Showers, sun and six trophies – your Banbury round-up
The Elite and Development National Touch Series tapped off in Banbury, and while there were plenty of changes up and down the tournaments, including a number of clubs making their debuts at either Elite or Development level, there were familiar faces receiving the Cup titles.
After their successes in the Elite Men’s and Women’s NTS and at Paris Touch, NQ Rebels continued their excellent season by taking home the first Elite Cup of the 2022 Mixed campaign.
Meanwhile Galaxy London, who had won two Cup titles in the 2021 Development NTS, maintained that momentum in 2022 Round 1 by seeing off all-comers at Bodicote Park on Sunday.
NQ’s morning on the Saturday was by no means straightforward on the way to topping their group, with one-try wins over both Cambridge Bees and Nottingham Hoods. But their afternoon was a smoother ride, Cambridge Hornets beaten 5-1 and Hot Custard 4-2 in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
Hot Custard had also gone through the morning unbeaten, as had Galaxy London and London Eagles 1. But it was Nottingham Hoods who shrugged off that round-robin loss to NQ to see off both the Eagles and Galaxy in the knockout stages, showing their resilience to win both of these matches by just the one try.
However the final was one match too far for the Midlanders, with NQ easing their way to a 6-3 win.
The other trophy winners were Raptors, who beat Revolution 4-2 in the Plate final, and PFT Foxes, who went toe-to-toe with Cheltenham Tigers in a fantastically tight Bowl final to prevail 8-7.
PFT and Cheltenham were two of five teams to have taken the step up from the Development NTS into the Elite level, and their places in the Development tournament were taken by four clubs who were making their debut at national level – Liverpool Otters, Bedford Eagles, Truro Trojans and Nomads – along with Bournemouth Touch Centre, who were making their return after a five-year absence.
But it was Galaxy London who continued where they left off in 2021 by firstly going through the morning unbeaten – although both Banbury and Wigan put up strong challenges – and then Warwick and Norwich Rebels in the knockout stages to put them into the final.
They came up against St Albans in the final, who had won their first NTS Cup in the final round of the 2022 Development Men’s and Women’s tournament three weeks previously, and who also went through the round-robin and knockout stages unbeaten.
These were the only two teams with perfect records during the day, and someone’s 0 had to go. Galaxy set out their stall immediately with a try from the first hooter, following this up with three more tries before St Albans got on the scoreboard.
The second half was more even, but by then the contest had been settled, Galaxy winning 6-3.
Thames Valley Vikings won the Plate, and Cheltenham beat newcomers Liverpool in the Bowl.
The Mixed NTS moves onto Burton RFC on the weekend of July 2nd (Development) and 3rd (Elite).