Hawks soaring high as touch rugby team clinch England title at University of Bath

02 April 2017

The University of Bath Hawks touch rugby team capped an outstanding season by winning the final leg of the England Touch Universities Series on home soil to be crowned as overall Series Champions.

Hawks beat Exeter University 5-2 in a high-tempo and exciting final at Claverton Down on Saturday to exact revenge for their semi-final defeat in round three of the series and take the silverware.

Proud captain Dom Tripp, an England international and Sport & Exercise Science student, said: “The squad have worked really hard for this and I thought they were awesome today – I couldn’t have asked for any more from anyone.

“We were obviously disappointed with how things worked out last time in Loughborough and felt we had a bit of a point to prove on our home turf.”

Hawks went into the final tournament of the academic year top of the series standings and started the day strongly with a 7-0 win over Cardiff Students. Bath were in a smaller group due to a late drop-out from another team, which meant their 13-0 win over Surrey University put them straight into the semi-finals.

A dominant win over Exeter 2nds set up a repeat of the round two final on the sun-soaked Limekiln pitches and the large crowd were not to be disappointed. Hawks came out of blocks firing and led 3-1 at half-time but Exeter hit back with a well-worked touchdown to keep the pressure on the hosts.

University of Bath Hawks celebrate after winning the English Touch Universities Series in April 2017
University of Bath Hawks pop the champagne corks after winning the England Touch Universities Series

Hawks showed their class to remain composed as the second half went on and were able to close out a captivating match to claim their first Universities’ Series title.

Exeter had reached the final by topping their group with wins over Bristol, Oxford and invitational club team CSSC before enjoying a semi-final success against Loughborough University, who had beaten Bath 2nds in the group stages.

Loughborough won the third-placed play-off against Exeter 2nds and CSSC won the plate competition. The bowl competition was a three-way round-robin due to the reduced team numbers and Southampton University were the winners, beating Oxford and Surrey to the title.

Saturday’s tournament marks the end of the universities season and coincides with elections for university sports club committees. England International Bronte Sykes, a first-year Psychology student, will be taking over as touch coordinator in 2017-18.

“Being crowned University Touch Series champs was an incredible way to finish what has been a hugely successful season for the Hawks, and an even better send off to the final-year students,” she said.

“Next year definitely won’t be the same without them but I’m really looking forward to taking over as touch coordinator and welcoming some new talent to the Hawks.”

Click here to find out more about touch rugby at the University of Bath.

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