be social

2014 has been another positive year for referee development in Guernsey with another 18 players passing their assessments to become Level 1 referees, bringing the number of qualified referees to 41. 'It's been a great year for the referee,' said director of referees, Chris Wrigley. 'All the referees are also players so during the Summer League they all play at least two games a night and then referee a further game, sometimes two. Without their dedication then the sport over here just wouldn't be able to progress, so they all deserve a massive thank you from all the participants of the sport.' To recognise the commitment of referees, Guernsey Touch has introduced a Referee of the Season award which was presented at the finals night of Summer League to Daniel Hainsworth.

Guernsey Touch has ended its 10th anniversary year which has seen it move to a new home, secure a three year sponsor, introduce a business league and improve its European rankings. The sport now has around 350 players taking part in the KPMG sponsored Summer and Autumn Leagues. On Sunday, the KPMG Touch Autumn League came to a close with 433 touchdowns being scored over the eight week league. ‘It’s hard to believe that it is 10 years since touch was first introduced to the island. In 2004, there was just a handful of people playing social touch on a weekly basis and now we have three different leagues, the annual inter-insular, beach touch, a tournament attracting visiting teams and players and referees going away to represent the island.’ This year’s KPMG Touch Autumn League attracted 16 teams across the mixed, men’s and ladies divisions over eight weeks – a significant increase on the first league in 2005 when just six teams took part.

Guernsey finished eighth at last weekend’s European Touch Championships in Wales. The island was one of 16 nations taking part in the biennial event which is the biggest touch competition in Europe and saw 52 teams compete over four days. Seeded ninth ahead of the tournament, the team eventually finished one place higher in eighth. Day one saw the group games and Guernsey was the first team to play, taking to field one for a game against Wales, who were always going to be contenders for a finals place. The hosts used their home advantage to score seven in the first half with Guernsey Touch’s coaching director Ollie Ward scoring two diving touchdowns on the back of two well worked set plays. Wales, who eventually finished third, repeated their performance in the second half scoring another seven to give them 14 and Guernsey could only manage one in reply with Iain Thomson diving for the line to score on his international debut.

Guernsey will be one of 16 nations taking part in this weekend’s European Touch Championships. The biennial event, which is the biggest touch competition in Europe, will see 52 teams competing over four days at the University of Swansea fields. Guernsey has been drawn in pool C alongside hosts Wales, Jersey and Italy. ‘We’re taking a very different team to the team we took to the Euros in 2012 with only four from that side going to Swansea and another seven players who have never played at international level before,’ said Guernsey Touch player coach Ollie Ward. ‘We’ve lost some very strong players but in turn have welcomed back others who have taken a break from competing at that level and their experience will be invaluable. Hopefully those newer players will learn an enormous amount from being at the tournament which will complement what they have learnt in training and mean they will become key players who we can build future island teams around.’

This year’s KPMG Touch Summer League saw the 29 teams taking part score more than 1,000 touchdowns over the 12 week competition. The season saw a number of changes for the sport with a new sponsor in KPMG, a new home at KGV and the introduction of a corporate league to encourage new players to take part. ‘This was our 10th season and so it was fitting that we were able to celebrate that with a new three year sponsorship with KPMG in place, a new and hopefully permanent home, which is something we have wanted for so long and a way for new and more social teams to get involved in what is undoubtedly the fastest growing sport in recent years,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Katrina Bray. ‘It’s been a fantastic season, there have been some extremely close games over the last 12 weeks and it was literally the last games of the season to decide four of the five titles. It all bodes well for the future.’

Touch players swapped grass fields for sand at the fifth beach touch tournament held for the first time at Pembroke. The event, which was sponsored by Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, saw eight mixed teams enter, some which play in the KPMG Summer Touch League and others put together for the day. Divided into two groups, the teams played each once before semi-finals and finals. ‘Historically, we have held the tournament at Vazon but this year, we moved to Pembroke because of the sandracing and it worked really well as a venue. The aim of the beach touch tournament is threefold as it gives players a more social tournament to play in, allows them to form one-off teams if they want to and more importantly makes the sport more visible to a wider audience which will hopefully lead to new people wanting to get involved,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Katrina Bray.

Guernsey Touch Race Night - Friday 1st August £10 a ticket which includes food. Reserve a table (minimum of six people) or buy tickets individually. £1 a bet with generous odds and the usual well-stocked and well-priced bar. "At the races" fancy dress optional but prizes for the best dressed. Horses will be on sale at the KPMG Touch Summer League with cash prizes for the owners of the winning horses. All money raised goes to Guernsey Touch. Email annailes@ymail.com to buy your tickets!

