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Guernsey Touch continues to grow

Guernsey will be represented at two European touch tournaments this summer.

Three teams will head to the European Championship in Jersey in July and for the first time, Guernsey will also be represented at the Youth Euros in Amsterdam in August. The players will be amongst more than 350 taking part in this year’s KPMG Touch Summer League which starts on Wednesday.

‘The sport continues to grow and evolve and it’s fantastic to see an increase in grass roots interest with 11 teams in the business leagues and new players in the youth leagues as that has a positive impact on the future of the sport, particularly at a representative level,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

‘Each of the Guernsey teams have players who only got involved in touch last year. That’s the great thing about the sport, it’s so inclusive at a domestic level because we have the mixed leagues and so people are more prepared to give it a go and then actually find they are good at it and go on to represent the island.’

The 12 week league sees mixed, men’s, ladies and youth teams taking part in a round robin format followed by semi-finals and finals. Source will be hoping to retain their hat-trick of titles having won the mixed, men’s and ladies leagues last year. In the highly competitive mixed league, they will face five other teams, take on eight others in the men’s league and four in the ladies league.

The corporate league, which was introduced in 2014 to provide a more social playing experience, has a record number of teams taking part and has been split into two. Last year’s winners Intertrust are one of six teams in business league B with five others in business league A including the Guernsey Rugby Academy under 14s. The youth team heading to Holland later this year will also take part in the business league under the team name The Try Babies to give them invaluable game time.

The youth league was introduced last year with 40 youngsters taking part. The league is open to players aged between 12 and 16 with friendly matches being organised for the first few weeks to introduce the sport. Players will then be divided into teams to play competitively for the remainder of the season. There is still room for any youngsters, male or female, wanting to get involved and more information is available by emailing youth@guernseytouch.org.gg

‘The sport continues to appeal to a wide cross-section of people, of both sexes and of all ages and abilities. KPMG agreeing to a three year sponsorship in 2014 and us finding a permanent home at KGV was a pivotal moment in Guernsey Touch’s history as it allowed us to push ahead with plans to future proof the success of the sport,’ said Ollie.

‘Being able to send mixed, men’s and ladies teams and a youth team away to European Championships is a confident step forward. There has been considerable change, particularly at representative level with many of those who were part of the island teams four or five years ago now retired but it’s great to see the average age getting lower as they will then be around for at least two or three Euros and now with a focus on youth development, we have a much brighter future with those players feeding in as the older players step back.’