Guernsey came away without a win at this year’s touch inter-insular as Jersey retained the trophy for the seventh time in the competition’s eight year history. The greens, who had nine new caps among the three teams, were minus a number of their more experienced players but had gone to Jersey hoping they would be ready for a challenge. ‘To lose all three was disappointing but Jersey deserved the win as they were the stronger side overall. We knew it was going to be tough as we had so many new players, we need to learn from our mistakes and improve on the things we did well,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward. ‘We have some younger players who are showing a natural ability for the sport and so hopefully we can combine their speed and enthusiasm with the experience and expertise of some of the older players and be in a much stronger position on home soil next year.’
The final of Guernsey Touch’s Channel Islands Club Championship was an all visitor affair with Jersey team The Islanders taking on London-based Hot Custard. The London-based side, which bought two teams to the island, was looking to make it a hat-trick of victories having previously won the one day tournament in 2011 and 2014. The three visiting teams and five from Guernsey were split into two pools and competed in a round robin in the morning to determine the contenders for the cup and bowl competitions in the afternoon. ‘This was the eighth Channel Islands Club Championship and so it was great to have three visiting teams taking part. Not only does that give the local teams exposure to a higher standard of touch but it also brings visitors to Guernsey,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.
Guernsey will have nine new players representing the island at this year’s touch inter-insular which takes place in Jersey on Saturday. The annual fixture has been dominated by Jersey wins with the greens taking the overall title just once since the first inter-insular in 2008. Although they will be playing away from home, Guernsey Touch coach Ollie Ward was confident the mixed, men’s and ladies teams were ready for the challenge. ‘For a number of reasons including a wedding and family commitments, we haven’t been able to call upon some of the more experienced players but that allows us to give new, younger players the chance to really make an impact,’ he said.
London-based Hot Custard will be returning to Guernsey this weekend to defend their title at Guernsey Touch’s Channel Islands Club Championship. The team won the tournament, which is open to local teams as well as those from off-island, in 2011 and 2014. They will be looking to make it a hat-trick at the Memorial Field on Saturday and are bringing two teams across to increase their chances of victory. Jersey-based team The Islanders will be the third off-island team and are bringing a number of up and coming youth players to take part in what is the eighth Channel Islands Club Championship.
This weekend Guernsey Touch is bringing an experienced New Zealand coach over to the island to run training sessions for players. Jason Jacobs played for Tatau Tatau Touch which dominated New Zealand and world touch for a number of years. He represented Otago in touch and played sevens and rugby at a national level. A serious injury ended his playing career but since then he has coached the Japanese regional team and is a now a golf caddy to some of the greatest golfers in the world. Training sessions will be held from 6pm - 7pm on Thursday evening at St Peter Port School, on Saturday from 9am - 1pm at St Peter Port School and Sunday from 9am - 1pm and will be suitable for all levels of experience. This weekend will also see the teams chosen to play against Jersey in this year’s inter-insular on 11th July. Anyone wanting more information can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Six teams have yet to lose a game after four weeks of action in the KPMG Touch Summer League. In mixed 1, the Polygon Pumas are currently unbeaten with 12 points and have scored an impressive 35 touchdowns so far. The Healthspan Harlequins are second on eight points having won two games and Electric Shocks and Galaxy are both on six points having won a game each, with the Shocks ahead on touchdown difference. Mixed 2 is a closer battle with Source and JGA both on 10 points with three wins each but Source are ahead on touchdown difference. Dam Busters are not far behind on eight points with two wins under their wings with Intertrust still looking for their first win.
Guernsey Touch has added a youth division to the KPMG Touch Summer League which will see more than 350 players competing. The addition of the youth league, which is part of the sport’s development plans, means the 11th Summer League will see mixed, men’s, ladies, business and youth teams taking part. ‘The sport’s popularity means that the committee is always looking at ways to meet the demand from players and our move to KGV has given us the ability to put into action plans that we have been talking out for a number of years,’ said Guernsey Touch development officer Tristan Boscher. ‘Last year, we added a business league to attract new teams who wanted to play at a social level and this year’s addition of a youth division means that we are now able to attract players from the ages of eight right up into their 50s.’
Youngsters from the ages of eight to 16 now have the chance to get involved with touch. Guernsey Touch has appointed a youth development officer and this season will see the introduction of the KPMG Youth League for boys and girls. ‘Touch is an incredibly popular sport in Guernsey and we have had lots of requests from youngsters who have wanted to take part in the KPMG Summer and Autumn Leagues. Although it doesn’t involve tackling of any kind, it is still a contact sport which is played at a fast pace and so from a safety perspective, we’ve had to say no,’ said Tristan Boscher, who has taken on the youth development officer role. ‘But the desire to have a youth league has always been there and the committee recognises that it’s an integral part to ensuring the future success of the sport. It’s 10 years since the first competitive Guernsey Touch leagues and so it’s fitting that we have taken this next step in opening up the sport to even more people.’
This year’s KPMG Touch Super League saw Challengers take the title with a convincing 12 – 4 victory. The six week league was introduced in 2012 as a season opener with players registering as individuals and then divided into teams. ‘As well as meeting the demand from players who wanted to start playing as early in the season as possible, the aim was to raise the standard across every level of the sport. By mixing experienced players with those who may have only played for one season, we are can share knowledge which is then shared again with teams in the KPMG Summer League,’ said Guernsey Touch league co-ordinator Chris Goddard. ‘That aim has been highlighted this year as we have seen players who started playing in the first business league last year being in the same Super League team as those who have represented Guernsey at an international level. They will have learnt more playing alongside them for six weeks than a coach could have taught them.’