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Guernsey heading to World Cup

GUERNSEY will be represented for the first time at the Touch World Cup.

Guernsey Touch has confirmed that it will be sending a mixed team to represent the island at the week-long tournament in June. Guernsey will join more than 100 teams from 28 different countries including Japan, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, France, Italy and Germany.

‘This is an incredibly exciting development for touch in Guernsey. We’ve invested heavily in raising the standard of play over the last few years and feel that the time is right to send a team to represent the island at the World Cup,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Katrina Bray.

Last year Guernsey Touch took four teams to represent the island at the European Championship and following the tournament was ranked sixth in Europe.

‘Like all sports, Guernsey Touch is always looking to progress. Last year it was fantastic that a Guernsey Men’s over 30’s team could join the Guernsey Mixed, Men’s and Ladies sides at the Euros and we see committing a team to the Worlds as being the next natural step to take,’ said Bray.

The tournament, which takes place in Edinburgh, is organised by the sport’s governing body, the Federation of International Touch and is held every four years.

‘For the 16 players selected, it will be an incredible experience. They’ll be competing against the best touch nations in the world and will see a standard of play that they won’t have seen live before. This will be a fantastic opportunity for us to fly the flag for Guernsey and we’re looking forward to making the island proud,’ said Bray.

Training for the World Cup began in November and players are currently training three times a week with selection due in the Spring. Guernsey Touch plans to take the squad to tournaments in the UK and France to ensure they have the opportunity to play against other teams.

‘There are positives and negatives of being on an island. Obviously we can get together to train more regularly but we only have 400 players to choose from whereas nations like England can choose from thousands plus it’s more expensive for us to play against other teams,’ said Bray.

Guernsey Touch is currently looking for a sponsor for the World Cup team and is hoping a local company with global connections might be interested.

‘This is a rare opportunity to sponsor a Guernsey team at a global tournament and we hope that someone will come forward and help us. The players will have to make a significant commitment in terms of time and money and although we don’t have significant reserves, the committee is committed to doing what it can to ease the financial burden,’ said Bray.

The sport recently announced that it signed a three year sponsorship deal with FirstRand Trustees Limited but Bray said that this excluded the World Cup team.

‘The sponsorship we have from FirstRand Trustees is for the leagues, the training of referees and for the island teams who play at a European level. It is for our 400 players and is there to ensure that we can keep touch as accessible to as many people as possible.

‘We would simply not be able to do that if we were to use that money for the World Cup team which is why we are looking for a totally separate sponsor for this elite team of players as they take on some of the world’s best teams.’

Training is open to anyone interested in the game, whether they’d like to be considered for the World Cup or not, and takes place for an hour at 6.30am on Wednesday and Friday mornings at Indoor Cricket Guernsey and on Sunday afternoons from 3pm at St Peter Port School.

More information about training or the opportunity to sponsor the team is available by emailing info@guernseytouch.org.gg