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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

EHA Cup Draws Made

SALFORD will take on Manchester University in the pick of the ties in the first round of the EHA Men’s Cup, which was drawn last week.

The pair drew 31-31 in the first week of the season back in September, and although Salford have fared better since then and are top of the Northern Section, they will not underestimate their rivals, who are fourth in the table.

Second in the North, Manchester will travel to Oxford University for their first round clash, while Southern Section leaders Great Dane will entertain Warwick University.

The first round of the Cup is on March 5-6, with the quarter finals on April 9-10, semi finals on May 14-15 and the final on June 4-5.

First round losers will go into a plate competition, with the matches on the same dates as above. In both the Cup and Plate, there will be a re-draw after each round.

Arch Rivals Drawn Apart in EHA Cup

HOLDERS Great Dane and rivals Ruislip Eagles have been drawn in opposing groups for the EHA Women’s Cup, which begins on February 5-6.

Great Dane will take on Manchester University and Olympia in their group, while the second group includes Ruislip, Deva, Cambridge and Thames.

The second set of matches is on March 5-6, and the third round is on April 9-10.

The semi finals on May 14-15 will pit the winner of each group against the runner-up from the other, with the finals on June 4-5.

The first set of matches on February 5-6 will see Great Dane play Manchester University in Group One, while in Group Two Thames play Cambridge and Deva play Ruislip.

Woodside School Crowned London Champions

WOODSIDE High School secured victory in the Boys Year 8 and 9 Handball Tournament last week, beating rivals from across London in a highly-competitive competition at Newham Leisure Centre.

Last year’s event winners Westminster looked strong, but were beaten by Woodside in the semi finals, while Carshalton saw off a good challenge from Harris School in their semi final to book their spot in the final.

But Woodside proved too strong for their rivals and took the overall victory.

London Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker said afterwards: “It was great to see the level of the competition and the standard of the handball on show, which is getting better every year.

“It’s great to see so many youngsters enjoying playing handball. Many thanks to all the teams who took part - we look forward to you coming back next year and seeing how much you have improved.”

Liverpool Tournament: Book Your Place NOW!

THE highly-popular Liverpool International Handball Festival looks set to attract another great line-up for the 2011 event on May 27-29 - and if your club wants to apply you need to act NOW!

The event is always over-subscribed, with many teams travelling over from Europe to take compete with teams from across Britain.

The men’s event will see four groups of four teams in action, while the women’s event has places for eight teams. There will also be a wheelchair handball competition.

For details of the event, please contact Peter Irving on 0151 327 1208 or at peter.irving7@ntlworld.com

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sweet Victory Gives Ruislip Title Hopes

LAST season’s runners up, Ruislip Eagles Women posted their intensions to take back the league title by winning a highly competitive and incident-packed match against champions Great Dane.

Ruislip started brightly but were soon rocked by an injury to influential back court player Lenka Kocisova and this interrupted their flow.

Both defences were strong and Ida Griffith was in fine form in goal for Great Dane, keeping out the Eagles attack.

At half time the Eagles had a narrow lead of just three goals, and Coach Mel Chowns was unhappy with the finishing of her squad as too many chances went begging.

Great Dane came out fighting in the second half and soon levelled the scores. Further incident happened though when Danes Anne Kandler took another hit and went off for a period - and without her influence the Eagles pulled away again and built up a five-goal lead.

But when Kandler returned Great Dane clawed back to within two goals before a two-minute suspension - thanks to the sending off of the Danes coach - eased the pressure on Eagles and they saw out the match to take the match 18 - 16.

But the match took its toll on both squads though with Kandler struggling at the final whistle and Sposi and Papenfuss for Eagles joining Kocisova with injuries.

The Eagles had to regroup for the match against Cambridge 24 hours later, and it was a very different team that lined up. Without either of their recognised goalkeepers, Kocisova bravely agreed to go in goal as she wasn't able to play on court, and without several of the players who saw off Great Dane, Ruislip had just seven players plus coach Chowns on standby if needed.

Ruislip built up a comfortable lead in the first 15 minutes but Cambridge, with some bright young British talent in their team, did not give up and kept within touching distance in the first half.

However, in the second half Ruislip stepped up the pace and pulled away with some great fast breaking from Telek and some great heroics from Kocisova in goal.

