Women That Play Touch, Interview with Miriam Evans

With the game finally spreading out of the Cardiff stronghold with new leagues forming in Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, there has never been a better time to get involved in touch.  This is one of the few sports in which men and women can compete together on the same field, creating a truly unique playing atmosphere.

Gorllewin Gwyllt taks to Miriam Evans, one of the Wales Women’s  most experienced players.  Originally from Tumble in west Wales but based in London for the last few years, she recently represented west Wales at the inaugural Wales Touch Nationals.  Here she discusses how and why she started to play touch and why she thinks more women should take up the game.
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If you like throwing a ball around, you should take up touch.  If you like running, you should take up touch.  If you like team sports, you should take up touch.

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Miriam

School Sports

I played hockey and netball whilst in school but then didn’t continue either once I left.  Later when I was 21 I started to play rugby by accident really after being persuaded to go along for one training session to see what it was like.  The rest as they say is history as I haven’t stopped playing since.  What I rediscovered was how much fun playing a team sport is and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t started earlier or continued with another sport after leaving school.  It is something I have always regretted.  Rugby then led me to touch and recently I’ve gone back to hockey, after 16 years away from it (I have to do something when I retire from rugby!). 

First Impressions of Touch

I got into touch because of the boys at my rugby club.  A touch league had started locally and they realised if they found a couple of girls, willing enough to play with them, they would get two games a night (one mixed and one men’s).  So that’s where I started one summer with the aim to keep fit out of season, improve on my handling skills ready for the start of the rugby season and to socialise.  My first impressions was that it was very different to rugby tactically (even to sevens), it was fast paced, very competitive and also those from the southern hemisphere were a lot, LOT better than us as they had been playing since they were kids! 
 
I loved the competitive element of it and also the fact that it can be mixed sides.  In addition it’s an honest sport – which is very important to understand as it is so fast paced.  I quickly moved from playing one to two games a night (the rugby girls set up a women’s team in the social mixed league in my second year so that we could also play two games a night!), and progressed to two nights a week then three!

The Game for Life

What keeps me playing touch?  I love it!  The beauty of touch is you can play it at any age at any level.  I intend to play until I can’t play anymore.  It is likely to go beyond my rugby playing days.  Competitive wise I hope that in the future the women’s side of the sport will grow so that we could also have an over 35’s and 40’s side like the men do.  I can see me always playing social touch.  

A Game for Men and Women

Touch is both an exciting game to watch and play.  It’s end to end action a bit like basketball in that respect.  It’s got a great social/community feeling about it.  It’s a great way of meeting people from all over the world not just locally.  For girls/women there are not many sports that you can have men and women playing together at the same level together.  It’s great for fitness too.
 
If you like throwing a ball around, you should take up touch.  If you like running, you should take up touch.  If you like team sports, you should take up touch.  If you like competitive sports, you should take up touch.  If you like social sports, you should take up touch.

Representing the Barcutiaid Coch (West Wales Regional Team)

I thought the set-up in west Wales was excellent.  Very well run and organised with great training venues.  I was impressed with the coaching levels and also the team spirit that was built up in a relatively short period of time.  But what I loved the most was the amount of young people in the squad keen to learn and get involved.  It was great seeing new talent coming through and maturing during the competition.  

Barcutiaid Coch Red_Kites_Logo

Everyone knows that west Wales was very much a developing team, with the most newcomers to the sport compared to the “internationally” stacked Cardiff and east Wales squads, yet I believe it was the squad that showed most improvement during the tournament and we certainly did not let ourselves down.  I therefore think that 2014 is going to be even better for the west Wales team as they grow and develop even further through attracting new players and continued training, ready for next year’s tournament.  2014+ the Barcitiaid Coch/Red Kites will be a team to reckon with! 
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If you’re interested in starting to play touch, there are now a number of opportunities to do so across west Wales.  In summer 2013, there are league modules in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, plus the newly-formed Wales Touch Series comes to Llandysul on Saturday 8th June.   For more information, get in touch!

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Further reading:

Brand New League Starts in Newcastle Emlyn
Why Women Should Play Touch
Touch Spread Further West This Summer

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What about you, are you looking to get involved in touch for the first time this year?  Are you in a team that wants to attract more female players?  Leave your comments below.

