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Touch youngsters heading to championship in Holland

Guernsey will be represented for the first time at the Junior Touch Championship this weekend, which will see nine different nations take part.

The annual tournament, which began in 2014, was established to give under 18 players the opportunity to represent their country and play against their peers. This weekend’s tournament in Arnhem will see three under 18 competitions – girls, boys and mixed, and an under 15 mixed division. Guernsey will be one of eight teams competing in the under 18 mixed team.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity for our up and coming players to compete internationally, play competitive touch against their peer group and learn new skills which they can hone as they get the chance to play in the senior island teams,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Ollie Ward.

‘Six of the 13 represented Guernsey at the Euros in Jersey in July and that will have been invaluable experience ahead of this weekend. The squad is aged between 13 and 17 and for some this will be the first time they have travelled on their own or represented the island and they are all really excited and keen to get onto the pitch.’

Guernsey will play against England, France, Ireland, the Middle East, Netherlands, Scotland and Wales. Each team will play seven 30 minute round robin games before the final games which will see first place take on second in the grand final, third and fourth place in the third place play-off and ranking games for the teams in fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth.

On Friday, Guernsey, with Ben Holland as captain and Annie Paul as vice-captain, will play the Middle East and then Wales. On Saturday, they face England, Ireland, Netherlands and France in a day which starts at 9.40am and won’t finish until 6.10pm. On Sunday, they have the final round robin game against Scotland before the finals.

‘Most of the nations have very well-established development programmes whereas this is our first time entering and so we know it’s going to be a tough tournament. There are some very strong players and all of them are determined to put in their best performances,’ said Ollie.

The Guernsey team is Annie Paul, Macy Cortez, Danni King, Cara Fitzpatrick, Lydia Batchelor, Lara-May Langlois, Etienne Le Vallee, Jacque Le Vallee, Tom Rihoy, Ben Holland, Harry Burns, Tom Teasdale and Harry King. Ollie Ward and Steve Teasdale join them as coaches with Debbie Paul and Cat Teasdale travelling as team managers.