Spring Chick women’s touch rugby tournament

March 29, 2014 in Audio, Chippenham, South West, Touch Rugby

What better way to usher in spring than to run around a field with your mates in the sunshine. The Spring Chick touch rugby tournament is the largest women’s only event in the UK, and Chippenham RFC was the venue for this well organised competition.

Thirteen teams had amassed from around the British Isles in a bid to grab the inaugural Spring Chick title. Teams were divided into three pools, with the action happening on three pitches. There was a generous sprinkling of international talent, right next to teams who were trying out the touch rugby code for the first time.

Cambridge ‘She who dares trys’ were one of the fancied teams to do well alongside the Mixers, who were comprised of internationals and experienced players from the South East.

Spring Chick organiser, and No Balls Allowed player Jen Palmer

Play started promptly at 10am. The opening three games featured Kingswood Ladies RFC v Mixers, Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs v Oxford Ladies and Chargers Chicks v Thames Valley Vixens. The outcome of the pool games would determine who would advance to the finals.

Photo sets available on request.

Kingswood Ladies RFC 0 – Mixers 7
It was clear to see that Kingswood were having a day off from full 15s rugby, but this did not dampen their enthusiasm for the challenge. Getting to grips with some of the rules and strategy during competition is tough at the best of times, even harder when faced with potentially one of the best sides of the day.

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Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs 0 – Oxford Ladies 3
Chippenham RFC is one of the O2 touch centres that are dotted around the country in a bid to increase participation in the sport. That didn’t seem to help the local side against the well organised Oxford team.

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Chargers Chicks 1 – Thames Valley Vixens 0
This nip and tuck match up demonstrated how important good defence is in the game of touch, the Chargers doing just enough to steal the win.

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Rest of the pool fixture results

10:20 fixtures
Wigan Warriors 1 – Cambridge 3
CSSC Sirens 1 – No Balls Allowed Bristol 3
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Hoods 1 – Dublin Divas 1

Photo sets available on request.

10:40 fixtures
Mixers 7 – Purple Cobras 0

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11:00 fixtures
Kingswood Ladies 0 – Cambridge 6

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CSSC Siren 3 – Oxford Ladies 1

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Hoods 0 – Thames Valley Vixens 1

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11:20 fixtures
Wigan Warriors 1 – Purple Cobras 0
Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs 0 – No Balls Allowed Bristol 4

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Chargers Chicks 7 – Dublin Divas 0

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11:40 fixtures
Wigan Warriors 3 – Kingswood Ladies RFC 0

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12:00 fixtures
Mixers 2 – Cambridge 1
Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs 1 – CSSC Sirens 5

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12:20 fixtures
Kingswood Ladies RFC 0 – Purple Cobras 5
No Balls Allowed Bristol 3 – Oxford Ladies 0

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Chargers Chicks 3 – Hoods 0

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12:40 fixtures
Wigan Warriors 0 – Mixers 4
Purple Cobras 1 – Cambridge 1

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Dublin Divas 0 – Thames Valley Vixens 5

Photo sets available on request.

The results of the pool games meant the finals looked like this:

Cup

Quarter Final 1
Thames Valley Vixens – CSSC Sirens

Quarter Final 2
No Balls Allowed Bristol – Cambridge

Quarter Final 3
Mixers – Oxford

Quarter Final 4
Chargers Chicks – Wigan Warriors

Bowl

Bowl prelim semi-final 1
Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs – Dublin Divas

Bowl prelim semi-final 2
Dublin Divas – Kingswood Ladied RFC

After the pool matches were in the books an exhibition match took place between the Women’s England Open squad and the Women’s England Over 27’s.

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The W27s got in a score early, and gave the Open squad something to think about.

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They were not to be out done, and returned the favour right at the death.

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Those new to the game of touch rugby got to enjoy a showcase from some of the top players in the area, and were hopefully inspired to keep playing the game. Women’s England Open squad 1 – Women’s England Over 27’s 1.

Now it was time to get down to the business of the finals.

Quarter Final 1
Thames Valley Vixens 5 – CSSC Sirens 0
The Vixens continued on their winning ways after their opening game defeat. The team were now clicking, putting away a convincing win over the Sirens.

