North Norfolk Schools Touch Cup

On a brisk Tuesday evening Fakenham Academy and Alderman Peel High School competed for the first ever North Norfolk Schools Touch Cup under floodlights at Fakenham Rugby Club.


Fakenham Academy and Alderman Peel High School competed for the first ever North Norfolk Schools Touch Cup

Pupils from both schools have been developing their Touch skills through extra-curricular sessions put on by local Touch club the Norfolk Nomads as part of an Active Norfolk satellite club project.

In a tight game with the highly skilled Fakenham Academy students setting the early pace, the Alderman Peel pupils dug deep and adapted well to finally emerge 4-2 winners.


Alderman Peel claim victory with a 4-2 win

England Touch Development Officer and player Soul Phoenix who refereed the fixture had this to say:

“I am absolutely delighted that these schools have embraced Touch. It is certainly an exhilarating and uniquely inclusive sport. And the fact that some of the primary schools from clusters that lead into these schools have also included Touch as a part of their activities means that there is now a clear pathway for children all the way through to club level and beyond.”

“It was also extremely heartening to see more than a handful of young people playing today who have already made the transition through to our Nomads training sessions that take place on a Thursday night at Holt RFC.”

The competitive fixture was followed by a friendly four team round-robin style festival in which a large extra contingent of Fakenham pupils had also attended, keen to make up the numbers.


Other pupils had the chance to compete in a round robin style tournament

With the bi-annual competition due to return in the summer, both schools will now be focusing on further developing their Touch competencies in preparation for what looks certain to be an eagerly anticipated ongoing fixture.

Touch is for all – whatever your gender, whatever your age. If you’re keen to find out more about how you can get into Touch in Norfolk then please email:


Men’s 45s take over Allianz Park


The first Men’s 45s National tournament was held on Saturday 19th November at Allianz stadium, the home of European champions, Saracens.

With the weather being kind to us, and seven regions competing (plus one invitational team), the day was a great success. London emerged as the winners, but our first specific Masters event was as much about developing and enjoying the game of Touch as is was about winning.

Men’s 45s National tournament


Men’s 45s National tournament



This summer was the first time that an over 45s division was held at the European Championships and the England team had a great time – winning gold, and revelling in the pleasure of turning from a bunch of individuals into a unit.

img_9043.jpg img_9054.jpg

We sensed that there are a lot of over 45s out there playing some form of social Touch and we wanted to give them the opportunity to learn how to get more enjoyment out of touch by playing as a team. Many of the 45s team took the initiative to form and coach their regional sides.

After the event, we received the following message from Chris Child, new to Touch, which summarises what we were trying to achieve.

“Thanks all for organising a really good day yesterday. It was the first time me and the Shrewsbury gang played the ‘real’ Touch game and I think I can safely say we’ll be back for more.”

Chris has since applied to run his own England Touch League in Shrewsbury.

We have plans to develop the game for those over 45 and hope to repeat the event, plus add more. Touch is the perfect game for those rotating out of the contact game, or those who gave it up a few years ago!

Thanks to Saracens Sports Foundation for their support, Allianz Park for the use of the facilities and for Ant and the team for helping out.

Thanks to our referees for the day, who did a Stirling job.

And finally, thanks go to Jo Whitehead and all  the regional coaches. See you at training, December 4th!

Those wanting to know more should contact Jo Whitehead at


UTS 2 | This is Hawkward

Three weeks on from the Series opener in Surrey found us on yet anther misty morning in Exeter, which would play host to 20 teams across 6 pitches.
The group stages were spread through the morning and saw a high standard of Touch with teams from Loughborough, Southampton, Bristol, Bath, Surrey, Oxford, Exeter City and of course Exeter University facing off.

After the group stages teams progressed into the knockout stages as follows:

► Cup quarters:
Bath v Exeter Rhinos (8-0)
Exeter Titans vs Southampton Stags (9-3)
Bristol Honeys vs Exeter Pumas (9-1)
Loughborough Legends vs Exeter Dragons (3-2)

► Plate Semis:
Surrey vs Exeter City (1-6)
Exeter Badgers vs Exeter Bulls (5-2)

Surrey take on hosts Exeter

University of Bristol | Team talk




► Shield Semis:
Exeter Panthers vs Exeter Jaguars (9-0)
Oxford vs Loughborough Lions (2-1)

► Bowl Semis:
Exeter Bears vs Exerer Cheetahs (3-2)
Exeter Wolves vs Exeter Tigers (3-1)

The Wooden Spoon went to Exeter Serpents.


