2018 Junior Touch Championships round-up
England had a positive 2018 Junior Touch Championships in Stirling, Scotland, with every team coming home with a medal and two of the four improving on their finishing positions of a year ago.
For the second year running the Girls’ 18s headed home as European champions, but they were made to fight for it all the way in a thrilling final against Wales.
The win capped a superb week for the team, who went through all 10 of their round-robin matches unbeaten with eight wins and just the two draws against the Middle East and Wales.
As table-toppers England went straight into the Gold medal match. They were joined in the showpiece match by Wales, who pipped the Middle East by virtue of points differential.
But in the final it was the Welsh who made all the running, taking a 2-0 lead. So it was to England’s credit that they turned things around, with Izzy Thesiger scoring the first touchdown, then Lydia Ticehurst levelling things up with 10 minutes to play and Meghan Richards going over on the hooter to grab the win.
Team: 1 Amelia Paton (Crewe and Nantwich), 2 Anya Lewis, 3 Catherine Walker (London Galaxy), 4 Ellie Costello, 5 Emma Oliver (Nottingham), 6 Erin Payten (Canterbury), 7 Evie Pickup (London Galaxy), 8 Freya Aucken (O2 London Scottish Red Lions), 9 Hannah McLaughlin, 10 Isobel Hobson (Nottingham), 11 Izzy Thesiger (London Galaxy), 12 Lucy Norburn (Cambridge), 13 Megan Green (Cambridge), 14 Megan Begum Richards, 15 Orla McCallion (Percy Park Pirates), 16 Lydia Ticehurst (Canterbury)
The Boys’ 18s improved on their 2017 finish by reaching the Gold medal match. As with the Girls’ 18s this was an Anglo-Welsh affair, after the two teams had topped the table at the end of the round-robin stages.
Prior to the final, England’s only loss had been to Wales in their final game of the round-robin, which the Welsh pipped by a solitary touchdown. And it was equally tight in the Gold medal match as the teams matched each other blow-for-blow.
Wales scored early, with Harry Hardman and Will Lupton then putting England in front. Wales then tied things up before half-time, something they would do repeatedly in the second half as first James Anderson and then Matt Bate edged England in front.
Wales then went in front 5-4, but with Sam Missin and Cameron Birkett both scoring and full-time approaching it looked like England were going to take home the title. But Wales scored after the hooter, then again after the tap off, and with England not able to reply it was the Welsh who had the gold medals around their necks.
Team: 1 James Anderson (Manchester Chargers), 2 Angus Lister (Canterbury), 3 Cameron Birkett (Wigan Touch Warriors), 4 Charlie Delaney (Nomads), 5 Christian Scott (Thames Valley Vikings), 6 Evan Michaels (O2 Upminster), 7 Harry Hardman (O2 London Scottish Red Lions), 8 Jez Traynor, 9 Keir Clark, 10 Logan MacDonald, 11 Matthew Bate (Chester Cheetahs), 12 Matthew Maynard (Cambridge), 13 Max Loveridge (Nottingham), 14 Oliver Maynard (Cambridge), 15 Samuel Missin (Cambridge), 16 Will Lupton (Lincoln)
The Mixed 18s also improved on their 2017 finish by reaching the Gold medal match. Unfortunately their only defeat of the weekend came in that contest against Scotland and the English came home with the Silver medal.
The Mixed 18s category had eight teams from across Europe and England had the measure of all-bar-two of their opponents in the round-robin stages, drawing against Scotland in the opening match and then Wales at the end of day one.
Aside from that all the other matches were wins, which put England into the semi-finals as the number one seed. A win over France came in the semi-finals, but while England led 5-3 at half-time in the final – George Worboys (2), Josh Henderson, Aaron Povall and Ollie Holmes with the touchdowns – they could not press home their advantage after the break.
Instead Scotland took the initiative, scoring five unanswered touchdowns in the second half to run out 8-5 winners.
Team: 1 Adam Bimson (Wigan Touch Warriors), 2 May Burke, 3 Tamzin Corcoran (Orrell St James), 4 Benjamin Dobson (Peterborough), 5 Josh Henderson (Thames Valley Vikings), 6 Oliver Holmes (Crewe and Nantwich), 7 Sophie Lloyd (Nottingham), 8 Bradley Murphy (Cambridge), 9 Ben Nurse (Crewe and Nantwich), 10 Edward Pizzey (Nottingham), 11 Aaron Povall (Wigan Touch Warriors), 12 Niall Povall (Wigan Touch Warriors), 13 Ellen Scantlebury, 14 Emily Simon (Nottingham), 14 Lucie Skuse, 16 George Worboys (Bristol Fijians)
As with the Mixed 18s, the Mixed 15s had seven different opponents in the round-robin stages, winning five of the matches and losing to Wales and France, who themselves went into the semi-finals as the first and second seeds respectively.
The semi-finals went to form, Wales beating Scotland and France beating England, which put England into an Anglo-Scottish match-up for the Bronze medal.
After early England pressure Scotland opened the scoring, but with Tom Penniceard’s effort the scores were tied going into half-time.
The second half was equally tight. Logan Noble scored first for England, only for Scotland to reply and then go in front. Penniceard replicated his feat from the first half to draw England level, before Alana Gauntlett took the English back in front with six minutes to play.
That was that for the scoring, and with the 4-3 win the Mixed 15s ensured that every team came home from Scotland with a medal.
Team: 1 Alana Gauntlett (Crewe and Nantwich), 2 Anna Reeves (Percy Park Pirates), 3 Flori Nasir (Canterbury), 4 Olivia Walker (Wandsworth), 5 Phoebe Simon (Nottingham), 6 Thea Dawson, 7 Connor Hughes (Canterbury), 8 Elliot Nye (Canterbury), 9 Harry Missin (Canterbury), 10 Isobel Penniceard (Wandsworth), 11 Logan Noble (Peterborough), 12 Matthew Mayall (Canterbury), 13 Max Penniceard (Wandsworth), 14 Tom Penniceard (Wandsworth), 15 Tom Lawton-Davies (Thames Valley Vikings), 16 Tom Pollard (Nottingham)