England beat off competition from both Germany and Portugal to secure hosting rights.

England Touch are delighted to have been informed our extensive bid to host the 2018 European Touch Championships has been successful.

The European Federation of Touch (EFT) announced earlier that England had beaten off competition from the Germany and Portugal to host the 9 division tournament in two years’ time.

Bids were assessed and scored against a matrix system, from criteria provided in the bid documentation.

Upon receiving the results, CEO of the association, Gregg Cropper, said:


This is fantastic news, and we are very excited to begin working on this project

We have clear, definitive motives as to why we bid to host ETC2018. We also have numerous aims and objectives, to ensure that hosting the event will translate into a lasting sporting legacy, not just for England, but also for all the participating nations. We will strive to leave a positive legacy and an undeniable mark on Touch history by staging the most memorable European Championships, ever.

To say we are experts in Touch is true, but England Touch is not just about Touch. We believe in the whole experience and everything that makes that experience unique, from the moment you pack your boots, to when you’re back home basking in the enjoyment. We’re continually striving to improve the experience of participating and ensuring our customers enjoy the moment, their games and tell others about our great sport too. 

Our commitment to grow the game Europe wide, attract more sponsors and put on the biggest and best event in the Northern Hemispheres history has clearly been recognised by the EFT.

England Touch have a long tradition of hosting successful and high quality tournaments both through its member clubs and through the association itself, including both local and national delivery from single to multiple day events.

2014>16 has seen a significant jump in the national delivery requirements as we combined our top two tiers of competition into one, which saw a minimum of 28 teams participate in the 4/5 rounds and required a minimum of 25 referees and 8 fields. The association facilitated and administered the running of a 3rd tier competition and introduced a University series too, with plans to grow each of these in the next 3 years too.

Co-author of the bid, Ken Pollard, ETA Development Manager quoted:


Nottingham has a strong reputation in delivering major sporting events, we will certainly be doing our part to continue this.

There has been a huge growth in Touch over the past years and being able to bring this international event to Nottingham will provide the ETA with an ideal opportunity to showcase the best of the sport and attract new people to the game. 

With high quality facilities and all the attractions associated with a modern, vibrant city, we are confident we will deliver a hugely successful tournament.

As part of our commitment to hosting, we will work with local media companies, including Notts TV and Confetti (linked to Nottingham Trent University) to live stream as many matches as possible. We will also look to produce a highlights reel and promo clips for future Touch events, creating unforgettable moments and a sense of pride and enthusiasm to represent your country in our sport.

PR and Marketing Manager, Julia Kang added: 


As a resident in Nottingham it will be wonderful for our local community and be invaluable in raising the profile of touch amongst schools and community groups.

The sport in England has risen Dramatically over the past few years and our dedication to the elite performance can be seen by our results in the recent European Championships. 

Hosting a competition of this magnitude will allow us to showcase what we are capable of and will be a driving force to help develop the game further in England as we pull in local community groups and raise the profile of touch at grass routes levels. 

As a resident in Nottingham it will be wonderful for our local committee and be invaluable in raising the profile of touch amongst schools and community groups. 

We will look to build the event locally, with local media and lots of digital content. With close links to the RFU in England (and many of our players participating in national initiatives like O2 Touch) we can engage a wide audience through all of the key platforms with the opportunity to expand this and engage the players in pre-event promotion that will generate wider awareness.


Luke Roberts, Commercial Partnerships & Sponsorship Manager, added: 


We are in discussion with numerous other potential suppliers and sponsors.

“The 2018 European Championships provides England Touch with a fantastic opportunity to leverage the ever-growing popularity of the sport to form innovative partnerships with sponsors. Through these relationships, we aim to create fun, engaging and memorable experiences for teams and fans, as well as continuing to attract and inspire junior players.

We are in discussion with numerous other potential suppliers and sponsors. The 2018 European Championships would enable an attractive value proposition to share with prospective sponsors.

It is important to ensure that there is clear synergy between sponsors and the event, so a methodical and brand-focused sales approach would be followed when recruiting sponsors


We will look to use this event as a springboard to drive participation in schools, inspiring them to choose our sport. England are currently running pilot school schemes in 4 large cities, looking to get Touch into the school games. We will look to bring the finalists of local / regional schools competitions to the event, be part of the opening ceremony and, depending on field availability, play a match. 