Hannah Benyon collects her Level 1 Referee badge from Stephen Dubreuil, England Touch referee manager.






The semis finals of the Cup saw a very high standard game between Bath and Bristol Honeys, with Bath edging it 5-4 to go through to the final. Bath would be joined by Exeter Titans who went through after yet another semi final meeting with Loughborough, 3-2.

The Plate Final was won by Exeter City, 4-3, against Bristol Badgers, it was great to see invitational teams performing well and challenging the University sides.

The Shield final was won by Exeter Panthers, 5-4, against a very plucky Oxford team who performed well considering they had very few available players.

The Bowl final was won by Exeter Bears against Exeter Wolves, which demonstrated the strength in depth of the University of Exeter Touch club, who managed to field 12 full teams of squads between 12-14 players.

The day culminated in the Cup Final, which saw Bath playing against the host’s Exeter Titans.

A two minutes silence was held before the start of the game to mark Armistice Day.

The final was a very high energy game with both sides playing end-to-end. Exeter Titans scored first, before Bath pulled one back before half time to take both teams in equal. Bath came strong in the second half and looked dangerous on the attack, and ended breaking Exeter down two more times to come through as 3-1 winners.

Exeter Titans | Valiant runners up

Congratulations to Bath Hawks on winning the Cup at UTS Round 2!

Further commendation should go to Surrey’s number 10 who won Male MVP (The hosts drank your champagne for you as you had already left, they say “cheers pal”), and Emily Hayman from Bristol who won Female MVP.

We now look forward to Loughborough on 11th February for Round 3.

Bournemouth and Poole launch new Touch Centre

If you live in and around the Bournemouth and Poole area and are looking for a new and exciting sport please read on.

Touch is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.K. England Touch now have 66 Clubs affiliated to the association and Bournemouth and Poole Touch Centre is the latest to join up and is looking for new players to join them. They are based at BH LIVE Littledown Centre where pitches are flood lit, ample changing facilities are available and you can socialise pre/post game in the Bistro/bar area.

They are inclusive for all age groups and gender groups.

Although they emphasise Social Touch Development, players have the opportunity to grow through involvement in the England Touch competition frameworks. These include Development Touch Series, and the Challenge Touch Series where you can play at different venues around the Country.

They can boast over 10 England Squad players who belong to Bournemouth and Poole Touch Club who have moved through the player pathways from Regional to National selection.

The club has lots of events on their Touch calendar that players can get involved in and they host an annual Beach Touch event which is popular with teams all over the country.

10 teams enjoy the Olympic themed Touch tournement in summer of 2016

The club has been recognised as the England Rugby Legacy Award winning operator team.

Bournemouth and Poole Touch are supported by O2 Touch and the ETA and are fully insured.

They have DBS qualified coaches and referees, strong ties to and the support of the Mayor & local ward councillors also who have attended and supported them at recent events they have hosted.

The Mayor & Mayoress of Bournemouth at our recent Olympic touch themed event

They would like to encourage BH Live members to go along and try touch. They are now fully up and running so please get in touch.
O2 Priority members can try Touch for free in November & December and they have a youth taster on the 26th November and a Christmas themed event on 10th December.

Ways to get in Touch:

Tel: Jason Cunningham 07566 244412, or Allan Reed 07795 417873

Facebook group –

Midlands Ladies Touch League

The final tournament of the Midlands Ladies Touch League 2016, the only league of its kind in the UK, was another great success. 14 teams took part in the overall season with the final event hosted at Droitwich RFC.

Pershore ran out final and deserving season winners for the second consecutive year, but it was a knife-edge contest since three teams on equal points going into the tournament.

Emmie Bewley evades the Touch

It was all to play for in the final against Ross, who scored first. Pershore’s Emmie Bewley equalised just before full time so play went to extra-time and a drop-off. With both teams down to five players each, Bewley scored again to clinch the match 2-1.

Pershore’s Touch section chairman Fizz Bewley quoted:

“This win has come on the back of more than four years’ training and commitment by all of our players and our fabulous coach Alice Keylock.

The vast majority of our team came to Pershore with no rugby experience, so we are all testament to Alice’s skill and the way she makes every training session fun.

During the next few months, it will be our prime time to recruit new players to come and try their hand at Touch and be part of a ladies’ social/development team that we are nurturing alongside the competition squad.

