2023 Junior Touch Nationals set to be the biggest yet
The England Touch Nationals return to Nottingham this weekend, but this time it’s the juniors turn with boys and girls teams at under 14s and under 17s age groups, as well as youth test matches between the Midlands and North West at Mixed 19s level.
With 23 regional junior teams participating across the 14s and 17s age categories, it’s set to be the largest event of its kind in the northern hemisphere. A record seven teams will take to the field in the Boys 17s, with six teams each in the Boys and Girls 14s age groups. Teams from the West, Midlands, Southeast and Northwest will battle it out in the girls 17s category.
Both 17s events are expected to be tight with the Midlands boys hoping to repeat their win from last year when it went down to the wire in a closely fought final against the Northwest at the Riverside Sports Complex, home for the event again this year.
The Midlands are sending the biggest contingent of players with seven teams across the four divisions, whilst the Northwest, West and Southeast all have five. The Southwest are sending their biggest number of teams with three, including their first Girls’ team at 14s level.
The Nationals will feature many of those who recently took part in the inaugural Atlantic Youth Touch Cup back in July, as well as providing the opportunity for those coming into the sport of touch the chance to shine in front of the England national junior selectors.
Claire Rylance, head coach for England Mixed 15s said:
“The Junior Nationals has grown in both size and quality in recent years and I’m really looking forward to seeing our next generation of stars taking to the field in Nottingham this weekend.
"There is no better evidence of growth than in the Girls 14s category - in 2021 there were two teams, but in 2023 we have six, which reflects the potential for Touch to be a sport of choice for teenage girls as much as boys.
"Not only is this weekend a great chance for them to shine in front of the selectors for next year’s England juniors programme, but it has also become a prestigious tournament in its own right with the regions keen to show that they are the strongest when it comes to developing junior talent.”
Last years winners were:
Girls 14s – West Wildcats
Boys 14s – West Wildcats
Girls 17s – South East Taipans
Boys 17s – Midlands Tigers
Girls 19s – North West Touch
For anyone coming to watch, action gets underway from 10am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday at the Riverside Sports Complex, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, NG7 2SA. For anyone who can’t make it down, field 1 will be live streamed across the entire weekend via the England Touch YouTube channel.