Saturday 4th March saw the best of the North descend on Heaton Moor RUFC (Manchester) to compete in the first Northern & Scottish UKTN Regional Tournament.
The event, designed to serve as a trial and selection method for regional coaches to finalise squads for the UK Tag Nationals Tournament held in May. Alongside the opportunity to cement a place in the regional squads, GB coaches were also in attendance, looking to bolster their squads with the World Cup looming.
Train on squads from Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, Wigan & Yorkshire all competed during the day. All regions were represented in the mixed & men’s categories.
In the mixed category, Manchester v Wigan opened the day in front of the cameras, with Manchester running out 12-4 victors. There were differing outcomes when both sides returned to the livestream later in the day with Manchester falling to a heavy 10-0 to Yorkshire, while Wigan battled their way to overcome Sheffield 8-7. There was a high level of anticipation for the unknown Edinburgh squads, new to Tag Rugby, who more than held their own with narrow victories over Manchester, Sheffield and Wigan, and only losing to eventual winners, Yorkshire.
The dominance of Yorkshire continued in the Men’s category, with 4 convincing wins, only conceding 4 points across 4 fixtures, scoring 48 in the process. The rest of the category was more evenly contested with 2 wins apiece for Sheffield & Edinburgh, one for Manchester, and only Wigan remaining winless. Fixtures between these 4 regions did not have a winning margin greater than 4 points, 3 of which decided by one point. Come National’s itself, it will be difficult to predict who will come out on top should they face each other again.
The Women’s category saw the established Manchester & Yorkshire sides joined by the newly formed Edinburgh & Sheffield sides. Experience paid off with Manchester & Yorkshire both comfortably seeing past the new teams, before facing off in the final. Yorkshire again running out victors, winning 4-0 in front of the cameras. When pitted against each other, Edinburgh & Sheffield contested two draws, Sheffield being crowned 3rd place due to scoring first in the 3/4th play off. Experience at this level will no doubt prove beneficial for both new sides, with an understanding of what is possible when playing together for longer.
The Men’s 40s category saw Yorkshire face off with a combined Manchester & Wigan side in 4 fixtures. Yorkshire, following the trend set in the other categories, ran out comfortable winners with 4 straight victories, scoring 50 points and only conceding 6 during the day.
With Yorkshire being comfortable winners across all categories they will no doubt prove a force to be reckoned with at UKTN 2023. The day itself will have proven beneficial for all squads however, in an effort to see who the strongest players will be, and where improvements can be made ahead of the main tournament.
Photos from the day can be seen here.
Livestream footage from Pitch A during the day can be seen here:
Part 1 (before 14:00): https://youtube.com/live/fUdsRaM_9sM?feature=share
Part 2 (14:50 onwards): https://www.youtube.com/live/MkNMAXEnfiU?feature=share
Our thanks go out to all players, staff, referees & Heaton Moor for their contribution towards a successful day.
Mixed Winners: Yorkshire White Roses
Mixed Player of the Tournament (Male): Nick Durham (Edinburgh)
Mixed Player of the Tournament (Female): Anita Barton (Yorkshire)
Men’s Winners: Yorkshire White Roses
Men’s Player of the Tournament: Trystan Cowen (Sheffield)
Women’s Winners: Yorkshire White Roses
Women’s Player of the Tournament: Hannah Furey (Yorkshire)
Over 40s Winners: Yorkshire White Roses
Over 40s Player of the Tournament: Martin Gambles (Wigan & Manchester)