Ladies who join us that way need not have any experience at all and can train and play at their own pace with friendlies to look forward to.

Pershore train on
► Wednesdays at 7.30pm
► Sundays at 10.30am
with females aged 13 and over welcome.
Call Fizz Bewley on or 01905 381080.

Join the facebook group too.


Rugby girls learn Touch with Newbold Falcons.

Newbold Falcons Touch team, with Coach Damian Grey

The town has great potential with three teams in Midlands league, with three of the towns teams also taking part throughout the summer. Newbold Falcons, Old Laurentians and Rugby St Andrews.

The Newbold Falcons ended their second season in top spot for the second year running, after only being formed in 2015. With a growing squad and strong links to Rugby High School for Girls the future looks bright at Parkfield Road.

Several of the Falcons have been running Touch introduction sessions at the school over the past few months. With 200 girls now enjoying and playing Touch at RHS it’s a great achievement.

Damian Gray, Newbold’s Head Touch Coach quotes:

“We have come together with Rugby High to lead the way in girls’ school age Touch. There aren’t enough opportunities for girls aged 11-18 to play rugby. Touch rugby, is easier to arrange, safer and currently offers greater opportunities for potential players to progress and represent their country. It does not mean the girls cannot switch between Touch and contact rugby, it just offers another opportunity to develop skills, learn tactics and have fun playing as a team. RHS is now the first school in the UK and possibly one of the first in the world, outside of Australia to have Touch taught by a qualified coach in lesson time. It’s a huge step for women and girls’ and we are all excited to be part of this growing opportunity.”

2016 saw the Falcons produce their first England International as May Burke travelled to Holland to compete and win a silver medal in the European Championship for the U15 Mixed Squad and with several Falcons playing in Midlands squads and working towards full International status, 2017 looks like it could be an even better year. The Newbold Falcons finished fifth on the day at Droitwich, to secure 5th place in the league, with Old Laurentians finishing 10th and Rugby St Andrews 14th.

Newbold Falcons Captain, Wandzia Ashwell quotes;

“I’m of course overjoyed at how we finished the season and to have three teams within a few miles of each other shows how much potential our town has. We can’t wait for our next training session this week and look forward to the 2017 season beginning in March.”

The Newbold Falcons train:
► Sundays 2-4pm
► Wednesdays 7.15-8.30pm.
Everyone is welcome, any age (12+), any ability to the friendly and relaxed structured training sessions. Contact them on Facebook Falcons TouchRugby or just drop by at Parkfield Road, Newbold.


Community Coaching Course in Norwich


A cold, wet day couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those attending the Community Coaching Course in Norfolk on Saturday 12th November.

The eight women and men included a mixture of experienced coaches from other sports as well as some completely new to coaching. They all passed the course with flying colours by planning and delivering excellent skills coaching sessions.

Touch is growing rapidly in the U.K. These new Development Coaches are committed to supporting this growth by using their skills and time to help new players access and enjoy  the game.

Thanks to Spooner Row Primary School for providing the venue for the course.

More dates for further courses to be announced soon for 2017.



Oxford’s 7th Bonfire Tournament ends the Touch Calendar with a Bang

A cold but clear November 5th saw Oxford Touch joined by 14 teams, 10 refs, Peter the Physio and banana-choc chip muffins at their Gosford All Blacks home in Oxford for the 7th outing of the annual Bonfire Tournament. A popular late season tournament for experienced players keeping their hand in and new players having their first competitive experience, this year saw a continental side (Big Bang Europe) joined by teams from Ireland (Racoon West), Scotland (Superhands) and all over England (Manchester Chargers, Loughborough Uni, Thames Valley Vikings, Birmingham Uni, Cheltenham, CSSC, Green & Gold, Cambridge, Nottingham, Oxford Uni, Oxford All Stars and Oxford Touch).

No rain meant conditions were great, however the chilly weather made people eager to kick off and keep things going. With the super efforts of the indefatigable reffing team, the pool stages quickly moved into the quarter-finals and knockout rounds. Manchester Chargers, Big Bang Europe, Cambridge and Nottingham all topped their pools, but tough quarter finals and semi final knockout matches saw only Big Bang Europe make it through to the finals. The eight teams that emerged from the knock stages were: (Shield Final) TV Vikings and Oxford All Stars; (Bowl Final) Loughborough and CSSC; (Plate Final) Superhands and Green & Gold; (Cup Final) Big Bang Europe and, for the first time in the 7 year history, the home side, Oxford Touch.

