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Midlands Ladies League continues to expand after 15 years

The Midlands Ladies Touch celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and continues to attract new teams.

One of the country’s most established and largest all-women Touch leagues, the Midlands Ladies Touch League (MLTL) includes teams from a wide area, including Rugeley in Staffordshire, Nuneaton in north Warwickshire, Daventry in Northamptonshire, through to Pershore in Worcestershire and Ross-on-Wye, in Herefordshire.  More than 200 women, aged 13 to 60+ play in the league.

In 2024, some 18 club teams have entered into the League, split into two, separate ‘Midlands’ sub-regional competitions (North East and South West) and several other new clubs are joining in playing friendlies whilst they develop.  Clubs can host one of ten sub-regional tournaments during the course of 2024, or one of four NE v SW Super Sundays, the final of which, at Five Ways in mid-October, will find the overall League champions.

Fizz Bewley has been the administrator of the MLTL for 11 years and oversees two sub-regional coordinators who attend NE or SW tournaments to ensure the rules of the league are adhered to by host clubs. Tournaments run from March to the end of October, with a break during August.

The Midlands Ladies Touch League has been affiliated to England Touch for some time and the governing body recognises the value in having an established competition in which female players can experience their first tournaments and then develop up to a high level.

Fizz said: “The Midlands Ladies Touch league has been going for 15 years, and was set up by Steve Joslin, then Community Manager at Worcester Warriors, who saw the value in developing women’s teams, realised that Touch was a great way of getting more players involved at rugby clubs and there was an opportunity for ladies to take part.

“Initially there were five teams, and Steve went around clubs and introduced the idea to them, and it grew from there. It carried on growing because there was an organic demand for ladies Touch, for women who wanted to play a form of rugby but who didn’t want to get bashed about.

“The standard of the league has improved massively since it started. It still is a development ground for grassroots ladies Touch, but many of its players have progressed to play at regional and national levels and so when they play at tournaments with their teams, the standard improves for everyone.”

“We have had very exacting expectations of how the league is administered to maintain credibility and consistency across all of the regions and, alongside that we have made sure that all clubs have access to online referee training and practical assessments, so that a steady flow of properly trained non-playing Touch referees can be maintained, who can ensure that matches are officiate to a high standard.  

“Our objectives are to encourage as many women as possible to take part, but also to give women the opportunity to play at a good standard.  Each team now has to have a non-playing referee who has taken the England Touch Level 1 theory course at least, because having a high standard of refereeing is crucial to helping the league grow. The idea is for people to take part, but also for it to be a platform for people to improve.”

The League has also helped teams become valued parts of the rugby clubs where they have been based.

“All of the rugby clubs, who have ladies Touch teams that take part in the league, really value having them as part of their clubs, because of their desire to be inclusive and have women taking part in a form of rugby at their club,” says Fizz.

“This league provides a structure to support that happening, otherwise there might not be teams for them to play.”

Having some 20 teams makes the Midlands Ladies Touch League one of the largest regular competitions in the country, but there is room for further growth, and ambition to achieve it as well.

To find out more about the Midlands Ladies Touch League, whether as a player, team, referee or volunteer, email Fizz via


Pershore, Ross, Bredon, Ledbury, Malvern, Redditch, Camp Hill, Woodrush, Five Ways, Stratford (2 teams) Harbury, Rugby Saints, Old Laurentians, Nuneaton, Daventry, Bedworth, Kings Norton, Rugeley (new team).

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