GUERNSEY had to hand back the touch inter-insular trophy after winning the mixed game in a dramatic drop-off but losing both the men’s and ladies games.
The annual tournament was played this year in Jersey and having won the trophy for the first time last year, the FNB sponsored Guernsey team were keen to retain the title but it wasn’t to be on the day.
‘All three teams put in a really solid performance and the games were very even. They all did their island proud and our hope is that with home advantage in 2014, we can add Guernsey’s name onto the trophy again,’ said Guernsey Touch chair Katrina Bray.
The first game saw the ladies take to the field under the captaincy of Cliodhna Phelan. Jersey scored twice in the first half with one from a scoop and the other from a breakaway player. Bianca Symes scored Guernsey’s only touchdown after Claire Tostevin scooped and passed off to Symes to touchdown. But Jersey scored three more to end the game 5 – 1.
Aaron Le Masurier led the men’s team onto the field next and Jersey scored four in the first half by making good use of the field. Le Masurier then scooped and passed to Matt Chick who scored Guernsey’s only touchdown but one more from Jersey saw that game also end 5 -1.
The mixed game was the closest fought of the day. The teams met at the Home Nations where the first half ended 3 – 2 to Jersey and the final score was 9 – 3. As in Dublin, the first half saw three from Jersey but Guernsey scored one more to make it three all at half-time with two touchdowns from head coach Ollie Ward who found gaps to run through from set plays and the third coming from Matt Brehaut who was on the receiving end of a pass from Sam Stables who scooped and found a gap.
The second half was as evenly matched with both islands scoring four each. Captain Chris Goddard scored a diving touchdown first followed by Mark Bristowe who received the ball from Ward after he scooped. Ward reached his hat-trick and scored the sixth, again thanks to a scoop from Stables, and Guernsey’s seventh came from Bristowe, assisted once more by Stables.
With the game a draw at full-time, it went to a drop-off where a player leaves the field every two minutes until three players remain. After two minutes with five players and another two with four, there were just three players on each side and the game had to continue until one scored the winning touchdown.
Guernsey came close on several occasions but a green winner eventually came from Ward who saw a space on the wing and touched down before Jersey could reach him.
‘It was a great performance. The Guernsey mixed team kept the pressure up throughout the whole game and it definitely showed that we had the fresher legs. We were able to field three separate teams but Jersey had to double up and so most of their mixed players had already played in either the men’s or the ladies games. Our investment in training three teams definitely paid off and we will look forward to building on that in 2014, particularly as it is a European Championship year,’ said Katrina.