With no waning of enthusiasm, despite tiring legs the smell of hog roast in the air, close games in all the finals saw the final rewards go to Oxford All Stars (Shield, 5-4), Loughborough Uni (Bowl, 4-2), Superhands (Plate, 6-3) and Big Bang Europe (Cup, 6-3).

Once again, a fantastic tournament to raise the spirits in the winter months, Oxford Touch would like to thank all our friends old and new for coming along – the refs, the teams and particularly the team organisers who managed to drag players out of bed on a cold winter day. Hope to see you all again next year!

England Touch says thanks and all the best to Benny Powell

It is with some sadness that the England Touch Association bids farewell to Ben ‘Benny’ Powell. Ben formally resigned his Technical Directorship just a little over one month ago, citing a need to focus on his European Federation of Touch presidency as well as his teaching career.


Ben Powell at the Touch Nationals

Ben formally joined the association in 2012. During his tenure he played a critical role in the growth of Touch Nationals and the delivery of formal coaching courses – across Community, Intermediate and Advanced levels – throughout England and mainland Europe.

Ben’s international playing career saw him being a member of the England Men’s Open (2012-2015) and England Mixed Open (2016) teams. At a domestic level, following his move from Manchester Chargers, he has represented Midland Tigers Men’s Open and has been a key member of Cambridge Touch Association Hornets at NTS.

In a coaching capacity, Ben lead the England Mixed 15s in 2016 to a silver medal at the Junior Touch Championship, and he played an assistant coaching role with the bronze-winning England Women’s 27s team at the 2015 Touch World cup.

Next steps

The Technical Director role, since its inception circa 2010, has grown and evolved with an expanded range of responsibilities that Ben has taken on during his tenure since 2012.

We are currently looking to potentially diversify and split the role, given the diverse range of responsibilities and experience required in the current guise. The Role Descriptions are being worked on and will be advertised in due course.

We wish Ben all the best for the future and thank him for his tireless efforts, significant contributions and energy over the last four years.


Nottingham girls in first Inter-Schools Touch Match

The Becket School (in pink) and West Bridgford School (in black), with Nottingham’s Chris Simon, Ben and Sadi Meakin

Pupils aged 12 to 15 from Nottingham’s The Becket School and West Bridgford School took part in the country’s first organised Inter-Schools Touch match this week.

Organised by Perfect Motion and Nottingham Touch Club, 19 girls took to the grass at The Becket School as part of a ‘Sportivate’ funded girls Touch programme running at both schools. Despite Becket’s extra training, Bridgford came out on top 4-0.

Perfect Motion’s Director and Coach at Nottingham Touch Club, Chris Simon has been running a six-week programme at Becket School which culminated in the match on Wednesday. 24 girls have tried Touch at the school, with several of them keen to carry on playing. As a result, Nottingham Touch Club are in the process of setting up a junior section of the club – believed to be the first in the country.

Chris commented:

Wednesday’s match was a great spectacle for the sport of touch and couldn’t have come at a better time with the announcement earlier this week that Nottingham will be hosting the European Touch Championships in 2018. We have had 24 girls – of varying age, ability and sporting activity try touch at Becket and many of them have come to all six weeks and some of them even want to carry on playing. It just shows how the sport of touch is great for those who want to play competitively, but also for those who just want to take part in a fun and social activity.”


Perfect Motion have been running Touch for adults in Nottingham since 2005 and now have autumn, winter and summer leagues with over 500 people taking part annually. Last year the Nottingham-based agency added mixed junior leagues to the established adult set-up and decided that it was time to try the sport of Touch in schools.

The programme is supported by Rushcliffe Borough Council and Sport Nottinghamshire thanks to Sportivate funding from Sport England.

Sport Nottinghamshire’s Ken Pollard added:

“We are delighted that Touch has been so successful in Nottingham already. By adding a junior participation model, we hope to introduce the activity to children and young people so that they can continue to play for many years to come. The programme at Becket is also showing us that we can engage teenage girls in a sporting activity if we make it fun and enjoyable. The results so far are very encouraging and we are keen to see how we can further develop Touch in schools.”


For those that fancy trying the sport themselves, get in contact with Nottingham Touch Club at, or simply head along to training on Wednesdays at Gresham Playing Fields, Wilford Lane, NG2 7YF from 8pm until 9.30pm. There’s now space for adults and juniors alike.

