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2017 touch season is underway

More than 300 players have signed up to take part in this year’s KPMG Touch Summer League.

The 12 week league starts on Wednesday evening at KGV and will once again see a mixed, men’s, women’s and corporate divisions.

‘Every year, we have new players becoming involved in the sport and that’s great to see as invariably there are those who retire, choose not to play or who have moved away from the island. To continue having more than 300 people involved in the sport is a sign of its ongoing popularity,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

‘KPMG has extended its sponsorship of the sport and their invaluable support allows us to invest in the sport, train players and referees, have access to the ever improving facilities at KGV, represent Guernsey at tournaments and most importantly keep registration fees reasonable so that touch continues to be accessible to all. The great thing about touch is that you can play competitively or socially and alongside partners, family, friends and colleagues. Not many sports can offer that.’

The 2017 season started with the KPMG Super League where players register as individuals and then teams of equal standard are created. This year, after a round robin league, Jets secured their place in the final by finishing top with Pistons and Rockets taking part in the semi-final. Pistons won 12 – 9 but then lost to the Jets 11 – 6 in the final. Gemma Langlois from Jets and Garth Owen from Rockets were named most valuable players for the league.

‘The aim of the KPMG Super League is to bring players together onto the same team who normally play against each other. They then learn from one another and take those newly acquired skills back to their summer league teams and help them improve. It’s a good way to open the season ahead of the main event which is the KPMG Summer League,’ said Ward.

Source will be defending their titles in the mixed, men’s and women’s divisions having won the trophies in both 2015 and 2016. Six teams – Electric Shocks, Guernsey under 18s touch team, Healthspan Harlequins, JGA, KPMG and Source – compete in the mixed league. Electric Shocks, Healthspan Hurricanes, Intertrust Iguanas, JGA, KPMG, PwC, Source and The Christies Exiles make up the men’s league with Healthspan Hawks, JGA, Oracle Hot Panths, Shockettes and Source in the women’s.

The corporate league sees 11 teams taking part – Aon Avengers, BWCI Bandits, GRA Under 15s, Intertrust Iguanas, Investec Zebras, IPES, PwC, Specsavers Sharks, State Street Sharks, The Untouchables and Trust Corporation Titans.

‘Some of the sport’s strongest players started in the corporate league and so that’s an essential part of the development. It provides the opportunity to get involved in touch at a social level and then progress if the desire is there,’ said Ward.

A youth league will also be running and the number of participants has increased again with two leagues, one for seven to 11 year olds and one for 12 – 16 year olds, running on a Sunday morning.

‘There is still the opportunity to get involved in the youth leagues and it’s open to both boys and girls whether they have played lots of touch or may only have had a taster session through school. The passion for rugby at a school age level has grown considerably thanks to the hard work of the GRA and lots of those youngsters are enjoying the chance to play touch during the summer,’ said Ward.

Training and learn to play sessions will be held at KGV from 9am – 12 on Sunday 21st May and Sunday 4th June before a round robin league and then finals on 16th July. Anyone wanting to know more about the youth league can contact youth@guernseytouch.org.gg

The rest of the 2017 touch season will include the annual inter-insular against Jersey, an international tournament in France, a one day mixed tournament in Guernsey and a youth team representing the island at the Youth Euros.

‘It’s a considerable amount of work to make it all happen and it would be great to get more people involved on the committee, whether they have played touch before or not, to help and drive the sport forward,’ said Ward.

If anyone is interested in getting more involved with touch please email info@guernseytouch.org.gg