England has seen unparalleled growth in the number of people participating, at all levels in the past 18 months and the growth in the number of registered clubs and leagues is also on the rise. This event will all be part and parcel of our bigger picture of reaching our vision, which is: “To lead the development of Touch, to become England’s leading recreational activity”


England’s successful bid for hosting the European Championships in 2018, will give a great platform for all of Europe preparing for the 2019 World Cup in Malaysia.

► Aim 1 – Deliver a fantastic tournament for all selected players, referees and volunteers across Europe
Aim 2 – Provide EFT with a well managed, prepared and delivered tournament
Aim 3 – Grow the junior player base across younger age groups in England – including referees.
Aim 4 – Inspire junior players, referees and volunteers to commit to a lifetime of Touch participation. 

We look forward to welcome the rest of Europe to our country and enjoying this great event!


Bath Hawks swoop the spoils


A cold and misty morning was the back drop for the first University Touch Series (UTS) tournament of the 2016-17 academic year. The mist lifted for tap off, revealing 4 immaculate pitches laid out by the host’s, Surrey, and 11 teams representing 8 University’s, all ready to get stuck in.

The first round of games saw some of the familiar faces to the UTS circuit facing off; with Loughborough vs Southampton starting Group 1 (6-0), Bristol Honeys vs Surrey in Group 2 (7-2), and Bath vs Bristol Badgers (11-1) in Group 3.


RVC Touch

The fresher-faces to the series were up in round 2 with the Royal Veterinary College beating Exeter Pumas by 3 tries to 2, and Cardiff Students beating Exeter dragons by 3 tries to 1 in their first ever UTS fixture.

The group stages were rattled through quickly and resulted in a three-way tie in Group 1 with Loughborough, Exeter Dragons and Cardiff all tied on 9 points. After being split by points difference, Loughborough went through as group winners into the Cup Semi final and Cardiff as runners up went into the Plate semi-final, along with Exeter Dragons as the highest third place.

Exeter Titans topped Group 2, and both Titans and Bristol Badgers went through into the cup final, with Surrey entering the Bowl.

Finally, Bath came top of group 3 with the highest points difference across all groups of +21, averaging a winning margin of 7 points across their three games. Bristol Honeys and RVC went through to the Plate semi final and Exeter Pumas were placed into the Bowl.

After lunch some, semi finals were played in the Cup and plate competitions, while a round-robin was taking place in the Bowl. In the Plate Cardiff won their semi against RVC and met Exeter Dragons in the final. The Plate final was tightly fought and drop offs looked likely, until Cardiff pulled away and ran out 7-5 winners.


Cardiff Touch – Wales’s first team entry

The Bowl competition was a close contest in a three-way round robin with Southampton and Surrey coming out joint-top on equal points and point difference, with Surrey the eventual winners after the head-to-head match figures.

In the Cup Competition Bath won the early game 7-4 against Bristol Badgers, and were then met in the final by Loughborough, after yet another semi final battle between Loughborough and Exeter Titans.

The Cup final between Bath and Loughborough finished the day on a high with a lot of energy and a high standard of Touch, and entertained the spectators with a 9 Touch down game. In the end Bath proved too much for Loughborough on this occasion and ran out 6-3 winners.



Loughborough – Runners Up



Bath Hawks – UTS1 Winners



Rhys James – MVP

Congratulations go to Bath for Winning the Cup final, to Cardiff for the Plate final, and Surrey for the Bowl. A special mention to Rhys James of Cardiff Students for being nominated MVP, and of course to Dan Askew from the University of Surrey for organising and hosting the first round.

Surrey - Hosts

Hosts – Surrey University

We now look ahead to the second round in Exeter in 3 weeks time!

Sign up now for the next round(s):


Full results online:

National Schools Touch Tournament

Women In Sport – By a Woman in Skort

My name’s Melissa. And I’m a referee. Not an alcoholic.

But just like alcohol, refereeing can be fun, a massive buzz and also slightly addictive.

I love sport and I love Touch in particular. It wasn’t until after I represented England in the Mixed Open team at the 2014 European Championships and 2015 World Cup though that I started to get involved with refereeing. Because I’m pretty rubbish at playing Touch now to be honest anyway.

England’s referee manager, Ian Syder, first encouraged me into reffing through the allure of attaining my Level 1 qualification and the promise of a solid gold badge on completion and a great time. Although the badge was made of brass, he didn’t lie about the other great things refereeing brought. He also informed me that reffing was the only hobby where an ability to count to six is treated with the highest regard and he has proved himself to be correct numerous times (at least six anyway). Through his support, I continued on from my Level 1 and refereed socially as well as continued to play. One reason I love refereeing is that you always feel like a winner. I haven’t lost a game yet.