Coach Chowns got a 15-minute run, turning back the clock 10 years and even getting on the scoresheet with a shot from the left wing.

Ruislip can now head into the festive period happy with their start and looking forward to resuming battle and meeting rising team Deva.

Cambridge Boost Play-Off Hopes

CAMBRIDGE Men gave their English National League play-off hopes a shot in the arm last weekend, beating Ruislip Eagles 29-26 in a thrilling match at Moulton, Northampton.

Their victory was revenge for a two-goal defeat suffered in their first match of the season, and gave them only their second victory of the season.

Ruislip fielded a near full squad, whilst 11-man Cambridge gave a debut to 17 year-old schoolboy George-Catalin Micu.

Cambridge were the first to get into their stride, with some well-worked moves and a penalty giving them a 3-0 lead after five minutes, and they extended their lead to 10-5 half way through the first half.

Ruislip have a reputation for resilience, and a series of Cambridge misses brought the score back to 10-9, before Cambridge regrouped with a time-out. Consistently accurate top-corner shooting from distance by Zsolt Majoros allowed Cambridge to pull ahead 16-13 at half time.

The opening exchanges of the second half saw Ruislip clawing back at Cambridge, to level the match at 19-19 with just 15 minutes to go.

It remained goal for goal for a tense period of a few minutes, with both sides well-matched and having the measure of the other.

At 22-22, this season's French signings Olivier Wertheimer and Marc Briant combined to give Cambridge the decisive advantage they were to hold to the end of the game.

First Wertheimer scored a fine individual effort after engineering a gap on the right side of the Ruislip defence, then Briant followed up with a delicate lob from the left wing and a fast-break down the middle.

From 25-22, Ruislip were never able to get within two goals of Cambridge, and even a last-gasp man-to-man defence in the closing minute was unable to make an impact, with Cambridge running in the last goal to give a deserved 29-26 win.

For Cambridge, Zsolt Majoros scored eight goals and Marc Briant six. For Ruislip, Hugo Mazel scored 8 and Azzedine Messis six.

Helenswood Win Schools Tournament

HELENSWOOD School in Hastings stormed to victory in their first handball tournament, beating eight London-based teams in a Year Eight and Nine inter-Borough Competition staged recently at the Newham Leisure Centre in London.

After some highly competitive early matches which showed a good level of skill in all teams, the stage was set for a final between Helenswood and Barking Abbey School, from Barking and Dagenham.

It looked like the London side were going to take victory as they led two-nil with just four minutes remaining.

But Helenswood (pictured) battled back in style with three late goals to clinch victory and spark celebrations.

London Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker said afterwards: “The standard of handball was very high in the event, and it was great to see girls enjoying themselves - even some who didn’t have much experience.”

A similar tournament for boys was staged last weekend, and we hope to have a report in Handball News shortly.

Glasgow Remain Unbeaten

GLASGOW came out on top in the derby clash with Gracemount, winning 34-27 to give their Scottish League title hopes a boost.

The win maintained Glasgow’s 100 per cent record, and left last year’s undefeated champions Gracemount with some work to do if they are to retain their title.

Michael Groh top-scorer for Glasgow with 13 goals, while Danos Sagias added eight. For Gracemount Mounir Idir added 10 and Vincent Martinez seven, but it was not enough.

Elsewhere in the league, Tryst kept up the pressure with a 48-26 victory over Liberton to keep their 100 per cent record intact.

Tryst had to fight hard throughout the first half and were only ahead 19-14 at the break, before taking advantage of their quick wingers scoring plenty of goals from fast breaks.

James Yule scored 13 for Tryst, while Darren Fisher and Chris McManus both added seven.

Finally, East Kilbride recorded their first win of the season with a solid 40-17 win over newcomers Dumfries, with Kris Szulc scoring 14.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

E-Zine of GB visit to Limburg

A visual record of GB Women's team visit to Limburg for a preparation camp ahead of the World Championship qualification tournament in Poland.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Manchester Come out on Top in Derby Clash

MANCHESTER came out on top in their derby clash with the University of Manchester to retain their fragile lead at the top of the English Men’s League Northern Section.

Their 35-20 victory at Sugden Sports Centre in the town maintains their one-point lead over Salford, who also secured a comfortable victory to maintain their push for the title.

