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England's #TouchNationals Full News Round-up

England's #TouchNationals Full News Round-up

Touch Nationals 2013 Trophy Winners

Men's Touch National Champions - South East Taipans

Women's Touch National Champions - South East Sharks

Masters Touch National Champions - Northern Monkeys

#TouchNationals 2013 saw the South East Taipans (men's squad), the South East Sharks (women's squad), and the Northern Monkeys (Masters Division) crowned as National Champions of their respective divisions.  Well done to the Taipans and Sharks for successfully defending their titles, and congratulations to the Northern Monkeys, who won the inaugural Masters series 2-1 after a thrilling drop-off encounter in a nail-biting game 3 decider!

Individual Trophy Winners

Men's MVP - James Heptonstall (West Wildcats)

Women's MVP - Susan Kidd (SE Taipans)

Masters MVP - Jeff Bimson (Northern Monkeys)

Coach of the tournament - Natasha Verniquet (West Wildcats)

Referee of the tournament - Neil Fitzpatrick

Individual winners were as follows: Men's MVP, James Heptonstall (West Wildcats); Women's MVP, Susan Kidd (SE Taipans); Masters MVP, Jeff Bimson (Northern Monkeys); Coach of the tournament, Natasha Verniquet (West Wildcats Women); and Referee of the tournament, Neil Fitzpatrick.  Congratulations to all the trophy winners!

ETA Note of Thanks

The ETA would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who contributed to the organisation of the #TouchNationals, Bolton School for providing a superb venue, the England Touch medical teams, and the referees.  A successful tournament wouldn't have been possible without your contribution!

Catch up with the action from the event in the multitude of photographs now uploaded on the ETA Facebook Page.

Post-tourament player interview with Taipans' Rowling brothers

#TouchNationals - Taipans say thanks!

The Men's National Champions - South East Taipans - brotherly duo of Daniel & Clint Rowling were proud of their team's achievements and took a few moments after lifting the trophy to share their thoughts with us:

"We’re over the moon with the outcome, and couldn't be more pleased that we were able to produce our best performance in the final. Before the game we spoke about the importance of doing the little things right and the big things coming as a result and fortunately things fell into place for us.  As relatively inexperienced coaches we were lucky to have a squad of great guys with winning attitudes.The tournament organisers put on a great event and everything ran like clockwork. The fields were in great condition, the venue was well laid out, communication was clear and the referees were tireless. The ETA should be proud of producing a tournament of this quality.

The biggest positive for us was seeing firsthand the continued development of the regions outside of the South East. All of our matches were a real challenge and came down to the final whistle - the competition keeps getting fiercer. It’s great to see the advances that are being made, it’s really positive for England touch.

During the lead up we joked how 2013 is the year of the snake but one thing's for sure, the Taipans will be back in 2014 and looking to make it three in a row - hisss!"

Shane Hills: Touch Europe Referee - come player - note of thanks!

Shane Hills, normally known as one of England's European Touch Referees, took to the field as a Midland Tigers player at the #TouchNationals and had this to share with the ETA:

"Thanks to the ETA for an amazing tournament. Great venue and facilities. Weather was typical of England but all else ran smoothly. Great to see it from the other side & cannot believe the schedule on Sunday actually ran ahead of time by 10 minutes. That never happens. Thanks to Tom BedkowskiShelley Grace and all the other little elves that helped make that a huge success. I believe all the teams had an enjoyable experience."


Pictured above in action against the NW Blades, Lesley (green number 9 in foreground) and her daughter Orla (green vest in background) give the ETA an interview to mark the occasion.

ETA: Lesley, could you tell our readers a little about you and your daughter's Touch playing history?

Lesley:  "I started playing Touch at 35 and first represented England in the 2006 Euros in Edinburgh.  My daughter Orla started playing Touch when she was 3 and has been playing Touch throughout her formative years, she can’t remember a Thursday  night when she hasn’t been playing Touch."  

ETA:  Orla, in terms of Touch, tell us who has inspired you the most?

Orla:  "My mum, dad and brother are obviously my role models mainly because of both of my parents playing internationally, with my mum playing for England and dad for Ireland.  Also, my dad played rugby league for Halifax, winning the challenge cup in his career!  And my brother is also a really talented Touch and rugby player!"  

