Topic: Touch Rugby

Wet weather storms Junior National Touch Champs

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland

Finals day of the Grassroots Trust 2018 Junior Nationals Touch Championship were cancelled for the first time ever due to extreme weather conditions. But that didn't dampen the spirits of the players.

Torrential rain from dawn till the late afternoon soon turned Mountfort Park fields into a swimming pool unfit for play. Touch NZ CEO Joe Sprangers was forced to make the call at 1pm this afternoon as heavy rain continued to persist.

“We've had to cancel the tournament on the basis of health and safety and risk management” says Sprangers.

“There's too much water on the ground and the grounds surface has become unplayable.”

It's the first time the finals day for the national tournament has been called off due to extreme weather and not all were thrilled.
Damian McCaskill and his U16 Mixed side from Thames Valley were looking forward to playing in their first ever finals.

McCaskill says “It sucked because we didn't get to play because of the weather. I reckon if the weather was all good I reckon we could have won.”

“They are obviously disappointed” says Sprangers.

“They came here to play the other team in the final to see whether they deserved that gold medal. Having said that they all understand and they've seen enough of the weather conditions over the last three days to know that this was a distinct possibility.”

The rain didn't dampen everyone's spirits as teams made fun of the wet pools while families quickly left for drier enclosures. Over 70 teams and 1000 athletes from across the country have been competing over the three days, which saw Auckland’s wettest weather this summer.

The U16 Girl’s final was the only finale match played before the games were cancelled. North Harbour coming out on top 5-2 over Otago.

The competition concludes today with organisers confirming there will be no arrangements for a new finals day. However teams unable to complete their final matches in the U16 Boys, U16 Mixed and U18 finals all take away gold.