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Jersey Retain Interinsular

JERSEY retained the touch inter-insular but it could so easily have gone Guernsey’s way.

The annual event, which sees the men’s, ladies and mixed teams from each island compete, has been won by Jersey since it first began in 2005 but this year’s games were the closest yet.

‘Every game was full of drama and it was hard to see which team was going to win until the final whistle. Both islands continue to improve year on year which is testament to the hard work of the players, coaches and the committees who invest so much time, energy and finances into making touch as successful as it is,’ said chair of Guernsey Touch Katrina Bray.

June’s World Cup, which both Guernsey and Jersey sent mixed teams to, meant there were no other international tournaments this summer and so both islands had to use mixed team players to supplement the men’s and the ladies’ teams.

‘The World Cup had so many benefits to both islands in terms of development but it has come at a cost and the challenge for both Guernsey and Jersey for 2012 will be to build up all of its representative sides ahead of the European Championship in July and then in turn next year’s inter-insular,’ said Katrina.

The first game saw the ladies take to the field and Jersey quickly took the lead but Guernsey soon replied with Kay Davidson scoring on the wing. Guernsey’s second of the first half came when Carly Parrott ran through the Jersey defence to pass to Jemma Crouse who in turn crashed to the ground to avoid being touched and took the team into half-time with a one touchdown difference.

Parrott scored Guernsey’s third when she again broke through the defence and crossed into the touchdown zone as Jersey looked on. Jersey immediately returned the favour and took advantage as the Guernsey ladies were getting back on side. Parrott nearly scored again as did Jersey who were denied by a great run from Laura Sharrott to make the touch and prevent them scoring. The game ended in a 3 – 2 win for Guernsey.

The men’s team took to the field and it wasn’t until half way through the first half that the first touchdown was scored by Jersey using a well-executed quickie play on the line. Richard Duchemin was then given time out for claiming a touch which the referee claimed hadn’t been made but despite being down to five, Guernsey kept the Jersey team out to end the half one touchdown adrift.

Jersey’s second and third touchdowns quickly followed halftime. Duchemin came close to scoring but pressure from Jersey’s Mark Knight saw it slip from his hands. Dan Le Prevost scored Guernsey’s only touchdown when he found a gap on the wing with Charlie Moore having a touchdown disallowed for forward pass just before the final whistle to end the game in a 4 – 1 win for Jersey.

The mixed game was therefore the decider and with Jersey finishing eighth at the recent World Cup and Guernsey finished ninth, it was always going to be a close game.

Crouse took the lead for Guernsey on the first attack by scoring on the wing but Jersey instantly replied despite a diving effort from Crouse to make the touch before the ball was down. Sam Stables scored Guernsey’s second and again Jersey replied to even up the scores. Chris Goddard, who was named as Guernsey’s most improved mixed player of the season, found a gap in the middle of the Jersey defence but Jersey replied again. Guernsey almost took the lead just before half time when James Gavey, named best and fairest mixed player of the season, threw the ball through his legs for it to be caught by Stables to score but the referee ruled a touch had been made and so the first half ended in a 3 – 3 draw.

The cat and mouse scoreline continued in the second half with Guernsey once again taking the lead after some great driving by Crouse and Parrott gave Aaron Le Masurier the opportunity to score in the corner. Again Jersey replied but some brilliant running from Matt Brehaut, who was voted mixed players’ player of the season, saw Guernsey edge ahead. Jersey scored their fifth on the wing and then took the lead for the first time when Di Meo ran through the Guernsey defence to score. 

Guernsey evened the score again when Alec Bailey and captain Ollie Ward perfected a switch on the line to give Bailey the touchdown. That was to be Guernsey’s last touchdown of the game and they had to settle with a loss as Jersey scored three more in the last few minutes to end the game 9 – 6.

‘It was by far the best touch inter-insular we have had and although we only came home with one trophy, all of the players were already talking about how next year, it will be Guernsey’s year,’ said Bray.