July 16-17: Touch SA vs Victoria Touch- `The Junior Border Challenge’. Tracy Frith from Touch SA and Peter Shefford from Victoria Touch have provided us with the following report: In weather conditions (read: rain & hail) reminiscent of the northern state junior championships, the young touch stars of neighbouring states South Australia and Victoria took to the fields last weekend to battle for honours in the 2005 Junior Border Challenge…. The fierce competition between SA and Victoria which has existed for many years in the adult age brackets of Touch & sport in general, has now filtered down to the junior age level. Last weekends Junior Border Challenge saw the Under 18 boys and girls teams from both SA and Victoria compete for the first time in a 3-game series, vying for State supremacy as well as selection for the Crusaders teams to compete at the National Under 18’s Championships in September. For several years now the Open teams have taken part in the series but this was the first time the up and coming talent had been pitted against each other. In support of taking elite touch to the affiliates and hence the title “Border Challenge”, traditionally the event is played in Mt Gambier, which lies on the border of the two states. The playing arena was Grant High School and greatly supported by representatives of the Mt Gambier Touch Association and staff of the school with regard to facilities and field preparation. Given the previous few weeks of wet, windy and cold weather experienced in both SA and Victoria, all expected Mt Gambier to be no different in the middle of July. Despite this thinking, nothing could have prepared us for the atrocious weather conditions all endured including rain, high winds, thunder and hail, with two of the games temporarily delayed during play for all to take shelter while the storm passed. These rising stars also put on a display of tenacious defence, hot stepping attacking action, and of course, the games were played in the sportsmanlike manner one has come to expect in our sport. With the Opens challenge looming up in early September, it was South Australia that drew first blood in the annual interstate series, taking both junior divisions, and the series, with an overall 5-1 win rate. Results from the weekend’s games were: GIRLS 18’s South Australia (5) def Victoria (0) South Australia (3) def Victoria (0) South Australia (7) def Victoria (3) BOYS 18’s South Australia (5) def Victoria (4) Victoria (6) def South Australia (4) South Australia (5) def Victoria (4) * 2005 Border Challenge Under 18’s Girls Champions – South Australia * 2005 Border Challenge Under 18’s Boys Champions – South Australia * 2005 Border Challenge Overall State Champions – South Australia From this event the Crusaders 18 years & under teams were chosen, to contest the ATA Youth Championships in late September. Congratulations to all the plauers that took part and a big thanks to Mt Gambier Touch for hosting the event. The gauntlet has now been laid, and only time will tell whether the Vics can reclaim the ascendancy when the Opens clash down the track …..!? By Tracy Frith and Peter Shefford.