March 14, 2022 9.36 am

Lincoln win inaugural Mike Beard Lincolnshire Touch Shield

A special match against Isle Touch Rugby

Tries from Emma Jorden, Ella Frow, Gail Hunter and debutant Finn Clements saw Lincoln Touch beat Isle Touch Rugby 4-3 in the first ever Mike Beard Lincolnshire Touch Shield.

The match held at Lincoln Rugby Club on Saturday, March 12 commemorated the life of a special man – Mike Beard – who tragically died when his bike collided with a bus in the city nearly seven years ago.

Mike set up Lincoln Touch back in 2012 with just four members and the now thriving team currently has up to 30 regular players through the winter, and 40-50 in the summer, as Mike’s legacy lives on in Lincoln.

The two captains – Matt Wilkinson and Maksim Lema – with the Mike Beard Lincolnshire Touch Shield. | Photo: Samuel Roylance

The shield on a special bench at Lincoln Rugby Club, which is dedicated to Mike Beard who founded Lincoln Touch. | Photo: Rob Smith

Before Saturday’s match kicked off Lincoln player and coach Rob Smith talked about memories of Mike and what he meant to the club.

Isle Touch opened the scoring with tries from Seb Chorlton and Tom Keyworth, and put Lincoln on the back foot for most of the first half.

Lincoln hit back with three unanswered tries from Jorden, Clements and Frow to give the hosts a narrow lead going in at the break.

Rob Smith in action for Lincoln Touch. | Photo: Claire Simpson

Gail Hunter scoring the winning try for Lincoln. | Photo: Samuel Roylance

Isle started the second half strongly and scored an early breakaway try through Dave Snell to level the score at 3-3.

Both sides were enjoying good spells of possession, but it was Lincoln who came up with the decisive score from Hunter after a quick play near the try line 10 minutes from time.

Dave Snell was among the try scorers for Isle Touch Rugby. | Photo: Ian Chorlton

Tom Keyworth in action for Isle Touch Rugby against Lincoln. | Photo: Ian Chorlton

Isle had chances to level the score and take the game to extra time, but Lincoln’s defence held firm with some try saving touches in a nail-biting finish.

Samuel Roylance, who took over as head of Lincoln Touch after his close friend Mike’s tragic death, said: “I was really impressed with the game play from Isle Touch, having not played a match against another team under the new Touch rules. They really made Lincoln work hard for the win.”

Both sides huddled together on a special day to remember the life of Mike Beard. | Photo: Samuel Roylance

Lincoln’s Sam Richmond making the touch to stop Isle player Seb Chorlton. | Photo: Ian Chorlton

Samuel added: “Lincoln Touch really put their all to win the first Mike Beard Lincolnshire Touch Shield. Overall it was a really good day of Touch and development for both teams, with links formed with a fellow ETA Touch club in Lincolnshire.

“If other clubs in Lincolnshire want to play touch with Lincoln Touch or Isle Touch we encourage them to contact us via our social media pages, and we’ll welcome them into the sport through England Touch Association.”

Samuel Roylance, Matt Wilkinson, Warren Steele, and Maksim Lema on the day of the first ever Mike Beard Lincolnshire Touch Shield match. | Photo: Samuel Roylance

Becky Clark in action for Isle Touch Rugby. | Photo: Ian Chorlton

Isle Touch Rugby are coming to the end of their fourth year after being launched by Warren Steele and three other players in a community park in Belton in North Lincolnshire.

The club has grown to around 30 players, catering for mixed male/female sessions, and is now based at their newer headquarters in Epworth.

Warren Steele, one of the founders of Isle Touch Rugby, pictured with Lincoln Touch captain Maksim Lema. | Photo: Samuel Roylance

After the match against Lincoln, Warren said: “Playing against Lincoln Touch in the first ever Mike Beard Lincolnshire Touch Shield tournament was an absolute honour for Isle Touch Rugby.

“Whilst we lost the match, a tournament was cemented for the development of Touch Rugby across Lincolnshire in Mike’s memory and friends were made on the rugby pitch.”