Scholars come home with silver

England Scholars did the country proud this weekend, with silver medals in both the men’s and women’s categories at the 2017 EFT Championship Permit.

The men’s game was end to end stuff, with some great scores from both teams to entertain the crowds, but the boys narrowly missed out on cup final victory, with an 8-7 loss against the experienced and highly capped Nederland Lions side.

The Scholars Women’s game went down to the wire, against the Frenchies, where they were locked at 3-3 at full time, the game going to drop-off to find the eventual winner. The Frenchies W27s took the victory in the final stages.

The invitation to the EFTCP came late to England when other European nations had dropped out. The ETA jumped at the chance of putting together a University team and by mid-April the Scholars teams had been put together.

CLICK HERE to see some pics of the weekend’s action.

If you want to get more involved in competitive touch, then we have lots of opportunities!

See the next steps to representative touch here: http://www.englandtouch.org.uk/details-announced-junior-masters-nationals/

With minimal training and preparation time, plus numerous university players attending the EFTPP just weeks before and thus ruling them out to play in the Championship competition, both Scholars teams have done England Touch proud, on and off the field in their very first outing.

The University Touch Series (UTS) will kick off again in October, if you’re university isn’t yet involved, contact Harry Grocott on university@englandtouch.org.uk to find out how easy it is.

Details announced for Junior and Masters Nationals

The rapid expansion of the Ryvita Touch Nationals over the past two years has encouraged the England Touch Association to launch specific national competitions for Juniors and Masters later this year.

Both of these tournaments will be played at Droitwich RFC in the West Midlands on Saturday, October 7th. Each will have four categories – Mixed 15s, Mixed 18s, Boy’s 18s and Girl’s 18s for the Juniors, Men’s 35s, Men’s 40s, Men’s 45s and Women’s 35s for the Masters – with the tournament being completed in the one day.

Over the past couple of years the number of players playing in these categories has risen dramatically, with healthy representation at club, regional and international level.

This is reflected in the announcement about these new significant dates in the England Touch calendar.

How to take part

Are you a man who’s interested in playing in this tournament? CLICK HERE to express your interest!

Are you woman aged 35 or over who’s interested in playing in this tournament? CLICK HERE to express your interest!

Are you a junior player (or parent) who’s interested in playing in this tournament? CLICK HERE to express your interest! We are looking to have players play both Mixed and Boy’s/Girl’s at the 2017 Nationals. For girls this provides them with the ability to play as middles and strike players and for boys develops the ability to play off both sides of the field and develops specialist wingers. This will involve combining Boy’s/Girl’s teams players from different franchises in order to play Mixed as well. Please note that the additional grade will be offered at no additional cost to players

Alternatively contact your regional lead; a list of these can be seen by CLICKING HERE

CLICK HERE to see all of the information about the Ryvita Touch Nationals

Former pro stars shine in Cheltenham Touch Leagues

They say you never lose the skill, and this was certainly true in Cheltenham as a team including former professional stars took home the inaugural England Touch Leagues: Cheltenham Cup title.

Nick Wood, Nicky Robinson and Olly Morgan – who all have plenty of Premiership and international appearances under their belt – were part of the A Touch Passed It team that won the main prize, but despite this experience they were pushed all the way in the final by CO2T, and only a couple of late touchdowns brought a touch of gloss to the eventual score.

It was an appropriate way to end the tournament, as A Touch Passed It had ended the league stage with a perfect record of nine wins from their nine games.

Over 70 players took part in one of the six competing squads, and shows how much the England Touch Leagues can help develop a competitive environment among local teams.

You can see what happened in Cheltenham on the league’s Facebook page – just CLICK HERE!

England Touch Leagues are a great opportunity for individuals or clubs to run their own league in partnership with the England Touch Association. 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.

CLICK HERE for more information!

England W27s player honoured by alma mater

England W27s player Louise Rickard has received the accolade of being made a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Louise was both an undergraduate student at the university and completed her PhD there, too, and during her time at Aberystwyth she took up rugby union, playing for Wales a record 112 times and appearing in four Rugby World Cups.

Short-listed for the Wales Sports Personality of the Year in 2009, she captained Wales to their first ever win over England and the Wales Sevens team that won the European Championships in 2006.

However in more recent years Louise has switched her oval ball allegiances to England, and is now a member of the England W27s team, for whom she played at the recent Senior Touch Championships.

Everyone at England Touch sends their congratulations to Louise for this special award.

Scholars set for international action

More teams will be representing England this weekend, this time in the European Federation of Touch Championship Permit tournament.