England Squads Finalised for 2017 EFT Premiership Permit

At the #TouchNationals in Cambridge back in August 2016, our Premiership Permit selectors were kept very busy watching some incredible Touch talent on display.  We have now finalised the initial training squads for our six Premiership Permit teams. These squads will be reduced to 24 players in early 2017, with teams being finalised in April 2017.

Our three Women’s and three Men’s teams will proudly represent England Touch at the inaugural European Federation of Touch Premiership Permit tournament 6th-9th July, 2017 in Edinburgh.

Women’s Open Squads

Northern Permit

Sarah Acheson, Jade Aspinall, Kathryn Brown-Williams, Freya Burt, Meghan Clayton, Rosannah Cormack, Ellie Costello, Emily Crowe, Katherine Daniels, Kate Davis-Bavin, Emilie Eve, Anna Goddard, Jade Grantham, Alice Hobson, Kate Hyde, Krystyna Knight, Jenny Lee, Alex Maskell, Orla McCallion, Sadi Meakin, Zoe Parish, Olivia Rae, Frances Raymond, Caitlin Simpson, Tamara Slater, Lucy Snape, Catherine Thompson

Southern Permit

Tracy Andrew, Nicolette Bird, Georgia Clancey, Fae Clerey, Emily Clews, Leah Cuthbertson, Adeline Drut, Carlie Hoffman, Kylie Hutchison, Stacey Lapham, Beck Lang, Lois Lau, Benita Lee, Karen Matthews, Keisha McLean, Lucinda Paul, Danni Payten, Ayla Payten, Caroline Pillman, Bronte Sykes, Claire Traynor, Georgia Twyford, Julia Unsworth, Catherine Walker, Alex Willis, Marnie Wills, Tanya Winson, Jenny Young

Western Permit

Louise Carr, Eden Coates, Elizabeth Dorey, Nina Gulati, Susannah Hudson, Rosie Kells, Sophia Luxton, Charlotte McFarland, Hannah McLaughlin, Emily Moore, Lucy Neal-Hooke, Jen Palmer, Samantha Philips, Katie Philips, Charlotte Philipson, Maddison Rendell, Lucy Richardson, Claire Rylance, Lucie Skuse, Libby Turner, Alissa Walker, Kaitlyn Wells, Charlotte Wood, Emma Young

Men’s Open Squads

Northern Permit

Stiaan Albertyn, Adam Bimson, Adam Brimelow, Ben Creese, Fin Creighton, Nicky Ferns, Sam Grant, Danny Hampson, Clark Hobson, Josh Ingram, Glenn Jones, Sam Jones, Ryan Jones, Will Lawrence, Oliver Maynard, Aidan Mccallion, Jack McHugh, Louis McManus, Ben Meakin, Jordan Melling, Jake Melling, Ryan Miemczyk, Gabe Pennington, Toby Phillips, Benjamin Powell, George Price, Pete Rowe, Alex Scott, Robert Taylor, Salesi Tuiono, Will Tyrrell, Tom Whitehead

Southern Permit

Shaun Bengtson, Doug Benzie, James Botten, Edward Budge, Matt Davis, Thomas Devereux, Ruez Durrani, Dan Eaglestone, Richard Eccles, Oliver Francis, Angus Gough, Tom Hall, Nicholas Hancock, James Heptonstall, Max Howard, Ross Howard, Rory Howard, Mark Knight, Daniel Mayall, Nicholas McGeever, Gareth McRae, Vaughn Meredith, George Miller, Richard Nienaber, Clinton Rowling, Daniel Rowling, Will Serocold, Henry Stratford, Oliver Taylor, Thanh Ha Kistler-Bui, James Thurston, Dominic Tripp, Chris Wall, Simon Whitnall, Daniel Wines, Zulhilmie Zaba

Western Permit

Mark Aldous, Chris Blanford, Nathan Bourke, Dominic Brook, Joel Buchan, Quinn Clark, Sam Cutler, Chris Finn, Sam Graham, Daniel Harrsion, Joe Hartley, James Hodges, James Knoop, Laydon Kretzman, Lucas Lee, Charlie Newton, Mike Roa, Jacob Scadden, Kamil Shabdeen, Ollie Sills, Tom Simpson, Daniel Smith, Byron Tibbitts, Chris Tonkiss, Jon Weston Stanley, Jacob Whitehead, Toby Williams, Martin Wright