YOUNG GUNS: Ipswich Touch Association 2017 A-Grade men’s final winners.
YOUNG GUNS: Ipswich Touch Association 2017 A-Grade men’s final winners.

Ipswich Touch eyes return to play

IN an encouraging sign for participants the Ipswich Touch Association is targeting a return to play on July 13.

Falcons co-ordinator Jodie Taylor said while nothing was set in stone, the committee met last night to plan what touch would look like in Ipswich post-Covid-19 and July 13 had been chosen as a tentative start date should the 100 people gathering cap remain, with play to be reintroduced under restrictions outlined by Touch Football Australia and Queensland Touch Football.

“TFA have some strict guidelines in place in regard to having hand sanitiser stations at each field and how we sign-on to play and stuff like that, so we will have to follow them,” she said.

“We will have to adjust game times to keep the numbers of people gathering limited when people are arriving and leaving.

“That’s if it sticks to the 100 people cap, we’re hoping we can kick off then.”

To monitor and ensure adherence with coronavirus protocols Ipswich Touch Association has appointed Rick Borg to the position of COVID-19 co-ordinator.

“Rick will be taking control and making sure everyone is doing the right thing,” Taylor said.

Should competitions begin on July 13 the association will look to extend the season to make up for lost time and give players greater opportunity to enjoy the game.

“... because we’ve missed out on the first season we’ll extend our second season, so it will finish in November but we’ll probably get four more weeks than we normally would,” Taylor said.

“So it will be a bit longer season just to keep everyone happy for missing out on the first part of the year.”

While plans are in place, everything will hinge on the directives handed down by the State Government, Touch Football Australia and Queensland Touch Football.

Officials will call for team nominations in the coming weeks.

Depending on the number of outfits to nominate, the association will then have to assess logistical issues before determining how many sides can be accepted into each competition while ensuring compliance, with the safety and wellbeing of members and volunteers being the primary consideration.

Taylor said the feeling among the Ipswich touch community was overwhelmingly understanding that the situation was out of their control.

She said while some players concerned about coronavirus may drop out, it was hoped the association could capitalise on the cancellation of Rugby League Ipswich competitions.

“I think there will be some people that will still be wary about the whole situation, so we may lose a couple but we may pick up a few more teams as well given Rugby League Ipswich are not going ahead,” she said.

“So hopefully, we can pick up a few more there.

“Some of the (rugby league) boys might want some fitness.”

Ipswich Touch Association holds two main events throughout the year.

Fortunately, the senior Super 8s tournament was run before coronavirus turned the world upside down, however, organisers did have to cancel the junior Falcons Cup carnival at a significant financial loss to the association and local businesses.

Due to begin on May 31, the event catering to kids from around the state aged 10-18 offers juniors the ideal preparation for the Junior State Cup.

Taylor said it was unfortunate the Falcons Cup could not be held this season but attentions were already turning to planning for next year.

“We’ll be looking forward to holding that event next year in May,” she said.

Keep an eye on the Ipswich Touch Association’s social media pages for the latest announcements.