Nelson Bay Touch Association to host Hornets Regional Touch's Peter Wilson Memorial Championships until 2020

RECOGNITION: Nelson Bay Touch Association vice president Ian Doherty, president Nev Gear and coach Elissa Doherty (centre back) with the association's representative players. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

RECOGNITION: Nelson Bay Touch Association vice president Ian Doherty, president Nev Gear and coach Elissa Doherty (centre back) with the association's representative players. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Nelson Bay Touch Association has secured the hosting rights for the Peter Wilson Memorial Championships for the next three years.

The association was successful in its bid to host the event, also known as the Hunter Junior Touch Football Championships, and signed the contract with organising body Hornets Regional Touch last Thursday.

Association president Nev Gear said the successful tender was a win for the club and Port Stephens as a whole.

“The boost it brings to the economy from accommodation, restaurants and things like that, everyone from Port Stephens gains from it,” he said.

“It's good for us as a club because the kids can get the support of playing a big tournament like this, get their family here to support them at the same time.”

Nelson Bay Touch Association president Nev Gear with Hornets Regional Touch  technical director Karen Davies.

Nelson Bay Touch Association president Nev Gear with Hornets Regional Touch technical director Karen Davies.

Nelson Bay has hosted the championship since 2007.

It is the largest junior regional touch football event in NSW.

More than 55 touch football clubs from almost every major town across the region, covering the Hunter, Central Coast, Central West and Western NSW, attend the championship.

From those clubs, about 130 teams made up with more than 2000 players, 800 officials and volunteers take part.

The championship also attracts more than 7000 spectators.

The championship is used to select players to represent the Hornets in regional representative sides.

Players are selected from across the region for the Hornets’ under-14, 16 and 18 sides, which compete against five other regions at the NSW Junior Regionals.

Karen Davies, the Hornets’ technical director, said the memorial championship was the organisation’s “most prestigious tournament”.

“I'd like to congratulate Nev and his committee on winning the tender,” Davies said in Nelson Bay on August 3, before the hosting contract was signed.

“We had a lot of competition this year. 

“We had some affiliates from our western districts tendering for the contract. 

“It's to Nev and his committee's credit they were able to win the tender.”

Davies praised the work of Port Stephens Council for maintaining the fields at Tomaree Sports Complex, where the association is based and the championship is played.

Port Stephens councillors John Nell and Steve Tucker congratulated Nelson Bay Touch Association on winning the tender.

The pair joined Gear and Davies at the touch fields last Thursday.

Councillors Steve Tucker and John Nell with Nelson Bay Touch Association president Nev Gear and Hornets Regional Touch technical director Karen Davies at Tomaree Sports Complex on August 3.

Councillors Steve Tucker and John Nell with Nelson Bay Touch Association president Nev Gear and Hornets Regional Touch technical director Karen Davies at Tomaree Sports Complex on August 3.

“It's [championship] been in Port Stephens for the last nine years and we're glad it will be here for another three,” Cr Tucker said.

“We certainly look forward to helping to promote and assist the touch association to continue.”

Kai Offen, 14, from Nelson Bay Touch Association said he enjoyed playing in the championship event, which has has done for three years.

“It’s fun,” he said. 

“Everyone comes down to watch, there's a lot of mateship.

“Everyone is a big family.

“Playing at home is a big benefit. 

“Living 45 minutes from here makes the weekend a lot more relaxing.”

The championship will be played between February 3-4 in 2018, February 2-3 in 2019 and February 1-2 in 2020.

The touch association has two one-year options to host the championship after 2020.

It's a good win for the club, but it's also a good win for Port Stephens as a whole. - Nelson Bay Touch Association president Nev Gear

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