Sunday, 24 February 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Whitianga Touch Club on a roll

By Stephan Bosman

The Whitianga Touch Club is on a roll. Less than six years old, the club’s local summer touch competition is for the first time ever sporting four grades - men’s, women’s, mixed and family - and a week and a half out from their annual tournament on Saturday 16 February, 18 teams have already entered, surpassing last year’s record number of 17 entries. “We expect several more teams to enter our annual tournament as there’s always a rush the day or two before the tournament,” says Aimee Jackman, club president.

So far, teams from the Thames-Valley area, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Matamata, Hamilton and Tokoroa have entered the annual tournament. “Peter Walters, a former captain of the New Zealand men’s touch team, will be bringing an over-45s team to the tournament, that’s very exciting,” says Aimee.

The tournament will be played at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park. “I hope many of the people in Mercury Bay will come enjoy the tournament with us. The atmosphere is going to be great.”

Aimee will personally be in action in the tournament as part of the Thames-Valley women’s representative team. The team will participate in the tournament in the mixed grade as part of their preparation for the Touch New Zealand Nationals that will be played in March in Rotorua.

Aimee isn’t the only club member playing representative touch. Jaeda Jackman-King and Drew Casey have both been playing for the Thames-Valley Under 12 mixed team this season. The team have finished their season on a high by winning gold at the prestigious Touch New Zealand Northern Inter Provincial Series (IPS) tournament that was held in Rotorua the weekend before last. 

“The Thames-Valley Under 12 mixed team’s win at the Northern IPS was huge,” says Aimee. “Thames-Valley teams have won gold at the tournament only twice before, the first time 15 years ago and the second time five years ago. What makes the team’s achievement even more significant is that they went through the entire tournament undefeated. In the history of the tournament that has never happened before.”

The Thames-Valley Under 12 mixed team played in four other tournaments in the lead up to the Northern IPS, winning three golds and a silver.

The Whitianga Touch Club’s local competition is being played on Wednesday evenings at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park. The 27 participating teams have three more rounds to play before the finals day on Saturday 23 February.

“Everyone in our club is excited about the future of touch in Mercury Bay,” says Aimee. “We expect to see more Thames-Valley representative players being selected in the years to come and also hope to open pathways for future referees as well. The New Zealand touch referees are in high demand internationally. It’s a great way to do something you enjoy and see the world at the same time.”

Pictured are Jaeda Jackman-King (left) and Drew Casey just after their Thames-Valley Under 12 girls team have won gold at the Touch New Zealand Northern Inter Provincial Series tournament that was held in Rotorua the weekend before last.

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