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Guernsey heading to European Touch Championship

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.’

Guernsey referees, Chris Wrigley and Dave Strawbridge, have also been selected by the organisers.

‘Tournaments don’t happen unless there are qualified and experienced officials and so it’s a credit to both Chris and Dave that they have met the strict criteria of the sport’s governing body,’ said Ward.

The tournament starts on Wednesday with the opening ceremony with the squad choosing Iain Thompson as Guernsey’s flag bearer.

Guernsey women’s, under the captaincy of Hannah Dunnell, will play Italy and Germany on day one, England, Wales and the Netherlands on day two and Belgium and France on day three and Scotland on day four with the top four teams then playing for medal positions.

Mark Bristowe will captain Guernsey men’s who play Ireland, Germany and England on day one, Scotland, Italy and Belgium on day two, France and Wales on day three and Luxembourg on day four with the top four teams then playing for medal positions.

Carly Parrott heads up Guernsey mixed who have games against Wales, Jersey and France on day one. Like the women’s and the men’s, day two also sees three games against invitational team Middle East Touch, Scotland and England. The teams are then split into bowl and cup competitions dependent on their final placing.

Ward said the whole squad was now looking forward to getting the tournament underway.

‘It takes hundreds of hours of training and hundreds of hours of admin to get to an international tournament but it benefits the whole sport, which continues to grow. It’s thanks to all those who have played their part, as well as our sponsor KPMG, that Guernsey can be represented on touch’s European stage.’

Guernsey women’s team is Cara Fitzpatrick, Chloe Gallienne, Eleanor Woodward, Hannah Dunnell, Jemma Crouse, Katie Cochrane, Laura Foster, Laura Middleton, Lindsay de Sausmarez, Lynne Hamilton, Morgan Johnson, Sarah Woodington, Sophie Ferbrache and Tanya Scholtz.

Guernsey men’s team is Alex Burt, Ash Lesbirel, Chris Ferbrache, Damian Dennis, Daniel Hainsworth, Dave Middleton, Harry Burns, Jacques Le Vallee, Luke Semenowicz, Mark Bristowe, Oliver Ward, Paul Beale, Paul Machon, Sam Ward, Tom Teasdale and Tom Zierer.

Guernsey’s mixed team is Annie Paul, Anthony Armstrong, Ben Holland, Carly Parrott, Danni Cluett, Dom Page, Iain Thompson, Kin Lai, Megan de Garis, Laura Mitchell, Matt Armstrong, Rhianna Barnes, Richard Perrio and Wing Lai.

Travelling with the team are Justeen Baker as coach, team managers Alex Clark, Jimmy Bean and Matt Brehaut, tour manager Debbie Paul and physios Nick Rowley, Espen Holt and Charlotte Dahl.