Eleven goals from Rybak helped Manchester do the double over the students, having led 19-10 at the break and consolidated their lead in the second half.

Georgiou scored nine goals and Girost five, and although Berezowski top-scored for the University side with five, it was not enough.

A Salford side littered with players with international experience secured a predictable 34-6 victory over Liverpool Speke Garston to maintain the pressure on Manchester.

One point behind, Salford have a game in hand and could overtake Manchester when they play that match.
Six goals each for Garthman, Woodall and Hennessy helped Salford to beat Speke Garston.

Meanwhile, third-placed Nottingham University also kept the pressure up at the top of the table with a 29-25 win over Liverpool Wolves.

With two games in hand, Nottingham University could draw level on points with Manchester if they win their games in hand, making the league even tighter.

* Great Dane maintained their table-topping form in the Southern Section with a 27-20 victory over Bath University.

Universities Challenged by Handball!

MORE than 70 handball newcomers took part in a highly-successful inaugural British Universities Beginners Tournament in Nottingham last Saturday.

There were more than 100 goals in 13 close-fought mini matches, but the newcomers weren’t limited to the court, with 11 new trainee table officials overseeing the games.

Eight goals from Beaumont helped Loughborough Arrows win the BUH Men’s Beginners Event despite being held to an exciting five-all draw by Rickie Baileys' Lincoln Blitz in their last game.

Blitz also matched the Arrows' 25-goal total over their four sixteen minute mini-matches, but fell one goal short of overall victory despite taking a 3-2 halftime lead.

Lincoln Riot beat Lincoln Blues in a weather-affected Ladies series with eight players sharing 18 goals, whilst the spirited Carnegie Alphas, Loughborough Bombers & Lincoln Abbots completed the men’s rankings.

All the matches were ably overseen by experienced delegate Colin Wills, who had earlier led 11 volunteers through their paces on a table officials course. The TOs then got their chance to put theory immediately into practice by working with five of the top EHA referees throughout the Beginners Tournament.

With the British Universities Handball Championships looming on February 19-20, the university teams still have a little time to polish up fitness and skills before vying for the BUH title and a chance to compete at the European Universities Championships in Croatia later in June.

More information on British Universities Handball is available from admin@britishuniversitieshandball.com

Cheshire Tops in Regional Champs

CHESHIRE proved dominant in the Under-16 Regional Schools Handball Championships staged last month, with both their boys and girls team securing victories at the International Futsal Centre in Birmingham.

Competition was fierce, and there was no margin for error with a league and knockout-style tournament meaning one defeat could spell the end of a team’s hopes.

But Cheshire stayed focused and secured two deserving victories.

They both remained unbeaten through the league stage, as did Bedfordshire boys.

In the boys semi-final Bedfordshire beat newcomers London Pro Active North after a nail-biting extra-time finish. And Cheshire also progressed to the final with comfortable win over Staffordshire.

As the two unbeaten teams met in the final, something had to give.

It was a high-scoring match and both teams showed a lot of promise. However, as the game drew to a close, Cheshire proved themselves to be the stronger team and eased into a 14-10 victory to secure their place as winners of the regional championships.

Meanwhile, in the girls final Cheshire and Merseyside met and again Cheshire showed their dominance and clinched a 10-6 win.

Emma Martin and Gabbi Howarth of Merseyside and Leanne Kindley of Cheshire were the 3 top scorers in the girl’s tournament, whilst Bedlow of Lancashire, Harper of Staffordshire and Tyler of Cheshire took the top three places for the boys.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ipadio: Snow, snow, more snow and 9 hours on a bus

Slick Salford Maintain Title Tilt

THE only unbeaten team left in the Men’s English League, Salford maintained their challenge for the title with an emphatic 35-21 victory over Manchester University on Sunday.

The two sides battled out a draw earlier in the season, making third-placed Manchester university the only side to take points away from Salford this season.

But it was a different story on Sunday.

After opening up an early lead, Salford never trailed and went in at half time leading 18 - 13. But the students came out after half time determined to regain the advantage.

However, the Salford defence that proved so effective against Manchester the week before became virtually impenetrable for their rivals.

Despite their valiant efforts, they only managed to score four goals in the first 20 minutes of the half and only eight in total.