 
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FILM – Wales Touch Trials

Wales Touch Association are holding trials during November.  11th Wrexham, 18th Llanelli, 25th Cardiff

Here’s a short presentation with some action pictures taking during the recent European Touch Championships in Treviso, Italy.  Wales sent over 200 players and officials in seven different playing categories to Italy; Mens, Women, Mixed, Mens 30+, Mens 35+, Mens 40+ and Senior Mixed.

Wales Touch are very keen to locate new players who could make the grade at the representative level.  2013 sees the Home Nations tournament in Dublin, in 2014 it’s the European Touch Championships and in 2015 the Touch World Cup will  be held in Sydney, Australia.

The trials are open, for trialists over the age of 15.  If you think that you might have what it takes, you can register and get further details from the WTA website – www.walestouch.co.uk

Wales Touch On Look Out For Future Internationals

Guest post by Gwion Kennard, Technical Director, Wales Touch Association

The Wales team at the European Championships 2012 Opening Ceremony in Treviso

The WTA will be holding trials during November 2012 for the Mixed, Men’s and Women’s Open and all of the Over 30s squads as we build towards the 2013 Home Nations, the 2014 European Championships and the 2015 World Cup.

The selectors will be looking for athletes who demonstrate the following:
1. Responsiveness to on-field and off-field instructions and feedback
2. Ball retention
3. Defensive workrate and communication
4. Yardage
5. Followship
6. Leadership
7. Skills & decision making – 2v1 & 3v2 proficiency, planting proficiency, etc.
8. Attacking skills – Set-up play / 1v1 skills / running lines

The trial will be primarily drills through use of grids with a small amount of game-time at the end rather than mostly-game based. We are looking for potential in players rather than those who are closer to the finished article.

The trials will be held on the following dates:

11th November – Wrexham Details TBA
18th November – Llanelli, Barn at Parc y Scarlets from 1pm to 5pm
25th November – Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, Outdoor 4G pitch at The Vale Resort from 1pm to 5pm

Please send any expressions of interest to gwion@walestouch.co.uk to help our planning and so we can gauge the viability of the Wrexham trial in particular.
Please note, all current Touch internationals are expected to participate in the trial process if they wish to be considered for selection for the open and Over 30 squads in the 2013 Home Nations in Dublin. If you are unable to trial due to injury or unavailability for an extended period of time, please advise Gareth Revell at gareth.revell@hotmail.co.uk as the trials co-ordinator BEFORE THE TRIAL PROCESS BEGINS.
 

Those wishing to be considered for selection for the Over 35 & Over 40 squads are welcome to attend the trials as there is no age restriction, However an alternative selection process will be implemented for Masters players details of which will be provided soon.

FILM Pendine 2012 Highlights

Another fantastic weekend of Touch on the beach at Pendine, with Durka Durkas picking up the Women’s and Mixed titles and Cardiff Raptors securing the Men’s trophy.

Below is the highlights video from the weekend.  Enjoy!

WTA have also just announced that next year’s tournament will take place on 24 / 25 August Bank Holiday Weekend 2013.

Wales Touch Association’s annual tournament on Pendine Sands took place over three days with 17 teams and 200 participants competing in U16 Mixed, Mens, Womens and Senior Mixed categories.U16 winners – Ysgol Dyffryn Taf were eventually victorious over Ysgol Bro Myrddin in a thrilling contest which went to extra time and a ‘drop off’. Full report In the Mens competition, Cardiff Raptors were victorious over Durka Durkas with Captain, Gareth Revell (also Wales Mixed Open Captain) explaining;

“We’ve had a great day, we found it difficult with a small squad and teams drove at us hard, but our defence held up so we’re really pleased.”

In the Womens comp, Durka Durkas, featuring a number of women international players who have just returned from the European Touch Championships in Treviso, Italy, took the spoils eventually outclassing Varsity Vandals and the Raptors women.

On Sunday, the mixed comp took place in the wind and rain and it was the combination of the Durkas mens and womens teams that managed to adapt to the elements and beat the Raptors, Varsity and Warwick Knights in the mixed tournament.

Tournament official, Matthew Adams;

“Another fantastic tournament at Pendine. Although it was a scaled down tournament this year with many players on international duty at the Euros, we still had some top quality Touch on display. We’re particularly pleased to add the 5×60 school tournament for the first time and we’re hoping a number of boys and girls have got a taste for the game. “

Pendine Sands Tournament Is On

2013 Update – Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August at Pendine – visit www.gorllewingwyllt.com to register

Wales Touch Association (WTA) announce that their flagship annual beach tournament will take place on Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2012.

