But it was local team Playin’ Up who secured their place in the tournament’s history books, as they clinched the Men’s title of Middle East Touch Champions 2016 for the third year in a row.
The team, under the captaincy of Nathan Movehu, played five games in a thrilling day of action, before securing their place in the final where they went on to beat Goodfellas by 4-1.
Did you play on Friday?
Other winners on the day included:
– WOMEN’S – London Galaxy (Marnie Wells player of the tournament)
– MIXED – Thunderbolts (Dylan Hennessey player of the tournament)
– VETS – ME Fit Pro (Greg Cambell player of the tournament)
– MEN’S – Playin’ Up (Nathan Morehu player of the tournament)
For the first time this year, the tournament – held at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club – opened itself up to not only social players, but elite and youth players as well.
World-renowned Australian international, Dylan Hennessey, alongside New Zealand International, Peter Walters, upped the ante and helped the tournament reach a new, higher level of play by taking part in their respective teams, the Thunderbolts and Galaxy Worldwide.
With a new Centre of Excellence for Touch in Dubai and a boost in grassroots’ programmes in Abu Dhabi over the past year, it was fitting that the tournament incorporated a youth competition as well.
John Larkins, the tournament founder, said: “This year’s tournament has been outstanding – the level of competition has been fantastic, proving there’s huge appetite for the game in the Middle East and really justifying our focus on grassroots programmes. By focusing on junior and youth development in schools, we can get more and more pupils interested in the game.
“I’m astounded each year by the support this tournament receives, not only from the players and referees, but the families and friends as well who come along to soak up the atmosphere and see what touch is all about. Having the support of Dylan and Peter this year was the icing on the cake. I know their passion for the game rubbed off on everyone here and I’m confident they’ll come again to help me take the sport to the next level in the UAE.”