Men’s and Women’s England Scholars squads have headed to Fonteney-Le-Comte near La Rochelle for a long weekend of action against teams from across Europe, including France, Spain, Germany, Guernsey, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

As with the recent EFT Premiership Permit, the Championship Permit tournament is about increasing the pool of players with experience of international competition, and as such England is the only country to be sending squads solely made up of students, who all earned their selection through their performances in the 2016/17 University Touch Series.

The tournament is made up of a round-robin phase on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, where each team plays each other once, with knockout games on Sunday to decide the overall finishing places.

Head to Championship Draw Final Version to see the full draw and timings!

A big twelve months for Touch coming up

The clock has ticked into the final 365 days before the European Touch Championships come to England.

The continent’s premier international tournament will be taking over the pitches at the University of Nottingham between July 18th and 21st, 2018 as the best Touch players from across Europe battle it out for the right to lift the silverware.

In 2016 there were 14 countries taking part, and with each country able to enter teams across several categories – Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Mixed Open, Women’s 27s, Men’s 30s and Senior Mixed, along with the masters’ Men’s 35s, Men’s 40s and Men’s 45s. With additional categories and interest from more countries there could be up to 3,000 athletes competing in the East Midlands.

A lot of planning has begun on the event, with meetings undertaken with the venue, team accommodation, and the European Federation of Touch (EFT) to agree roles and responsibilities on all deliverables.

Expressions of interest will be opening in the coming months and send directly to heads of national associations, with regular updates posted on the England Touch website and a dedicated Facebook page.

Touch in England has undergone exponential growth over the past few years as more and more men, women and youngsters alike find out about the benefits that arise from being a part of this fantastic sport.

Both genders compete as equals, and the minimal contact nature of this code of rugby means that all ages play alongside each other, too. The England Touch Association (ETA) is seeing more and more players and clubs alike become members with each passing year, and the impact of the RFU’s O2 Touch is reaping benefits, too, as clubs from that programme seek to develop themselves within the ETA’s competition structure.

On the representative stage more regions than ever will be competing in August’s Ryvita Touch Nationals, and England was the only country to send three full Men’s and Women’s Open squads to the EFT Premiership Permit tournament in Edinburgh.

This came hot on the heels of England having more teams than any other competing nation in the recent Senior Touch Championships, and the ETA is also sending its Scholars team – chosen from players who take part in the annual University Touch Series – to this weekend’s EFT Championship Permit tournament in France.

Then later in the summer four squads – Mixed 15s, Mixed 18s, Boy’s 18s and Girl’s 18s – will be heading to Dublin to take on their European counterparts in the 2017 Junior Touch Championships.

But the ETA is not resting on its laurels, and chief executive Gregg Cropper says that there are plans afoot to capitalise on the 2018 European Touch Championships and take the sport to a new level.

“The growth of Touch has been amazing over the past few years,” he says. “More and more people want to play a type of rugby and find that Touch is perfect for them. We are all about skill, the rules are simple, and because there is minimal contact you don’t have the type of collisions that might put people off other codes.

“The fitness benefits are obvious, but the social side is very important, too, with great camaraderie across the sport.

“The international game is obviously our showcase, and we are sending more teams to more competitions than any other country in Europe. We’re positive that by expanding the pool of players and giving them exposure to higher levels of competition we will be even better in 2018 than we were at the 2016 Euros, when England won the overall gold medal.

“This in turn reflects the overall expansion of the sport, and the number of clubs and teams being formed, as well as the successful pilot programmes being run in schools, has come about from the commitment and dedication of a massive number of volunteers who put in their time and effort throughout the year.

“We’ve come a long way in a short time, and believe that there is plenty more to come in the next 12 months, too.”

Click on All About Touch July 2018 to download a pamphlet to give to your work colleagues, friends and family to spread the word about Touch!

Hit n Run take second STEEDEN DTS title of the season

Hit n Run continued in Northampton where they left off in Manchester by taking home the Cup title in the third round of the 2017 STEEDEN DTS.

Hit n Run’s squad has a heavy Pacific Island influence and they showed plenty of tricks and skill en route to a perfect afternoon of results.

Regular showers swept across Northampton – no surprise, given that there seems to be rain every time the British Grand Prix is held just down the road in Silverstone! – but it did not dampen the day as all the teams involved played some great Touch that took the conditions into account.

Hit n Run won all three of their pool games, as did both CSSC teams – showing the strength in depth at the London outfit – and Nottingham Sheriffs.

CSSC Spirits made it all the way to the Cup final, where they pushed Hit n Run all the way, while CSSC Spectres took home the Plate after beating Canterbury and then Norwich Rebels.

There were a few STEEDEN DTS first-timers in the East Midlands, too, with one of them – Hertfordshire-based St Albans Touch – winning the Bowl to finish ninth overall. St Albans’ opponents in the quarter final, Nottingham Legends, then went on to complete the silverware winners by lifting the Shield.

