RAIN STOPS PLAY AT EUROPEAN TOUCH CHAMPIONSHIP
TORRENTIAL rain in Italy means organisers of the European Touch Championship have said no games will be played until at least midday today.
Yesterday saw the first day of the five-day tournament with Guernsey aiming to retain its sixth place ranking.
The mixed team’s first game against current European champions Ireland saw 14 touchdowns being scored in the 40 minute game. The greens scored straight from the tap off with Owain Norman scoring on his international debut for the island. Ireland replied with two touchdowns before Sam Stables intercepted an Irish pass and headed for the touchdown zone to even the score. Ireland took the lead once more before Carly Parrott broke away at the halfway line to finish the first half 3 – 3.
Guernsey took the lead in the second half thanks to captain Chris Goddard and then player coach Ollie Ward made it 5 – 3. Ireland scored their fourth and then Goddard dived for the line to score his second of the game. Ireland replied with two more touchdowns to make it six apiece and then Parrott added her second with a diving touchdown. With full-time drawing close, Guernsey fought hard to maintain the lead but Ireland evened the scoreline two minutes from the whistle to end the game in a draw.
After a three-hour break, Guernsey, which is sponsored by FNB, went up against Wales, who are considered one of the strongest mixed teams and favourite for a place in the final, on pitch one. By this stage, torrential rain had begun to fall which led to Guernsey missing an opportunity to score and a second opportunity saw the referees calling forward pass. Wales’ only opportunity of the first half resulted in them taking the lead but conditions were so bad that organisers stopped games at half-time and eventually decided to use the first half result as the final one.
‘It was a positive start from Guernsey as we knew that our first two games were going to be the tricky ones. Ireland is the current champions but we held our own and we were unlucky not to have won that game,’ said Ward.
‘Wales is an incredibly strong side and we hadn’t expected to win that but the first half saw some great touch from us despite the rain and we probably should have scored. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened in the second half but we have to respect the organisers’ decision as there are still four days of competition left.
‘In eight year of playing touch, I have never played in conditions that were as bad as today. All of the pitches are waterlogged and the tents were the teams are keeping their kit are totally flooded.
Guernsey was due to play twice today taking on Switzerland at 11.50am and then France at 4.50pm.
‘We have to maintain the mindset that we will still be playing those games as we are aiming to finish in the top three of our group,’ said Ward.
Anyone wanting to follow Guernsey’s progress can do so on Twitter by following @GuernseyTouch or @TouchEuros.