It came as a bit of a shock to be chosen to referee at the 2016 European Championship. Three things went through my mind when they asked me to referee – 1) But I’m only a Level 1, 2) I don’t want to let anyone down, and 3) They must be really short of refs. In preparation, I did my Level 2 Course with Ian, Nicolas and Stephen and found the group were incredibly supportive, encouraging and brilliant to chat to. We talked through on field scenarios and off field drinking policies and I had an absolute blast (of not just the whistle).

Coming into the tournament I was incredibly excited, mainly because for a long time I have considered the skort to be one of the most underrated items of clothing and reffing allows me to wear it with a measure of dignity. We were each grouped into a refereeing team which would support you throughout the tournament and give you advice as the tournament progressed, with referees at different levels within the team. Our Leader was Randy and our Mentor was Mike Wallace – both hugely experienced refs who kept our group positive and were always there for a chat and great advice (and a beer).

I was fortunate during the tournament to ref a wide range of matches – from Women’s Open to Men’s 45’s. One highlight came with the opportunity to referee a Senior Mixed game – a great contest between France and Jersey. Derek Fisher allocated myself and another Level 1 referee to the game, Laura Balfour, and it was an amazing experience to referee a fast paced game at that level. Derek gave us support and huge confidence going into the game, and with Ian and Randy water carrying, I was coached throughout and couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Someone told me I bear more than a passing resemblance to Derek Fisher, so the opportunity to ref like him as well as look like him came as a huge honour. I couldn’t say thank you to Derek and the refereeing team enough for my Euros experience, especially Ian for getting me involved initially. On finals day I was given my Level 2 upgrade after being assessed by Shelley through the tournament – and to have a top female referee like Shelley at the tournament was incredibly inspirational.

I thought I’d reached my Euros high, but that was yet to come. After concentrating on the task of water carrying throughout the tournament (assisting the on-field refs with precision work carrying water bottles to ensure optimal hydration), I was asked to water carry for the Men’s Open final. To put it into context, it’s the equivalment of being a black badged Level 5 water carrier, and I’m proud that reffing has acted as a pathway to become Europe’s #1 Water Carrier for one consecutive year.

There is a bit of humour in the above write up, but on a serious note, if you are considering refereeing I couldn’t recommend it more. As a woman involved in sport, it allows me to remain at the highest level of touch (especially as my ability to catch drops faster than a skied long ball) and has involved me in a group of people who are driven, passionate and supportive of the sport we all love to play.

Give refereeing a go!

I highly recommend it. Even more than alcohol. Checkout the latest referee courses here: http://www.englandtouch.org.uk/refereeing-courses/ (updated regularly)

Oxfest – Women’s Touch

Ahead of ‘Women In Sport Week’ Oxford Touch hosted their 2nd Ladies Touch Tournament ‘Oxfest’.

Bad weather threatened the day but that didn’t dampen spirits as teams from across the country arrived at Oxford’s Gosford All Blacks RFC home. Players ranging from those with international experience to those playing their first competitive games of touch made set for a great day and celebration of women’s touch.

The pool games were fast and furious with some great handling skills on show. Hosts Oxford were impressive in Pool A beating local rivals Thames Valley and not conceding a single score in the pool stages. Meanwhile in Pool B, CSSC topped the group whilst Durka showed their attacking prowess topping the scoring charts.

The sun began to shine again for the knockouts and finals with 4 trophies on offer.

Both London Business School and Norwich Rebels made great improvements throughout the day. They met in the Spoon Final and it was Norwich Rebels who ended up the victors by a score of 4-0.

Meanwhile the Bowl Final saw Nightingales take on the Cowgirls with Nightingales the 6-3 victors.

The Plate Final was contested between Durka and Thames Valley, Durka again showing their attacking flair to win 9-2.

Finally, the Cup Final saw hosts Oxford take on CSSC Valkyries. The ladies of CSSC quickly raced into a 2-0 lead by halftime, the hosts then rallying to pull back level before a great score from CSSC in the final minutes that sealed them a well deserved 3-2 victory.

Many thanks to all the teams who attended, especially those travelling from afar. It was a great day to promote and celebrate the ladies game and we hope to see you all again next year! And finally a massive thanks to #TeamRef, without whom the games simply wouldn’t happen!