Congratulations, too, to Lee Massie and Tony Dolphin, who were both successfully assessed for their Level 1 referee award.

CLICK HERE to see pictures from the day.

 

Double success for Crusaders in Edinburgh

There was twice the celebration for England Crusaders at the inaugural EFT Premiership Permit competition.

Both the Men’s and Women’s Open teams took home the Cup finals after four days of intense action, but there were different ways to the titles for the respective sides.

The Women had an outstanding weekend, and aside from a draw with Scotland Kelpies at the end of day one had a perfect run of results, winning their other five pool matches to top the table going into the knockout stages.

Another win over the Kelpies in the Qualification match put the Crusaders into the Cup final, where they overcame England Knights to win the trophy.

However the Knights had a good shout to be the team of the knockout stages. After finishing fourth in the table they faced a pair of sudden death games just to get to the Cup final. But while they got the wins when they needed them, seeing off the Frenchies and then the Kelpies, the extra minutes on the field took their toll in the final.

There was more success in the Plate, in which England Royals won both their round-robin games against the Irish Falcons and Scotland Stags to take home their own silverware.

The roles were reversed somewhat between the Knights and Crusaders in the Men’s Open, where the former finished top of the table with six wins and one loss from their seven games, while the latter side ended up in third place on touchdown difference.

Scotland Stags may have pipped the Crusaders in the table, but the English team had the better of the two in the semi-final to earn their place in the final.

Meanwhile the Knights were overcome by Celtic Devils in their own semi-final, and the Anglo-Welsh final turned out to be a cracker. With the scores all square at full-time the action entered into a drop-off, and the Crusaders got the crucial score to win 5-4.

England Royals emulated their female counterparts to lift the Plate, completing the clean sweep.

CLICK HERE to see all the results from the weekend

CLICK HERE to check out pictures on the EFT Premiership Permit Facebook page

It’s time for some European competition!

The inaugural European Federation of Touch Premiership Permit is nearly upon us!

Teams from across Europe are heading to Scotland’s capital city for four days of stiff competition to decide who will have bragging rights in 2017.

The Men’s Open competition features three teams from England (Knights, Royals, Crusaders), two from Scotland (Kelpies, Stags) and one from each of Ireland (Falcons), Wales (Celtic Devils) and France (Frenchies).

The Women’s Open includes all of the same teams, with the exception of the Celtic Devils.

Each team plays every other team in a round-robin format, with the knockout stages decided on finishing places in the league.

The Premiership Permit taps off at Peffermill in Edinburgh on Thursday, with the finals on Sunday afternoon.

Click here – European Federation of Touch Premiership Permit Draft Draw 2017 – to see the full fixture list, and CLICK HERE to see the teams that are representing England.

Good luck to all our players and referees this weekend!

Getting Touch in schools crucial to growing the sport, says Australian legend

Touch Football Australia hall of famer Peter Bell says that getting Touch played in schools is important in growing the sport in the future.

Since 2010 Touch in Australia has seen an explosion in participation numbers, with nearly 700,000 people playing the sport in 2016. This growth has been underpinned both by Touch Football Australia’s partnership with the National Rugby League, support from State governments and the Australian Sports Commission, and an increased schools programme, especially in the sport’s heartlands of New South Wales and Queensland.

North of the equator, the England Touch Association is steadily building its own schools programme, with pilot projects in Canterbury and a recent All-Schools event in Reading, Berkshire. Meanwhile more and more young players are taking up Touch competitively at club level, and hundreds of youngsters attended trials for the upcoming Junior Touch Championships.

And Bell, who has been responsible for the promotion and coaching of Touch throughout Queensland schools, says that England will start to reap the benefits in the future as Touch in schools in this country grows.

“The secret to growth is getting into the schools system and playing the sport at a younger age,” he says. “That’s what we found when we went ahead quickly with that in Australia. In order for Touch to grow in England and Europe something similar needs to happen, doing whatever it takes to get teachers involved in schools and playing it in their physical education lessons.

“Touch is a popular sport because of what it offers. We’ve got 500,000 young players in Australia, and from my experience working in schools the kids love it because it’s social and we’ve always made sure that the sport’s never split, so the boys and girls play it together.

“It’s a relatively cheap game to play and relatively injury-free. It’s a fast, fitness sport, and it ticks a lot of boxes for kids.

“As your game develops and more young boys and girls are playing it and are growing up with Touch, that’s where you’ll see the improvement in skill levels.”

The England Touch Association is always more that happy to hear from schools who want to try the sport at all age groups. Email schools@englandtouch.org.uk to find out more about our programmes.