Honours shared at Seniors and Masters Nationals
The five titles were shared between three regions at the 2021 Seniors and Masters Nationals, staged at the home of Nottingham RFC.
The torrential rain and wind of the Opens Nationals were a distant memory when the opening matches tapped off in warm but blustery conditions at Lady Bay, and thanks to the hard work of the Nottingham ground staff no one watching in person or on YouTube would have guessed the destruction which had been ravaged on the pitches the previous weekend.
Conditions were ideal for teams to flourish, and all 21 teams across five categories put on a show of outstanding Touch across the two days. This year’s Seniors and Masters Nationals was also notable for it being the first year where England Touch was able to run distinct competitions for both the Women’s 27s and 35s, thanks in no small part to the North East and North West collaborating to enter a Northern Diamonds Women’s 35s team.
But the best was left for last, with some outstanding finals highlighting the competitiveness and strength in depth of the Seniors and Masters divisions across the country.
The Women’s 35s set the tone for what was to follow with a 40 minutes of end-to-end action between the South-East Sharks and Midland Tigers, eventually won by the Sharks 5-3. The South-East also took home the Men’s 40s title, the Taipans coming out on top after a weekend of round-robin matches against the South-West Saxons and West Wildcats.
The Men’s 45s were next up on the show field, with the two traditional powerhouses of the Midland Tigers and West Wildcats going head-to-head. Ahead 6-2 at one stage, the Tigers suffered a massive scare as the Wildcats showed their character to fight back and level things up at 8-all, only to be denied at the death by a Midlands clincher 30 seconds before the hooter.
The Women’s 27s final was the only one-sided match of the four, Midland Tigers showing their experience in overcoming South-West Saxons 7-1, the Saxons having beaten the South-East Taipans 8-5 in the semi-final.
But the Saxons did end up with a title, as their Men’s 30s saw off South-East Taipans in a thrilling contest that went down to the wire, the South-West outfit prevailing 6-5.
The 2021 Nationals has its third and final round at Oxford RFC this coming weekend with the Juniors taking centre stage.