In contrast, Salford scored a further 18 goals and finished the game confident 35-21 winners.

Elsewhere, Liverpool Wolves beat Deva 29-17, while Nottingham University were 31-15 winners over Liverpool Speke Garston.

Nottingham moved up to third on the back of that victory, and with games in hand they look set to mount a good challenge for the Northern Section title.

Manchester were handed a 10-0 victory over Wirral by default after the Merseyside outfit failed to raise a side for the clash against the league leaders.

* In the Southern Section, Ruislip Eagles edged past Olympia 24-23 in a thrilling encounter on Sunday.
Ruislip took the initiative right from the start and put Olympia under pressure establishing a four-goal lead thanks to several goals from Fabien Colette.

Olympia looked shaken but stood strong, and with Toufik Haddadou's goals they reduced the gap to reach half time with only a one goal deficit 13-14.

The Eagles started the second half stronger and were ahead up to five goals with 15 minutes remaining. However a fighting Olympia team managed to come back in the game and even led by one with just four minutes remaining.

Ruislip then launched one last big effort to turn the game at their advantage and finished victorious 24-23 after endless defensive displays.

Coach Kelsall Receives National Award

JUST weeks after being named as Coach of the Year at the Cheshire West and Chester Sports Awards, handball coach Gary Kelsall (pictured, centre) received national recognition this week when he was named 2010 Children’s Coach of the Year this week.

The UK Coaching Awards were held at a glittering ceremony at The Brewery in London on Tuesday.

The award citation read: “The award is due recognition of Gary’s dedication and hard work. He is the heartbeat of handball in the Chester area.

“His work with the Deva club has led to them gaining access to the National League One for the first time. Meanwhile, he led the Tarporley Junior club to the National Schools Finals, just nine months after the club was set up.”

Among his many other achievements he has helped to increase sport participation through handball by coordinating the Chester School’s Handball Competition and working with diversity projects in Chester.

Scottish Schoolkids in Handball Action

SCHOOLS handball is taking off across the country, and this week saw two major events in Scotland.

The inaugural Secondary Schools Championships was staged at Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell, and saw a good mix of newcomers to the sport mixing it well with some schools with links to established handball clubs.

Duncanrig School in East Kilbride won both the boys and girls S1-2 categories, while Belmont School from Ayr were top in the S3-4 Boys event.

Largs won the S3-4 Girls and S5-6 Girls, while another East Kilbride school, Calderglen, came out on top in the S5-6 boys category.

“There were some very close matches throughout the day despite some of the players only recently taking up handball against some schools who have associations with local handball clubs,” said Stevie Neilson, chairman of the Scottish Handball Association.

And then later in the week there were the first matches in the Scottish Junior Cup play-offs.

East Kilbride again proved strong and came out on top in the under-12s and under-10s categories, while Livingston girls beat their East Kilbride rivals 8-5 in the deciding match of the under-14s group.

Finally, new team Ayr won all of their matches in their group, finishing with a convincing 7-2 win over Livingston.

The competition continues in February with the next round of matches.

When all games are complete, the top two teams in each group will play for the Scottish Cup on May 21 2010.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme - TASS NEWS

Life with the British Handball Team

'Over the past year, TASS has been working closely with a number of our sports to help develop and strengthen their support team. One of these projects has been the introduction of Lee Ottey as The Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for British Handball. Lee has been kind enough to give us an insight into life in the Handball camp' Read the full article

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Salford Topple League Leaders

THE last two unbeaten teams in the English League’s northern section locked horns on Sunday, and fought out a superb match at Sugden Sports Centre in Manchester.

Manchester were top of the league, while local rivals Salford were second and snapping at their heels.

Salford began at a good pace and were playing some exciting handball which opened up a Manchester defence which was not performing as efficiently as in their past few matches.

After 15 minutes, Salford had forged into a 13-4 lead, forcing Manchester into a timeout to reorganise.

Manchester came back into the game and stopped Salford from every corner of the court, with clinical fast breaks from Georgiou and Hammache, thus levelling at 13-13 with an on-the-buzzer shot from Girost.

The second half started well for Manchester who took a two-goal lead. But the Mancunians began to accumulate mistakes, with poor ball circulation leading to too many ball losses, poor shots from the wings and almost no initiative from nine metres.

