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England Touch update - August

posted Aug 3, 2010, 10:05 AM by Rich ‎(Oxford Touch)‎
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August 2010 Edition 8

Welcome to the 8th edition of the England Touch eNewsletter. This is designed to keep you up to date with everything that is happening in the game in England, from news to events. This month we report on all the happenings from the European Champs 2010 in Bristol. The NTS 2010 also draws to a close in August, and we look forward to the potential winners. This month's edition includes all the usual features too!
As official teamwear partner of England Touch, Kukri Sportswear has a range of Touch specific kit for men and women. So if you are looking for Touch kit for 2010, for more details about Kukri and their range, please visit

England scoop Women's Open and Men's 30s titles 
The European Touch Championships 2010 were held at Filton College in Bristol at the end of July. The event saw new nations and new age category teams from across Europe coming together to make this year's event the biggest ever. It also signalled a power shift in the game as Wales emerged as overall European Champions, taking the title from England. For England,the event saw 120 players, the most ever to represent England Touch in one event. The event also signified a 'changing of the guard' with a number of Men's Open and Women's Open players moving up to age-category divisions. This meant that a young and relatively inexperienced England Men's Open side, faced the challenge of overcoming experienced Wales and Scotland Open sides. Ultimately, the team fell short losing out 3-5 to Wales in the Semi Final game, and had to relinquish the title which they have held since 2002. Despite coming away with the Bronze medal, the team have gained invaluable experience ahead of World Cup 2011. The Mixed Open side progressed well through the event, until they lost 3-5 to Ireland in the Semi Final. The side was a blend of youth and experience, with a number of players playing in their first European Championships. Unfortunately, following injuries to experienced players, the team fell 3-9 to Jersey in the 3rd/4th play-off.

The Women's Open side were left to fly the flag for England in the Open Division, and they performed fantastically over the 4-days. The women had a number of high scoring games, including a 15-0 win over Guernsey and a 13-0 win over Germany. They overcame Scotland 9-1 in the Semi Final but in a tight Final, the women overcame Wales 2-1 in a nail biting finish to their event. 

The Men's 30s backed up the Women's Open side, by winning their division. Having had a tough opening game, with a close 9-7 win over France, the team got into their stride and showed their experience through the rounds. The highlight was a 8-0 win over Scotland in the Semi Final, followed by an impressive 9-4 win over France in the Final. The newly formed Women's 30 demonstrated the depth of the sport in England and side performed well against Open sides. The side fell 5-0 to the Wales Open side in the Semi Final, and finished 4th overall, following a 5-1 loss to Scotland's Open side. Another newly formed side, the Men's 35s had a strong Championships. They came up against Wales 35s in the Final, and having met twice in the pool stages, winning one and losing one, the M35s were pipped 3-2 in the Final and took second place. A much improved Men's 40 side performed well over the 4 days, one of the highlights being a 5-5 draw with eventually winners Ireland. The team reached the 3rd/4th Play-Off, but missed out 5-3 to Italy. 

England Touch would like all the players, management and support staff who helped make the Euros 2010 the most successful yet. Also a big thank you to Tom Bedkowski and the Organising Committee.
Cambridge NTS- Super 8s/Social 8s Finals

Saturday 7th August will see the final round of the 2010 NTS at Cambridge Rugby Club, The 2010 Series so far has had 4 different winning sides over the past 5 events, and Round 6 in Cambridge will see the top 8 sides compete to determine the overall winner in 2010. London Galaxy, Gurus and Cambrigde Hornets are amongst the favourites to take the title. This should be a great event, so if you get the chance, come along and see who will be crowned overall winner 2010. 

Upcoming Events
'Touch World Cup' in London
ETA member In 2 Touch London is holding it's annual 'Touch World Cup' event on Saturday 28th August at King George's Park, Wandsworth. This popular event sees teams adopting a country for the day, and being encouraged to play in that countries 'national dress'- ie fancy dress. This is a hugely social event to round off the Touch season. More information and entry details can be found at

Medway Touch- Youth NTS
Medway Touch will host an inaugural U9, U11 and U13 National Youth Touch event on Saturday 2nd October 2010 at Fort Pitt Grammar School for Girls, in Kent. The event will be the open to school and club sides, and will be an opportunity to play Touch against other young players. England Touch players will be on hand to pass on hints and tips to improve your game. For more details on the event please email:


Coaches Corner

Back to a Basics- Driving Play

This week, we take a step back to basics, and review the essential components of 'driving' play. This is often one of the first things people pick up when starting to play the game, however sometimes players and teams need to be reminded of some of the key points of driving play. Whilst your team may not score simply through driving upfield, it often provides the momentum from which line attack moves can be executed. Often teams which may not understand driving, go wide too early- trying to outflank a defence, however this can often lead to a team leaving the ball carrier isolated and a failure to 'go forward'. 

