be social

Guernsey finished ahead of the host nation at the recent Junior Touch Championship in Holland. The island was one of nine different nations taking part in the three day tournament with Guernsey, which was made up of 13 players aged between 13 and 17, being one of eight teams competing in the under 18 competition. ‘The tournament was established two years ago to give under 18 players the opportunity to represent their country and play competitive touch against their peers. It was a great three days, the team equipped themselves well and put in a strong performance,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward, who travelled to Arnhem near Amsterdam with the team. ‘The home nations are incredibly strong in every age group and it’s no exception at junior level. They all have very established, and well-funded, development programmes and that showed.’

Both visiting teams made the cup final in Guernsey Touch’s Channel Islands Club Championship. Hot Custard, who had previously won the tournament in 2011 and 2014, were hoping to win back the title after losing to Jersey team The Islander’s last year. They were joined at the one day mixed tournament by fellow London team CSSC Phantoms on their first trip to Guernsey. ‘Having the UK teams really adds something to the tournament which also attracted some of the local teams who were bolstered by players from other teams, the Guernsey youth team and a group of players who made up a one-off side. It’s also a great day which has just the right balance of competitive touch and social interaction. The weather, which fortunately has always been on our side, certainly helped,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

Source made it three out of three for the second year running by winning the mixed, men’s and women’s divisions in this year’s KPMG Touch Summer League. The Try Babies, the Guernsey under 18 team, and Investec Zebras also took home silverware by winning the Business A and Business B leagues. ‘Finals night was as competitive as ever and there were some really close games,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward. ‘We’ve seen over 300 players taking part in the league and hundreds of touchdowns scored over the 12 weeks. Putting on a league of this size, ensuring every game has referees, that the pitches are marked, scorecards are ready and all the other necessary administration is a huge undertaking for the committee who are all volunteers but it’s very rewarding when we see the standard of touch being played.’

Guernsey will be represented for the first time at the Junior Touch Championship this weekend, which will see nine different nations take part. The annual tournament, which began in 2014, was established to give under 18 players the opportunity to represent their country and play against their peers. This weekend’s tournament in Arnhem will see three under 18 competitions – girls, boys and mixed, and an under 15 mixed division. Guernsey will be one of eight teams competing in the under 18 mixed team. ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for our up and coming players to compete internationally, play competitive touch against their peer group and learn new skills which they can hone as they get the chance to play in the senior island teams,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

London touch team Hot Custard is returning to the island this weekend hoping to win back the title at Guernsey Touch’s Channel Islands Club Championship. Last year, the side bought two teams to the one day tournament which they previously won in 2011 and 2014. The teams drew each other in the cup semi-finals with Hot Custard 1 victorious and facing Jersey’s The Islanders in a fiercely competitive final which saw the Channel Island team winning 5 – 4. ‘Hot Custard is a well-known team at tournaments across the UK as they always play incredibly competitive touch but also fully embrace the social side of the sport. The whole aim of the Channel Islands Club Championship is to give our local teams the opportunity to play against new teams, who often bring very strong sides, and of course show off the island as well,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

Source is looking to retain its trio of titles in the KPMG Touch Summer League which draws to a conclusion on Wednesday night. The long-standing touch team won the mixed, men’s and women’s divisions last year and will contend for the same titles at KGV. ‘It’s been great to see so many new players getting involved in the sport which is really positive for the future. We are always looking at ways we can evolve and improve which is why we have developed the opportunities at the grass roots level by encouraging more people to get involved with the business and youth leagues,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

A touch referee from Guernsey has been awarded the highest grade and been ranked ninth in Europe. Chris Wrigley, who is Guernsey Touch’s director of referees, and Dave Strawbridge were selected to officiate at the recent European Touch Championship in Jersey. On the penultimate day of the tournament, which saw 14 countries represented by more than 1,000 players involved, Wrigley received his upgrade to Level 5 – the highest grade available in Europe. Having been ranked ninth in Europe, he was then chosen to referee the senior mixed finals. ‘Chris and Dave are a credit to Guernsey and to the sport. They are exceptional referees who have committed considerable time to attain the qualifications and get the experience needed to be chosen to officiate international games,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

Guernsey Touch now needs to build on the experience of the European Touch Championship. A squad of 54 represented the island at the five day tournament, which took place in Jersey and saw 14 countries represented by more than 1,000 players with Guernsey playing in the mixed open, men’s open and women’s open categories. ‘The competition was really strong and we always knew it was going to be a challenging tournament. Across the three times, only a quarter of the players had experience of an international tournament and so they will have learnt an awful lot from the experience,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward. ‘The home nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have very professional set ups and so there will always be a gap between them and us. Our aim is to try and become the best of the rest and with lots of youngsters now involved at an island level, the sport has a bright future.’

Guernsey is sending a squad of 54 to represent the island at the European Touch Championship which gets underway on Wednesday. The five day tournament, which this year takes place in Jersey, sees 14 countries represented by more than 1,000 players with Guernsey playing in the mixed open, men’s open and women’s open categories. ‘It’s a fantastic event which brings together Europe’s best touch players so we’re looking forward to playing some highly competitive games and being able to watch and learn from some of the sport’s most elite players,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward. ‘Guernsey is the smallest country to compete in this event and so it’s fantastic to be taking such a large squad. Less than a quarter of the Guernsey players have played at an international touch tournament and so it is a relatively inexperienced team but everyone has trained hard and now it all needs to come together on the field, on the day.’

Maya Le Tissier will swap the football field for the touch pitch this weekend and be one of 14 new players to represent Guernsey at the touch inter-insular. The 14-year-old is the first Guernsey girl to be selected to play for an England football squad but started playing touch last year. ‘As touch is predominantly a summer sport, we see a lot of people who play football, cricket and rugby in the winter using it as a way of maintaining fitness and then realising how much they enjoy it and wanting to be involved at a representative level,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward. ‘To have 14 new island caps in a squad of 35 is really positive for the future of touch. We’ve had a period of change in recent years where players, who were instrumental in the earlier island teams, have retired and we’re now seeing new, younger players coming through as a result of Guernsey Touch’s efforts to introduce a youth league.’

Guernsey Touch is pleased to announce revised details of the much anticipated quiz night! This year sees us move from Les Cotils to the Grammar School. The quiz will be taking place on Friday 24th June. Doors open at 7pm and the quiz will start at 7:30pm. Quiz master Rollo de Sausmarez will once again be leading the quiz which will see dinner provided, competitively priced alcohol as well as a fantastic raffle. Tables of 6 are priced at £66. All profits will go back into the sport for local leagues as well as the up and coming European Championship. Book your table now, or ask any questions, by emailing Lynne Hamilton at lynnehamilton@hotmail.com

Guernsey will be represented at two European touch tournaments this summer. Three teams will head to the European Championship in Jersey in July and for the first time, Guernsey will also be represented at the Youth Euros in Amsterdam in August. The players will be amongst more than 350 taking part in this year’s KPMG Touch Summer League which starts on Wednesday.