Guernsey begins World Cup in winning form
GUERNSEY has started its Touch World Cup with two wins and a defeat on the first day of the five day tournament.
The event, which is taking place in Edinburgh, has attracted over 100 teams from 28 different nations. Guernsey was originally seeded 10th in the mixed open tournament but the late withdrawal by Fiji and Papua New Guinea saw them jump to ninth.
'It was certainly unexpected. We had planned for games against USA, Australia, England and Belgium and with less than 24 hours to go until the first game, we were redrawn into a pool with New Zealand, Belgium, Italy and Singapore,' said Guernsey Touch chair Katrina Bray.
'Thankfully the Guernsey players took it all in their stride and were definitely ready to play the first game which was a bit special as we were the first team to play on the main grandstand pitch.'
Guernsey came up against Belgium and despite the 7.40am start and the horrendous weather conditions, the team quickly put in practice what they had spent the last eight months learning. Justeen Baker was the first Guernsey player into the touchdown zone and was followed in the first half by Matt Brehaut, Sam Stables and Mark Rodliffe with Belgium scoring just once. In the second half, Stables scored twice more to claim a hat-trick and Clio Phelan scored Guernsey's seventh. Belgium could again only score once to end the game 7 -2 in Guernsey's favour.
The second game was against a spirited Italy but the Guernsey team kept their heads with Baker, Rodliffe, Stables and James Gavey all scoring once to make it 4 - 0 at half-time. The second half saw an even stronger performance from the Greens with Stables adding his fifth of the day, captain Ollie Ward, Carly Parrott, Alec Bailey and Chris Goddard all scoring once and Gavey adding two to take the score at full-time to 11 - 0.
The last game was inevitable going to end in defeat as Guernsey came up against the top seed and reigning World Cup Mixed champions New Zealand. Phenomenal play from the Kiwis quickly saw them take the lead with the first half ending 8 - 0. Despite the tired legs, Guernsey defended well and looked set to score on a number of occasions but the champions showed how good they were with the final score ending 17 - 0.
With two wins and one loss, Guernsey finished the first day in second place and has a 7.40am fixture (Thursday) against Singapore who have so far lost to both Italy and New Zealand.
'It's been a fantastic start to the tournament and we really couldn't have asked for better results. The team has played extremely well in both attack and defence and every player has given 100%. We have to wait until 1pm on Thursday to find out which teams we'll be meeting next but if we continue to play as we have, then we will have done the island proud,' said Ward.
Fixtures and results can be found at https://www.touchworldcup2011.co.uk/fixtures-results/mixed-open/