Jersey’s Euro touch efforts will provide momentum a stepping stone

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And there was a positive ending for the Island’s men’s over-40s on the final day of competition, as they got the better of Portugal in the placing play-offs to claim ninth overall.

The mixed squad – champions at this level on three occasions at the start of the Millennium – settled for seventh in a strong tournament won by Scotland for the fourth time in succession. Play-off defeats to Chile [7-5] and Ireland [5-4] denied them a place inside the top five, after they had lost 8-5 to England in their final group game on Friday evening.

Their final standing may have been a place or two short of what they deserved for their efforts, but team manager Emily Hart says the event was always going to be a stepping stone for a developing side.

‘At the start of the season we did say we’d be going for the experience,’ she explained.

‘For half of the squad it was their first Euros, and we knew we weren’t going to be getting first place.

‘After the play-offs everyone was a bit disappointed, but generally I think everyone will still be happy with seventh.

‘We’re hoping that we’ll do a competition next year, and then we’ll be back in 2002 for the next Euros.’

The men’s O40s also lost to England on Friday – a match streamed live on the BBC Sport website – but were steered to a 7-5 play-off triumph over Portugal through tries from Peter Culnane (two), Elanco Kanagasabapathy, Brett Graham, Nick Guy, Steven Clarke and Steve Vautier.

‘Finishing with a win was great,’ said O40s manager Jason Kerr. ‘The boys thoroughly deserved that.

‘The held in there on tired legs – it was our tenth game of the week and we picked up a few injuries along the way. Everyone put in 110 per cent.’

Kerr added: ‘We have already started talking about who is coming through to bolster the O40 ranks before the next Euros, and we potentially have a masters tournament in Portugal next year. That will be a great stepping stone along with the inter-insular – it will give us nice momentum to build upon.’

Former Island Games track athlete Sophie Twinham, now living in Cardiff, was in action for her adopted nation against Jersey in the mixed open division. Wales lost 12-11 to Scotland in the gold-medal match on Saturday afternoon.

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