Beach Touch - Saturday 12th July 11am - 1pm at Pembroke. Kindly sponsored by Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management. Mixed teams with five on the pitch at any one time. Each team asked to supply one referee. Just £10 a team to register. Email tournaments@guernseytouch.org.gg to get involved!

Hot Custard returned to Guernsey after a two year absence and scooped the trophy at last weekend’s KPMG Channel Islands’ Championship. Having previously won in 2011, Hot Custard was one of two English teams taking part in the one day touch event, with both teams winning all of their round robin games. ‘This is the seventh year we have held a tournament which is open to off-island teams. It was launched in 2008 to provide local teams the opportunity of playing different teams in a one day, competitive tournament and we are delighted that each year, we get teams coming over to take part,’ said Katrina. ‘Saturday’s weather was perfect for a touch tournament as there was just enough wind to keep the temperature down but it was warm enough for people to enjoy watching. There was some excellent games of touch and everyone seems to have enjoyed it.’

Guernsey had to settle with just one victory in this year’s touch inter-insular as Jersey retained the title with victory in the ladies and mixed games. Unveiling Guernsey’s new KPMG-branded kit, the ladies were the first to play and Jersey’s defence proved impossible to break. They scored three times in the first half, the first coming from a switch five metres from the line, the second from a scoop and the third through a fast-paced attack. In the second half, Jersey scored four more to end the game 7 – 0. Natasha Eastwood scored four of Jersey’s touchdowns, Una O’Murchu scored two and Ellen Richings scored one. O’Murchu was named Jersey’s MVP with Justeen Baker taking the Guernsey award.

This month looks set to be the busiest of the touch season with the KPMG Touch Summer League reaching the halfway point and the inter-insular and the Channel Islands Championship taking place. ‘Normally the inter-insular is held in August but both Guernsey Touch and Jersey Touch have the European Championship in Wales at the beginning of August so we’re bringing the inter-insular forward to June. It means it’s going to be an extremely busy month but an exciting one for all involved in the sport,’ said chair Katrina Bray. The inter-insular will be held at the Memorial Field on 21st June and will see the islands compete in mixed, men’s and ladies games. Guernsey has only won the overall title once in 2012 and is hoping home advantage will help them win again this year.

Titans were crowned the winner of the KPMG Touch Super League after going undefeated in all their games. The team had secured their place in the final after topping the league with 16 points from four wins and two draws. Their opposition was decided with a semi-final between Chargers and Raiders who had both finished the round robin stage with 10 points having each won one, drawn two and lost three. The game ended in a 5 – 2 victory for Raiders with Charger’s touchdowns came from Andy Akram and Alec Bailey and there were two each for Raiders players Adam Greening and Sam Pritchard and one from Matt Brehaut. The final, on the 3G pitch at KGV which is the new home of Guernsey Touch, was a competitive game of touch. Titans defence proved to be the deciding factor in the game and repeatedly kept Raiders from reaching the touchdown zone.

Guernsey Touch is pleased to announce that the KPMG Touch Summer League 2014 will start on Wednesday 14 May and run every Wednesday evening throughout the summer at the KGV until 30 July. All the details can be found below: Business/ social league Following on from our recent announcements, we are pleased to confirm the launch of the first business/ social division within the Summer League. The division is open to mixed teams who are predominantly made up of players who are new to the sport. Teams registering in this division are not required to supply a referee, although if anyone is interested in volunteering please do let us know! Read on below for details on how to register your team.

This year's beach touch tournament, sponsored by Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, will be on Saturday 12th July. Starting at 11am at Pembroke Bay, this fun tournament is open to mixed teams of all abilities. Played as round robin with semi-finals and finals, this is a great way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. Hopefully the sun will be shining and players (and their families) can make a day of it. Usual rules apply but the game is played barefoot. For more information please get in contact!

The Guernsey Touch quiz on Friday 28th March was a huge success so thanks to everyone who came along and supported it. We raised just over £700 which will be used to continue the development of sport in the island. The move to a permanent home at KGV is coming at a significantly increased cost and so in order to keep player registration fees as low as possible, additional fundraising will be vital. The Guernsey Touch committee want to thank Rollo and Lindsay (Hendie) de Sausmarez for all their effort in putting the quiz together and being the compere as well as to Anna Iles for organising it. We'll let you know more details about future fundraisers as and when we have finalised details.

