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2019 Belief Elite National Touch Series R1 preview

Twenty-one teams are heading to Banbury for the opening of the 2019 Elite club season.

Belief Sports have once again sponsored the Elite National Touch Series, which brings together the best mixed teams in the country across three events, the first coming on the Northamptonshire/Oxfordshire border.

There are two new teams making their debuts at this level, including Exeter Raptors – whose squad is dominated by players from 2017/18 Uni NTS champions, University of Exeter – and newly-formed midlands-based club Revolution.

The weekend’s competition is wide open and it is anyone’s guess who will take home the silverware, with established clubs London Scorpions, Manchester Chargers and Canterbury missing out on Round 1.

BBR will be looking to repeat their success of 12 months ago, but there will be plenty of competition from the likes of last year’s runners-up, Cambridge Hornets, Galaxy London, Hot Custard and CSSC London. Meanwhile Wigan Touch Warriors have recruited England Men’s Open internationals Ben Meakin and Toby Phillips, and have brought England Mixed 30s player Nollaig Quinn in on loan from Manchester this round.

The teams have been tiered into three sections – Elite, Premiership and Championship – as follows.

Elite Pool A BBR, Wigan Touch Warriors, Thames Valley Vikings

Elite Pool B Galaxy London, CSSC London 1, Nottingham Hoods

Elite Pool C Hot Custard, Exeter Raptors, Crewe and Nantwich

Elite Pool D Cambridge Hornets, Oxford, Chester Cheetahs

Premiership Pool CSSC London 2, Cambridge Bees, G:Force Guildfordians, Galaxy Knights

Championship Cup Nottingham Mavericks, CSSC London 3, Green and Gold, Revolution, Bournemouth Lions, Barbarians

All matches will be 40 minutes, with a five-minute half-time.

The format will be as follows:

Day 1

Elite Pool A plays Elite Pool C, Elite Pool B played Elite Pool D. This means that teams within pools will be ranked based on their records against the same opponents (the same format used last year) while also having three matches during the day.

Premiership Pool teams will play each other in a round-robin.

Championship Cup teams will play each other in a round-robin.

Day 2

The first and second placed teams in the Elite pools progress to the Elite Cup quarter finals. The winners of these matches stay in the Elite Cup, the losers enter the Elite Plate.

The third-placed Elite Pool teams then play the Premiership Pool teams in the Premiership Cup quarter finals. The winners of those matches stay in the Premiership Cup, the losers enter the Elite Plate.

The Championship Cup round-robin concludes, with the final placings determined by a placement match.

All teams will be guaranteed three matches on both days.

CLICK HERE for the full fixture lists and to stay up-to-date for both days.

Live streaming

All of the Field 1 action will be live streamed on the England Touch YouTube channel – youtube.com/EnglandTouch

This year each day’s streaming will be broken up into three sessions of three matches, which will make watching the games back more straightforward.

We are England Touch

We are the players. We are the supporters, willing us on. We are the medals, waiting to be won. We are the touchdowns, waiting to be scored. We are the men and women of all ages. We are the talent of today. We are the potential for tomorrow. We are one team. We are England Touch