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Quarter Final 2
No Balls Allowed Bristol 3 – Cambridge 0
The Bristol team had not dropped any games coming into this quarter final, and were keen not to break that run. Cambridge were unable to put one past their opposition, highlighting the effective defence they were pitted against.

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Photo sets available on request.

Quarter Final 3
Mixers 4 – Oxford 1
As one of the early favourites the Mixers quarter final game went with form.
Oxford gave it their all, but again came up short.

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Quarter Final 4
Chargers Chicks 5 – Wigan Warriors 0
The Chargers also had a perfect record before the whistle blew to start quarter final 4, while the Warriors had won and lost an equal amount of games. The Northern team brought heart to the fight, but were outclassed by the team from Manchester.

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The unsuccessful teams from the Cup quarter finals had the opportunity to battle it out for the Plate.

Plate semi-final 1
CSSC Sirens 1 – Cambridge 2

Plate semi-final 2
Oxford 4 – Wigan 1

Bowl

Bowl prelim semi-final 1
Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs 2 – Dublin Divas 1
Fourth in pool B took on fourth in pool C. Each team knew they had to make every attack count, but the Cheetahs finished the game having registered the vital deciding try.

Bowl prelim semi-final 2
Dublin Divas 10 – Kingswood Ladies RFC 0
The losers from prelim semi final 1 took on the fifth place pool A team

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By this point in the tournament, teams had been playing for most of the day. Kingswood found it hard to keep the Dublin attack at bay while trying to keep the learning curve as shallow as possible.

Bowl semi-final 1
Chippenham-Bath Cheetahs 2 – Hoods 0
The Hoods position after the pool stages meant that they earned the right to face the winners of the Bowl prelim semi final 1. This match went the same way as the Chippenham’s previous game with the notable exception being they kept a clean sheet.

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Bowl semi-final 2
Dublin Divas 1 – Purple Cobras 0
Fourth in pool A played the winner of the prelim semi-final 2.
The Cobras were more formidable opposition for Dublin, providing an entertaining close game.

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Bowl Final
The Bowl final featured Chippenham-Bath Ladies against Purple Cobras
The home team made the most of the opportunity to appear in the final. The Cobras had no answer to the scores made by the local team, and went down 2 – 0.

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Cup semi-finals
The Thames valley Vixens met No Balls Allowed Bristol in the first Cup semi-final. The teams had proven their ability via the earlier rounds, now they had to determine who could maintain consistency at a higher level.

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No Balls Allowed had shown that they had a robust defence throughout the tournament. The Vixens had started to rack up scores on teams they had defeated along the way.

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The game didn’t disappoint with Thames Valley just taking the win 3 – 2 against No Balls Allowed Bristol to advance to the Cup Final.

The second Cup semi-final saw the Mixers face off against Chargers Chicks. The Chargers didn’t have a point scored against them in the pool stages and were not shy of pouring on the points when the opportunity presented itself. The Mixers didn’t finish with a similar clean sheet during the pools stages, but were not far behind.

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The outcome of this match was not so balanced. The Chargers were only able to breakdown the opposition defence twice while the Mixers put the contest beyond doubt, scoring effectively to take the second semi final 5 – 2, and take the remaining spot in the Cup Final.

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Plate Final
Cambridge ‘She who dares trys’ 3 – Oxford Ladies1
Cambridge proved their quality throughout the day, and despite a score from Oxford Ladies were able to take the Plate final.

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The Cup Final

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The day culminated in the Cup Final. The two most successful teams of the day, the Thames Valley Vixens and the Mixers and made it to the last match.

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The Vixens threw themselves into the attack, and were able to unsettle the Mixers with two scores.

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Photo sets available on request.

The Mixers turned up the heat having no intention of passing up the opportunity to take the first Spring Chick touch rugby title. The Mixers were able to double the scoring efforts of the Vixens and lifted the Cup with a score line of 4 – 2.

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The tournament was run like clockwork, even arranging an appearance of the sun for the day. As first events go, instantly being the largest tournament in the UK was a great achievement. It was great advert for the game of touch rugby and you can bet the next tournament will be even better.

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Photo sets available on request.

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