder
Stephen Dubreuil
Shelley Grace

England Touch provided 25% of all the referees for the tournament, a great testament for the amount of development going on at grass roots level.

England Touch Leagues – Be Part of it!

About us

We are the governing body of Touch (Rugby) in England and as custodians of the sport, we encourage, promote, foster, develop and extend the sport of Touch in England, under the Federation of International Touch rules and guidelines.

With national coordination and administration of the sport, England Touch ensure standards are preserved and maximum cooperation and competition is provided countrywide. We’re dedicated to the development and growth of Touch in England and the promotion of Touch as a sport that’s accessible to all.

Why choose us?

We are currently expanding geographically and looking for individuals in areas without existing leagues to partner with, to provide England Touch Leagues to ensure anyone wanting to play can do so in a safe, fun and enjoyable environment. Following a review of similar sports and businesses, we’ve developed a model to suit both individual lifestyles and entrepreneurial ambitions. Little outlay and flexible operational hours are just two key advantages our new partners will see, whilst preserving and improving their work/life balance.

Expect more, Be more

Running an England Touch League is about encouraging participation in the sport and providing a quality experience for all involved. It’s also about creating and maintaining the social buzz around it too.
We know that Touch players are like minded, like to have fun and socialise together, so it’s our job to help them do this! Join us and you will benefit from an authorised ‘League in a box’ product, with first class training, continuing support and backroom assistance.

Simple to Manage

ENGLAND TOUCH LEAGUES set to take the country by storm

Leverage off a trusted and reputable brand and organisation. Characterised by professionalism, organised and utmost customer service, England Touch, with your help, are aiming to rapidly bring the excitement of competitive match play to many more players in underserved areas. Be a part of it!

Why are we Expanding?

Touch is becoming increasingly popular across England, in many forms, with well over 25,000 registered players participating in both social and coached sessions in 2015, with over 150,000+ hours attended. Existing league partners are a big part of this success and will continue to be vital for introducing new players to the game. Now the time is right for us to spread our reach and take our sport to more communities and sports clubs nationwide. By creating a UK-wide network of England Touch leagues, we can make the sport more accessible, more competitive and more sociable for all those who want to play.

of social sport in England

For too long, many players, referees and teams have settled for mediocrity and below average standards when it comes to customer experience at social sporting events and competitions. Many existing touch leagues provide an excellent experience and will continue to do so. Through the England Touch Leagues blueprint, we aim to ensure the successes are replicated in other parts of the country, helping new providers deliver an excellent experience with superior competition administration, organisation, referees and ultimately, the game itself.

We are growing rapidly, with over 40 registered clubs and more than 850 individual members. Let alone the 20+ affiliated leagues already running with around circa 4000 individuals involved. There’s no better time to get involved with England Touch.

Be The Difference

but not by yourself

As we launch the England Touch Leagues, we are looking for enthusiastic individuals, who are keen to grow the sport and a business at the same time. To take on England Touch Leagues franchise you need to be enthusiastic, organised and excited by the idea of building a fun, exciting and competitive league. It’s likely that you’ll already be involved with a local sports club or have good knowledge of the local Touch and sport scene.

For a customary primary set-up fee, you will be buying into the business and receive the following:

  • The permission to operate under the England Touch League brand name
  • Full technical and practical training
  • Online access to England Touch League registration site inc access to players, fixtures, results and site management and central administrative support
  • Turnkey package and easy administration
  • Equipment: Banners, balls, cones, equipment bag, whistles and branded staff kit
  • Insurance cover
  • Affiliation to England Touch and access to our partners and sponsors deals too
  • Marketing collateral – England Touch League branded banner/pop up
  • Promotion of your programme(s) on the NGB central website
  • Access to exclusive PR support package including templates and promo flyers
  • Invite to celebration evening, including England Rugby Tickets
  • National marketing and advertisement campaigns and support
  • Dedicated webpage for your business inc central support for IT issues
  • And much more!

Do something that you love3, 2, 1… GO!

  • Make contact. If you believe this opportunity is for you, register your interest by completing the online contact form, with no obligation.
  • Let’s chat. Having registered, we will contact you, at a mutually convenient time, to begin discussing if you feel this opportunity is definitely for you.
  • Review. Once you’ve considered the concept, we will cover any questions you may have, send you the partnership agreement and begin to plan.
  • Launch. The exciting part! You’ll receive software login and training along with the promotion and launch of your new league!

be a part of it

Contact us: Leagues@EnglandTouch.org.uk

England debutants presented with jerseys

Today, in a formal presentation in Saint Helier, Jersey, the following players were awarded with their first senior team England jersey.

These players will make their debut for England at the 2016 European Touch Championships to take place on 7th to 10th July.


Women’s Open
2              Bronte Sykes
12            Carlie Hoffman
13            Adeline Drut
14            Charlotte McFarland
16            Sofia Luxton
Men’s Open
1              Vaughn Meredith
11            Max Howard
13            Matthew Davis
16            Alex Scott
Mixed Open
5              Josh Thompson
10            Alissa Grant-Walker
14            Steve Hamilton
17            Bronte Angell


Women’s 27s
2              Emilie Eve
4              Keisha McLean
5              Louise Rickard
8              Claire Rylance
10            Kara Buckley
11            Tamara Slater
15            Victoria Franks
16            Alexandra Maskell
Men’s 30s
3              James Thurston
5              Daniel Harrison
6              Andrew Beattie
7              Sindre Myhrhagen
11            Jason Waddell
14            Stuart Bussell
21            Colin Scott
Mixed Senior
6              Cathi Farrer
9              Joe Hartley


Men’s 35s
2              Alastair Barnes
3              Gareth Perry
4              Erik Williams
5              Liam Lawton
6              Neil Irving
9              Garth Hannaford
10            Christian Prinsloo
12            Semesi Cocker
15            Stuart Holt
16            Matt Hall
23            James McLaughlin
Men’s 40s
2              James Barnett
5              Rob Bowden
9              John Tate
13            Dave Williamson
Men’s 45s
1              Iain Grisewood
2              Andy Verney
7              Lee Thompson
8              Mark Scott
9              Ray Macfarlane
10            Theo Oberholzer
11            Spencer Nye
12            Simon Ince
14            Rob Byrne
15            Ian Rowberry
16            Julian Wilson