REGISTER HERE

Delwedd

There was some doubt whether this would be on this year or not.  This was due to the Pendine tournament traditionally being held on the last weekend of August and therefore being in very close proximity to the Touch European Championships in early September.  However, due to popular demand (and even one team threatening not to speak to them ever again if the tournament didn’t go ahead!) the WTA have decided that Pendine was a must!

For the first time, the tournament will be delivered in partnership with Cyffwrdd Gorllewin Gwyllt (Wild West Touch) which was formed earlier in 2012 in order to promote the game in west Wales and has already hosted the first ever Touch tournament in Llandysul.

Gorllewin Gwyllt Director, Matthew Adams explains;

I’m really looking forward to being part of the Pendine tournament having heard great things about it over the last 10 years.  We’re hoping to bring our local knowledge and expertise to the event and help inspire some of the locals to get involved.  We also aim to attract some of the teams already playing Touch in Llanelli, Swansea and Llandysul to play in Pendine for the first time.

The tournament takes place a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the Euros, so it’s the perfect way for those that have been representing their countries to bring another long season to a close in a social environment.  With good value local accommodation available, as well as camping and some great pubs, it promises to be a fantastic party atmosphere.  It’s also a great chance for teams currently competing in west Wales to test themselves against established teams from across Wales, England and beyond.

Believe it or not, this photo was taken in September!

Men’s Open (MO) and Women’s Open (WO) competitions take place on Saturday 29th September with a Mixed Open (MXO) competition on Sunday 30th September.  Some clubs choose to enter all three competitions with their men’s and women’s teams playing separately on the Saturday and then coming together to form a mixed team on the Sunday.  WTA is offering a cut price of £300 to register three teams, instead of the usual £120 team fee.

More information and registration details will follow soon.  If you want to keep up to date with Touch news in the Wild West, register for our irregular newsletter!  You can also check out the Gorllewin Gwyllt (Wild West) website for all things Touch in the region.

 

Did you know….Pendine is the Anglicisation of the Welsh name, Pentywyn.  Many Welsh place names refer to geographical features with ‘Pen’ meaning ‘Head’ or the ‘Top’ and ‘Tywyn’ meaning ‘Dune’.  

Pendine Online website for further information about the town.

New Touch Training Game! Gem Newydd Ymarfer Cyffwrdd

OK, so my wife, kids and I wanted to do some Touch practice ready for this weekends tournament.  Only problem was, the washing was hanging out to dry in the back yard, so we didn’t have much room.  But with typical resourcefulness, we adapted and made up our own game – rugby, crossed with badminton and volley ball!

How to play:
Mark out a playing court with cones.  Pass the ball over the net (washing line), if the ball lands in your opponents area, you win a point, if outside the area, they win the point.  No downward throws are allowed.  Try and avoid treading on the babies or letting the ball hit them!  Try and ignore the excitable dog trying to steal the ball!  First to five wins!  You can play singles or doubles

This could be the latest craze to sweep the nation!!  Get involved – send your training videos to Cyffwrdd Gorllewin Gwyllt / Wild West Touch

Win FREE Entry to WWT! Enillwch lle AM DDIM i CGG!

Your team could win a free place for your team at the Wild West Touch Tournament (worth £99!)

Correctly answer the following two questions and you will be entered into the prize draw to win team entry to the Wild West Competition on the 5th and 6th May in Llandysul, Ceredigion.  Complete the form below to enter.

Q1. Complete the female player’s statement;

Touch is great for your legs & ______________ 

a) bum

b) tum

c) arms

See ‘Why Women Should Play Touch’ for help

Q2. Complete Dennis Coffey’s statement; 

Our game is in_________

a) invaluable

b) inclusive

c) inappropriate

See ‘VIDEO – Part 1 An Interview With Dennis Coffey’ for help

Complete the form to enter:

The competition is open to anyone aged 16+.  All entries with the correct answer received will be put into a draw.  The winner may choose free team entry into any category of the Gorllewin Gwyllt event; i.e. Family Cup, Wild West Cup (Mens, Womens, Mixed, 35+) and Cardi Cup (Mens, Mixed).  The closing date for entries is 9.00pm on Sunday 29th April.  The prize is non-transferable.