Learn to play nights for teams wanting to take part in the new corporate division of the KPMG Touch Summer League start on Wednesday 16th April at KGV. Guernsey Touch coaches will be on hand to give teams a basic understanding of the rules and teach some simple attacking and defensive moves. The corporate division is aimed at mixed teams who are new to the sport and may not want to compete at the same level as our existing KPMG Summer Touch League.

The first night of the KPMG Touch Super League saw the Titans win both its games. Playing for the first time at the sport’s new home at KGV and with a new sponsor in the form of KPMG in place, the first league of the season saw the three teams taking part each scoring touchdowns. ‘Passion for the sport has meant that we have had to increase the number of opportunities for players to play at a competitive level. We originally started with a 12-week summer league, quickly added an eight-week autumn league to finish the season and then in 2012, added the touch super league as the season opener,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Katrina Bray.

This year, Guernsey Touch would like to introduce a new business league to the summer season which is aimed at mixed teams who are new to the sport and may not want to compete at the same level as our existing KPMG Summer Touch League. The league will be open to mixed teams who have not taken part in either or summer or autumn leagues and are predominantly made up of players who are new to the sport. We accept that some existing players may decide to put together a work team and want to play in it and this will be accepted providing the large majority are new players. While it is being called a business league, we will not be strict about whether all the players work for one particular company. The idea is to get some new teams into the sport and playing in a league alongside teams who have a similar level of experience.

GUERNSEY Touch has agreed a three year sponsorship deal with KPMG Channel Islands. The agreement sees KPMG become the sole sponsor of the sport, which was launched in Guernsey 10 years ago. ‘The sport is one of the fastest growing in the island and started in 2004 when around a dozen players started playing. The first summer league took place in 2005 with just 12 teams and we now have a super league, summer league and autumn league, more than 350 players, tournaments and a successful record of representing the island at international tournaments,’ said chair Katrina Bray. ‘Securing a three year sponsorship deal with KPMG will allow us to continue building on that success. Their support will be absolutely invaluable and it’s an exciting time for them to be involved as we will also be moving to a new venue which we hope will be a permanent home for the sport.’

The KPMG Touch Super League is open to all players who have competed in at least one previous summer league, and is designed to improve the standard of touch in Guernsey by mixing players of different abilities and encouraging those more experienced players to pass on their skills. Teams will be selected and trained by Guernsey Touch coaches, and we hope to build on the success of the past two years to create the best and most competitive Super League yet! The important details can be found below: When (training sessions): Sunday mornings 9.30 till 11.30, from 2 March to 27 April (except Easter Sunday 20 April) When (league matches): Monday evenings 6.30 onwards, from 24 March to 28 April inclusive (except Easter Monday 21 April, when the league night moves to Tuesday 22 April) Where: KGV playing fields, the new home of Guernsey Touch! Entry fee: £25 per player (includes playing shirt which you get to keep)

Friday 28th March 2014 at Les Cotils 7pm start with first round beginning at 7.30pm £65 for a team of six which includes plentiful Ploughman's Supper That's right, the fundraising highlight of the Guernsey Touch calendar makes a welcome return on Friday 28th March. The Guernsey Touch quiz is a guaranteed night of fun, entertaining quiz questions, a unique and usually interactive bonus round and a well-stocked (and well-priced!) bar. We also have a raffle and prizes already confirmed include flights, massages and clothes vouchers. The legend that is Rollo de Sausmarez will be your compere for what is an unmissable night. Tickets, which cost £65 for a table of six, can be purchased from Anna Iles by emailing annailes@ymail.com

The Channel Islands' Championship will take place on Saturday 28th June 2014 at the Memorial Field, St Peter Port. The one day tournament will be open to mixed teams and player registration is £25 which includes lunch, dinner and first drink at the evening event. If you're interested in knowing more about the tournament or if you're from outside of the island and are keen to know more about getting to the island and where to stay then please get in touch by emailing info@guernseytouch.org.gg More details will be confirmed closer to the time.

Guernsey Touch has exciting news about a new sponsor and a new home. The information has been exclusively emailed to players and media announcements will be made shortly. If you haven't received the email then please let us know at info@guernseytouch.org.gg so we can check our database.

28th March - touch quiz at Les Cotils 31st March - Super League starts 14th May - Summer League starts 28th June - CI Championship 12th July - Beach Touch 30th July - Summer League finals We'll be in touch later this month with more details when we will hopefully have some exciting news about sponsors and venues!!