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Challengers live up to their name as they win KPMG Touch Super League

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.’
In the first game of the KPMG Touch League finals night, Blackhawks took on Daredevils in the third and fourth place play off. Quick driving saw Ollie Ward score the first touchdown for Blackhawks but Daredevils responded with a quick three man drive before Dave Middleton scooped through and then found Lucy Holden who scored to make it one a piece.
Good driving followed by a set move between Adam Greening and Ward saw Ward scored his second to give Blackhawks the lead. Despite Daredevils’ best efforts, Blackhawks closed down every attempt to even the scoreline. After driving to their sub-box to bring on fresh legs, Blackhawks had two touches left to reach the touchdown zone and another set move between Greening and Ward saw them score to make it 3 -1.
Quick driving from the tap ball saw Daredevils putting on the pressure with Iain Thomson successfully throwing a dummy pass and diving for the line to end the first half 3 – 2 to Blackhawks.
Daredevils started the second half by evening up the scoreline with good passing from the mids out to Hannah Dunnell and then Annie Paul who managed to touchdown in the smallest of spaces next to the sideline. Blackhawks responded with Ward and Greening driving down the middle and attempting another set move which was shut down by Daredevils but not before Ward managed to get the ball away to Sophie Ferbrache to take the score to 4 -3.
Thomson was key to Daredevils’ fourth touchdown after scooping through the defence and throwing a great long ball to Eleanor Woodward who evened the scoreline. With the clock ticking and neither team wanting the game to go to a dropoff, there was plenty of action in the last few minutes. Eventually Thomson and Paul Beale managed a set move which saw Beale across the line and scoring the winner for Daredevils.
The final between Challengers and Gladiators saw 16 touchdowns scored. Challengers’ first came from Goddard scooping through the defence and passing to Katie Merrien and was quickly followed by a second from Callum Gladstone.
Gladiators pulled one back through Aaron Le Masurier but quick driving saw Goddard score Challengers’ third and then Tristan Boscher added the fourth. Gladiators weren’t giving up and Richard Perrio switched play from right to left and then passes to Verienne Belcher who caught a defender offside and went over the line to take the score to 4 – 2.
Challengers added their fifth through Zoe Ward and then Merrien and Boscher added their seconds to give the team a 7 – 2 lead at half-time.
The second half saw good driving from both sides but Gladstone spotted a gap and sprinted for the line to give Challengers their eighth. Gladiators failed to break through on their next drive and when possession passed back to Challengers, Dom Paige showed off his speed to make it 9 – 2.
Gladiators scored their third through a long ball from Le Masurier out to Chris Parrack but Challengers responded with Will Fish scoring at the feet of a defending player and then Merrien getting her hat-trick with a long ball from Goddard.
Great set play from the Gladiators saw Le Masurier step outside the link player and then dive over the line to make it 11 – 4 but Challengers continued to fight and Gladstone scored his hat-trick to make it 12 – 4 and the title to the Challengers.
Top touchdown scorers for the KPMG Touch Super League were Aaron Le Masurier and Laura Foster. Pierre Vermeulen and Sophie Ferbrache were named most valuable players. Referees for the league were Chris Wrigley, Dave Strawbridge, Dan Hainsworth and Jake Tapp.