Old Wesley Touch – Elite NTS 2023

Old Wesley Touch – Elite NTS 2023

As we entered the competitive touch season, all eyes in Old Wesley Touch turned to the England Touch Elite NTS for another year. Looking to pick up where last year left off, Old Wesley Touch sought to remain undefeated and claim silverware in the Men’s Open Div 1 category, while the Women’s Open looked to develop and leave their mark on the Div 3 category.

Men’s Open

The format for the Men’s competition this year changed slightly from last year, with Round 1 consisting of the group stages from which each team would be given a seeding for the knockout stages in Round 2; full details below.

Round 1

Banbury RFC – 20/5/23

Back Row: John Ennis, Michael Kearney, Sean Ballance, Brian Leveau, Nick Leung, James McCourt, Alan Doyle, James O’Donnell

Front Row: Zach Bouzounis, Ben O’Connell, Kyle Kritzinger, Jamie Maher, Tighe Brennan, Andy King, Conor Fitzpatrick, Conor Murphy

With three group games awaiting them, Old Wesley looked to start strong; reminding the competition as to why they went unbeaten last year;

  • However, first game nerves were in full flow and despite some defensive issues, they held on to claim the win against a young Cambridge Touch side 14-9
  • Next up were CSSC London Eagles featuring some experienced English Touch players – another hard fought match resulted in Old Wesley taking the win 13-11
  • The final group game pitted Old Wesley against NQ Rebels, a strong outfit with some international talent – it went down to the wire with Old Wesley needing a ‘Bouz’er beater to end the day undefeated with a 14-13 win, emulating the achievements of last year
  • This meant that Old Wesley would go into the knockouts with a top seed, warning the rest of the competition that last year wasn’t a fluke and they were hunting down silverware.

Round 2

Banbury RFC – 03/6/23

Back Row: Andy King, Micheal Kearney, James O’Donnell, Dominic Brook, Cillian Daly, James McCourt, Brian Leveau, Alan Doyle, John Ennis

Front Row: Jamie Maher, Zach Bouzounis, Flynn Leaver, Luke de Renzy, Kyle Leaver, Tighe Brennan, Conor Murphy, Kyle Kritzinger

Looking to kick on from the previous rounds results, Old Wesley faced three tough knockout games against familiar opposition;

  • First up in the quarter final was Wigan Warriors – having spent time between rounds working on defensive issues, it showed and Old Wesley claimed an emphatic win 16-6
  • Next up in the semi final was London Scorpions, full of English Touch players – the game fell into a tough grind but Old Wesley stayed strong to win 13-8
  • All the hard work put in by the lads led to the final match against London Galaxy – through some back and forth, Old Wesley found themselves down at half time, but a rousing team talk and sheer determination cemented Old Wesley’s place as they ran out winners 9-7, officially claiming silverware and further establishing themselves on the European club touch scene.

Women’s Open

The format for the Women’s Open Div 3 category also differed from last year, allowing teams to enter a one day competition to battle it out, developing and growing as the day went on; full details below.

Banbury RFC – 04/6/23

Back Row: Issy Tierney, Aoife O’Boyle, Charlotte Hall, Roisin Carroll, Annabel Redmond, Maebh Browne

Front Row: Emily Pollard, Jess Fitzgerald, Rachel Duggan, Caitriona Moran, Aisling Gill

Featuring a new look Old Wesley Women’s Open, they faced multiple games over the course of the day – looking to build on the precedent set last year.

  • With only 7 players, the day opened against a strong Bristol Jets side, resulting in a draw 3-3
  • Next up was a young university side in Nottingham Trent which unfortunately resulted in a loss 2-0
  • Old Wesley rallied for the next game and stormed to a strong win against Surrey 7-1
  • Following this dominant performance, Old Wesley claimed yet another win against Flames 5-0 – the defensive efforts were putting the Men’s Open to shame…
  • The above results meant that Old Wesley entered the semi final against a strong London Vipers side, who claimed the win 4-3 in a drop off, meaning that a Bronze final faced the girls
  • Some incredible defensive efforts in the final match of the day allowed Old Wesley to claim a 2-1 victory, landing them a podium finish!

 

To top off several impressive team performances throughout the day, special mention to our very own Rachel Duggan who was awarded the Div 3 WO MVP, a fitting representation of both her leadership and the hard work done by the team both in the weeks leading up to the day and the day itself.

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