Our Wales MXO team have done it! They are the 2022 European Touch Champions of the Mixed Open division.
It had been a long wait for our Mixed Open team having reached the final back at the last Euros in 2018 only to lose in a dramatic drop-off against Scotland, final score 12-11. A pandemic and four years later, Wales were back in the final this time facing a strong England side.
Wales opened the scoring but England bounced back quickly as both sides kept within touching distance of one another throughout the game. Having played earlier in the Round Robin stages of the tournament, Wales had learned from the previous encounter and made some intelligent tactical changes which were clearly paying off. Yet as the clock ticked on, the inevitable happened and the hooter blew at 8 scores apiece.
England had the tap but the Welsh defence held strong before they drove all the way back up the field for Amberly Ruck to show her speed with a score in the nearside corner. With time running out, England quickly tapped off again but this time did convert with a quick low dive into the mid-mid channel. With the scores tied once again, there was just about enough time to tap off before the the teams dropped to 3-a-side. It took just one more attack for Rhys Lynch to pull in two defenders before releasing the ball back inside to Dan Roberts to score the winning touchdown. Final score 10-9 to Wales. What an epic game!
Wales Mixed vs. England Mixed
Our other teams also performed well as well. Both the Womens 35 and Mens 45 picking up Silver medals in their divisions. W35 were beaten by a very strong England side while our M45 team, also facing England, looked the dominant team for much of their final. The game ended with a tie with just 4 scores each. This time it would be England that would pinch the game in sudden death. Our M40 team were beaten in the Semi final by France, the eventual winners, and went on to take Bronze in a tense playoff against Scotland that ended 9-8 with our team scoring 30s from the final whistle, narrowly avoiding the drop-off.
Here's a full table of results from our 8 squads:
Special mention to Daniel Roberts who was awarded MVP after his performance in the final against England in the Mixed Open division. Amazing!
Another MXO achievement that deserves recognition comes from Owen Carroll. He became the Euros 2022 Top Scorer with a total of 30 tries! His dive technique is a thing of beauty.
We'd like to give a huge shout out to our fantastic crew of Team Managers who've supported our teams both prior to and during the tournament. They do this on a voluntary basis and the hard work, passion and care they show to their teams is outstanding.
MXO - Helen Thomas Evans
MO - Tom Jones
WO - Alun Thomas-Evans
W27 - Kate Carroll
W35 - Fran Newman
M40 - Rhian Williams
M45 - Iwan Davies
M50 - Eddie Harris
And to the coaches, thanks to their commitment, time, knowledge and leadership we are able to create elite teams that not only perform on an international level, but foster a positive culture in which our players are proud to be part of.
MXO - Martyn Seymour MXO - Andrew Bloom WO - Owen Smith MO - Rachel Stevens MO - Brendan Healy MO - Matt Enoch W27/35 - Danny Askew W27/35 - Morgan Williams W27/35 - Steve Riddlestone-Holmes M40 - Chris Corcoran M40 - Gavin Jones M40 - Phil Williams M45 - Stephen Higgs M50 - Neil Perkins
Special mention to Roxy Williams who helped coach the MO team in their early stages of development.
We were very lucky to have top grade referees representing us at the European Touch championships this year. None more so than Kevin Hobbs who reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2015 by refereeing the SMX Touch World Cup Final in Australia. Matthew Hobbs refereed the W27 Final this year and Dominic Shaw refereed the MXO Bronze Final.
- Kevin Hobbs (Euros 2022 MO Final) - Matthew Hobbs (Euros 2022 W27 Final) - Dominic Shaw (Euros 2022 MXO Bronze Final)
Work now begins for Euros 2023 and the World Cup in 2024.
Onwards and upwards!