When driving, players should be able to perform a number of key skills, accurately and under control, but still at speed. Players need to be able to perform a dynamic rollball on the mark with either hand, whilst initiating the Touch with non ball carrying hand. Players should also be able to pass accurately from the ground, picking the ball up cleanly and finally they should be comfortable catching and running with the ball. All these skills need to be performed under pressure and with control. 

The aim of Driving play- GO FORWARD: Driving play is typically initiated from a team's own touchdown line (red zone), or within their own half. The aim is to progress up the field quickly with minimal risk and maximum yards. It may be that a team drive for a whole set of 6 Touches, or that once a team crosses the halfway line it may seek to set up for line attack. Driving play is all about creating forward momentum, from which other plays may flow. Teams might attempt to get the ball into the centre of the field as quickly as possible before they drive, if the ball is on the wing, this is often done by 2- passes infield from the initial rollball. This allows players to time their runs onto the ball from both sides of the rollball. Some teams may elect to drive up a sideline, possibly towards their sub box, allowing replacements to wrap wide into the long side of the field. Whatever the tactics of a team the aims remain the same, progress the ball quickly and safely up the field, avoiding basic errors such as overstepping the mark, voluntary rollballs, hesitation, dropped balls and avoid the ball being on the ground too long. 

Effective driving will mean that a player in possession always perform a rollball for a Half, so that the ball is never on the ground too long (so that a defence can't re-organise). The Half should deliver an accurate pass from the ground, don't pick up and run themselves. The ball receiver should time their run onto the ball, so they don't overrun the ball. Upon receiving the ball, the receiver should slow down in anticipation of the next rollball.

The 'wedge' or 3 player drive: This is one of the most basic driving plays and requires 3 players. Player 1, the initial ball carrier, runs forward and initiates a touch on a defender- this should be done without delay so that the Half can follow easily. Once the rollball is performed, that player steps forward over the ball in preparation to become the next Half. Player 2, comes into Half and should deliver the ball to Player 3, the receiver, who has timed their run from depth. The receiver should angle their run back towards the original rollball, this is for 3 reasons: firstly, by running back towards the original rollball means that Player 1 is in position to be the next Half. Secondly, running back towards the original rollball attacks the defender who has just made the Touch, who is liable to  be offside. Thirdly, running back towards the rollball allows Player 2 to 'wrap' (loop) the ball carrier and be an option for a pass. By wrapping out, Player 2 is also able to re-align to become the next receiver, and can time their run onto the ball. The process is repeated, as many times as required, and should result in good ground being made. 

A team may wish to drive from alternate sides of the rollball, this is similar to the 3 player drive, with the Half wrapping towards the side they passed to. As a player 'hits' from one side of the rollball, the Half wraps to that side, and re-aligns to become a receiver for a third touch- not the next one.

This is a basic overview of driving play, it is an essential sub unit skill for a team, and should be practised at match intensity within training sessions.

Any queries you have or topic you would like to see, please send an email to . 

The Coaching Panel
Who's Who?

Each month we profile an England Touch player, and give you an insight into their life! This month we interview Paul Farrington, who has been playing for England since 2007. 

Age: 33
How many years playing Touch? 7
League Venue: Reading, Oxford, Maidenhead!
Club/NTS team: Thames Valley Vikings
Rep Honours with England: Men's 30s: Home Nations 2007, 2009. European Champs 2008, 2010
Most memorable moment in Touch: Winning my first European Champs 2008, awesome team spirit in a side which just kept on improving as the event progressed. 
Favorite Food? Lasagne
Favourite Film? Madagascar (1 and 2!) 
Favourite Holiday Destination? The Cook Islands. Anywhere where I can kitesurf. 
Which 4 famous people would you invite to a dinner party? Alex Ferguson, Clive Woodward, Will Smith, Cameron Diaz

Fan-Touchstic Touch Fact

The next European Championships will be held in Italy in 2012, see you there!

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