Bandar Seri Begawan - Brunei's first-ever women only touch tournament was held on Feb 16 at the Panaga Club in Seria. Eight teams from Brunei-Muara and Belait participated in the event which was hosted by local women's touch team, the KB Scorpions.
Tournament organiser and KB Scorpions coach, Cathy Hadfield, was pleased with the turnout. "I'm really happy to see so many girls here playing touch today. Touch a fantastic sport for women, involving communication, team work, agility and fitness. And it's a lot of fun!"
Touch is a minimal contact sport that is derived from rugby. just like traditional rugby, the aim of the game is to score tries. However, there are no tackles or scrums. Players simply touch an opposition 'team member on any -part of their body, clothing or even the ball to register a 'touch'. Each team gets six touches to attempt to score a try before the ball is turned over.
Touch is a major growth sport for women in Brunei, both at senior and junior levels. UBD fielded two teams at Saturday's tournament, the UBD Mudsharks and the UBD Hammerheads, while Politeknik Brunei was able to field four full teams.
The game is also played at a junior level in many primary and secondary schools across the country as part of the Co-Curricular Activities programme.
"The standard of Women's Touch is improving rapidly in Brunei. We've seen some fast-paced, skilled and competitive matches here at the tournament today. We'd really love to see Brunei joining the Federation of International Touch so Bruneian touch players have the opportunity to participate in international tournaments, particularly in the Asean region. The talent is definitely there," said the KB Scorpions coach.
Each team in Saturday's 'Something for the Ladies' Tournament played 3 pool matches. Pool A was won by the UBD Mudsharks while the KB Scorpions came out on top of Pool B.
The two pool winners met in the final, which pitted the Scorpion's determined and consistent defence against the skilled, free-flowing ball handling of the Mudsharks'.
The match was tense, fast-paced and competitive but ultimately the KB Scorpions won out 3-0 against an undermanned Mudsharks. The Scorpions celebrated their win in front of a crowd of around 100 spectators.
"We're thrilled to be the winners here today at Brunei's first ever women's only touch tournament," said Lucy Knowles, captain of the KB Scorpions.
Shimah Ali, captain of the UBD Mudsharks, was upbeat about their defeat. "Of course we're a little disappointed to have missed out on the win, but we've had a great day playing touch and we're really happy that we made the final. The tournament was very well organised and the whole event has been a lot of fun. We'll be back to compete again at the next women's tournament."
An awards presentation was held after the final whistle. Winners and runners-up each received a medal and the KB Scorpions also took home a brand new touch ball.
Additionally, outstanding individual players were also acknowledged. Iddatul Akmah Haji Ismail of the UBD Hammerheads was named 'Player of the Day' while Haziqah binti Zainul Ariffin of Polyteknik Brunei won the 'Up and Coming New Player' award. Both girls received new touch balls.