ETA:  Which Touch club do both of you currently represent and which region is that?  Which region did you both make history playing for as the ETA's first #TouchNationals mother-daughter combination?

Lesley:  "Our club is Percy Park Pirates, from the North East region.  However, we were both proud to be a part of the South West Saxons women's squad for this year's #TouchNationals."

ETA:  Orla, would you say you always took part in sports from a young age (i.e. at pre-school)?  If so, what sports have you grown up with?

Orla:  "I have always been mad with sport!  In my primary school I got stuck into everything, but PE was always just shapes on the floor and every few years there were a few weeks of judo and multi skills, but whatever opportunity I had I would go in and do it.  I then moved to a middle school in year 5 and it was amazing, I started playing badminton, hockey, netball, rounders, athletics and I was on the team for all of those. At high school I have been involved in every match of netball, hockey, rugby league, football, handball, dance, badminton and cricket.  Out of school I play touch, hockey, rugby league, badminton, swimming and athletics."

ETA:  Lesley, did you ever talk with your daughter about yours sports participation and do you think that inspired her?

Lesley:  "Orla’s always been physical and has been thrown about by her big brother, they used to set-up circuits in the back garden and practice tackling!  I’ve not really talked much about what I’ve done but she’s always been included and has spent loads of time on touch lines: puddle diving, rope skipping, coat holding, photo taking..!"

ETA:  Orla, do you think that girls your age take sport as seriously as boys?

Orla:  "I think they do because actually in my school, girls have as much sport as boys, and my girls football team has been more  successful than the boys because me and my other team mates are the best team in the North East!"

ETA:  Lesley, is fitness a part of your every day family life?

Lesley: "Yes, I walk the dog daily, play touch at least twice a week, teach a fitness pilates once a week, fit in a training session or 2 and I’ve just taken up squash!!  My son Aidan plays club and regional rugby league and union.  As for my husband, Seamus exercises every day - keeps him from being grumpy!"

ETA:  Orla, have you always had your parents spectating and supporting you at sporting events as you've grown up?

Orla:  "Yes, all the time!  My friends always ask if my mum is coming because they love it when my mum comes because she cheers us on and gives us tips on how to play better. But my dad is so embarrassing because  the other day I was playing rugby league and my dad stomped out the car and started coaching but again everyone said that he was good but it was still really embarrassing. My mum and dad have kind of been team physio’s for me and my brother too."

ETA:  Lesley, do you think being an 'involved parent' offers extra encouragement?

Lesley:  "Definitely, although my kids are getting to an age where they can take responsibility for getting to and from some of their training sessions themselves.  I love watching them play sport now, it’s getting more and more competitive."

ETA:  Orla, who has been the sporting hero you've always idolised?  Also, how did you feel playing at the Touch Nationals for the first time, particularly knowing that your Mum was watching every move?

Orla:  "Definitely my mum.  She will always inspire me and be my role model, and not just because of sport, but also for the way my mum recovered from illness and fought her way back to being able to play Touch. She is amazing and I love her. THANKS MUM XXX!  As for playing at the Nationals, well it was really exciting and scary.  Yes, my mum waswatching my every move, that's why I wanted to score really badly to make her proud."

ETA: Lesley, how did you help your daughter/children develop a love for the game of Touch?

Lesley:  "To be fair, Orla hasn’t had much choice, she’s grown up with Thursday night touch sessions and the Pirates have always encouraged family touch.  It great to see mum, dad, aunty, uncle, granny.......all playing alongside each other.  Orla often plays alongside her brother (15) and cousin (5).  Things can sometimes get a bit fiery, especially when Aidan and I are on the same team!"ETA:  Thank you to the Lesley & Orla McCallion for their time and contribution to this news article.  We hope this will inspire the next generation of Touch players out there!  Share this story with your friends.  - We are England Touch.
Pictured above are the 2013 #TouchNationals women's finalists, the SE Sharks & Taipans.
Before the gold, silver, or bronze, it's the red, white and blue.. As at this year's Home Nations, it's not the colours you go home with that matter, it's the ones you came in. We are one team, We are England Touch.

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