Success at touch nationals

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St Kevin’s College had three representatives at the Junior National Touch Tournament held in Auckland recently.

Ben McCarthy, 14, was selected for the Otago under-15 mixed side after some standout performances for the under-15 boys teams in prior tournaments, while his sister Rose McCarthy and Gypsy-Mae Harrison were picked as referees for the tournament.

McCarthy was the only player from North Otago picked to represent Otago in all age groups at the tournament and was one of six boys asked to join the mixed, as that was Otago’s best chance of performing at the tournament.

He said it was a terrific standard of touch.

“It was really fast and the standard was a lot higher than what I’m used to here in North Otago.”

McCarthy was playing as a link player, which involved a high level of involvement, and said he enjoyed the experience.

“Players at the tournament were a lot quicker, faster and smarter than back here, which was a great challenge.”

Ben was happy with how he played.

“I thought I went well.”

The side played Counties Manukau, Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury, North Harbour and Horowhenua Kapiti, scoring four wins.

He scored three times and is looking to make the under-17 side next year and see how far he can go on the touch front.

Meanwhile after some stand-out performances refereeing at earlier tournaments, Rose and Gypsy-Mae were picked as part of the refereeing crew.

Harrison said it was an awesome experience.

“I loved refereeing and there were some really good players on display and the standard of touch was really high.”

The girls are on their green badge for refereeing and hope to progress their way up the ranks.

“I’ll look to get as far as I can in the refereeing ranks while I’m still at school.”

With brother Ben playing, Rose said it was hard at times being a ref because she couldn’t watch and support him and had to remain neutral at all times.

“It was challenging at times when Ben was playing and I even controlled one of his games and couldn’t support him, but overall it was great fun.”

Both girls said the toughest part was when teams would talk back to them.

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – Rose McCarthy, Ben McCarthy and Gypsy-Mae Harihona-Harrison all attended the National Touch Tournament held in Auckland recently. Rose and Gypsy-Mae were referees while Ben was part of the Otago under-15 mixed side.