2019-20 Uni NTS a memorable campaign despite early end
The 2019/20 University National Touch Series did not finish in the way most teams wanted this year, with the Finals in Bath having to be called off due to Coronavirus concerns.
Twenty-three teams were due to head to Bath at the end of March to battle it out for the final pieces of silverware of the season...and for the end of season awards.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for the University NTS as 2019/20 was another record breaking season. Over the four rounds held in Oxford, Cambridge, Loughborough and Exeter, teams played over 200 matches and scored over 1,300 touchdowns.
A total 27 different teams took part with debuts from Bath 4s, Durham 2s, Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield. What’s more, there has already been an expression of interest from another seven Universities who may wish to take part in the 2020/21 season. This stands to show how the Uni NTS is still growing and organisers are hoping to carry the momentum of this season into the next!
This year's overall title goes to Exeter Hurricanes. Exeter showed they were a top class team all season and even though the Bath Hawks made them work for it in every Cup Final, with 2 wins to their name, Exeter take home the trophy for 2019/20.
You can see the 2019-20 Uni NTS Final Standings HERE
The organisers would like to thank everyone who helped make this season a great success. A big shout out must go to Stephen Dubreuil who continues to be a fantastic referee coordinator!
Alex Scott, University Touch Manager, said: “It’s been another great year for the University NTS, going from strength to strength despite an unavoidably abrupt finish given the current situation.
"It's fantastic that we continue to have new universities entering the competition for the first time and this looks set to continue again next season. This expansion could bring about big changes in terms of how the series shapes up in the future, which is a really exciting prospect.
"In addition to the increasing participation, the quality of Touch this year was at an all-time high. Growth in the sport at the university level is incredibly important to the future success of Touch within England. Seeing teams develop and excel at these tournaments is a great testament to the hard work put in by the clubs from across the country; demonstrating how vital this player development pathway is for England Touch.
“Special thanks to Jack Harris for his tireless work in all aspects of the Uni NTS this year.
“Finally, congratulations to everyone who competed over the course of the season, good luck with your preparations ahead and we are very much looking forward to seeing you for the start of the 2020/21 season.”
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End of Season Awards
Team Spirit Award Loughborough, as voted for by a poll from the other University clubs. We are glad to see that Loughborough continue to play with great spirit and sportsmanship and it is pleasing this is recognised by their fellow universities.
Best Newcomer Team Edinburgh, for an outstanding third place finish at their only competition in Cambridge. Special mentions go to the other four teams taking part in their first Uni NTS this season: Bath 4, Durham 2, Leeds & Sheffield. We look forward to welcoming more new teams over the coming seasons and we hope this award will give us an opportunity to recognise those teams who excel on their debuts.
Most Improved Team Durham Knights, with a staggering 10-place improvement compared to 2018/19. Durham have demonstrated it is possible for a relatively new club to develop quickly and challenge for places at the top of the university series.
Season MVP Male Nye Davis (Bath Hawks)
Notable mentions: Horatio Price (Exeter), Matthew Bate (Loughborough), Rhys Lynch (Bath)
Season MVP Female Becs Lambrou (Exeter)
Notable mentions: Mayleen Sabathier (Exeter), Georgina Burford-Taylor (Durham), Bronte Sykes (Bath)
Top Scorer Male Russell Reid (Oxford) 20
Joint 2nd - Matthew Bate (Loughborough) and Zubin Tanna (Southampton) both 19; 3rd - Liam Halpenny (Loughborough) 18, 4th - Jamie Parker (Cambridge) 17, 5th - Alec Pizzo (Exeter) 14
Special mention to Will Lupton (Nottingham Trent) for scoring 12 in a single round in Loughborough.
Top Scorer Female Amber Sykes (Bath Hawks) 12
2nd - Georgina Burford-Taylor (Durham) 10, Joint 3rd - Shani Evans (Bath) and Lisa Walker (Exeter) both 9