In the meantime Salford had reorganised, and equalised soon before taking a deserved lead, and extending to a 29-25 victory.

Josh Hampson scored nine times for Salford, as did Georgiou for Manchester.

Unsung Hero Award for Jacobson

LIVERPOOL Speke Garston handball coach John Jacobson has been nominated for the finals of the BBC Unsung Sporting Hero Award after winning through the North West regional stage.

His nomination comes after 42 years of dedicated service to handball development in the region, but he has not just been involved in coaching.

He was captain of Great Britain and played in Olympic qualifying rounds for the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, and played in the World Championships in 1976 and 1980 before moving into coaching to pass on his vast experience to new generations.

*After winning the West Cheshire and Chester Coach of the Year Award recently, Deva handball club coach Gary Kelsall has won the County award and is on a shortlist of three for the National Coach of the Year Awards later this month.

Nottingham University Bounce Back in Style

AFTER suffering their first defeat of the season the previous week, Nottingham University returned to winning ways when they secured a comfortable 30-18 victory over strugglers Wirral on Sunday.

Matches between the two sides have rarely been quiet in the last few seasons, with Nottingham needing a late comeback to sneak a draw in their last encounter.

But with Wirral only having five fit outfield players, Nottingham dominated this match and bounced back from their defeat to leaders Manchester seven days earlier.

However, they did not have it all their own way.

After Nottingham took an early three-goal lead, Wirral hit back to level and the scored remained tight, with Nottingham edging ahead 11-10 at the break.

The students had wasted good scoring chances, and conceded some frustrating goals. But a tactical switch in the second half soon began to pay dividends.

The players came out looking more determined and aggressive, and a good spell of pressure saw them extend their lead to 18-11.

The pressure was kept up, and Nottingham pulled away to their biggest win of the season so far.

Ten goals from Ahmed Louhichi, plus seven from Ruben Wolff, helped Nottingham secure the win.

In other results in the Northern Section, Deva climbed off the bottom of the table when they secured a close 24-23 victory over Liverpool Speke Garston on Sunday.

Four goals from Stephen Jameson helped Deva to victory, while Steffan added six. Speke Garston’s Roscoe scored five, but it was not enough for victory.

And Manchester University kept up the pressure of the top two with victory over Liverpool Wolves to remain third in the table.

They won 26-22, but only after edging to victory from a 12-12 scoreline at half time. Manchester University’s win sees them remain third, just three points off the top of the table.

Nine goals from Rudolf Balla and six from Lukasz Berezowski helped them to victory.

England Awaits Regional Championships

SOME of the best young handball talent England has to offer will be on show this weekend at the EHA Regional Youth Championships in Birmingham on Saturday.

The event is being staged at the Birmingham International Futsal Arena in Handsworth, and will see teams of boys and girls from counties across the country do battle in the first round of matches.

Schools up and down the country have been busy unearthing their most talented athletes, who are now representing their counties.

Mick Hegarty, the EHA’s Director of Performance, said: “Last year's regional championship was a tremendous success with the most talented players going on to represent England at the Partille Cup in Sweden.

“Fifteen of those players are now in the AASE Programme studying handball for the next two years, and we certainly expect to find more players in this second year.

“On top of that, the Government's announcement to allow the EHA to grow the AASE programme for the foreseeable future brings in an exciting era for our National Teams.”

Registration for the event is at 9.30am, with the first match starting at 10am and going through to 2pm.
Teams from Staffordshire, Cheshire, Bedfordshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside will take part.

Newcomers Bath Secure First Win

BATH University climbed off the bottom of the table with a close 28-27 victory over Southern Section rivals Ruislip Eagles.

Securing their first victory of the current campaign, Bath battled well to take a victory which underlines just how close that league looks set to be this year.

The game started well for Bath and they were three ahead by half time. Ruislip Eagles reduced the gap after the break but could not really turn the match in their favour, whereas Bath remained composed.

An intense effort in the final couple of minutes from the Eagles saw the scoreline stand at 27-28, but a last second six-metre save from Bath's goalkeeper ensured they held on for victory.

Elsewhere in the Southern Section, Great Dane maintained their lead with victory over Cambridge, but it was mightily close, with the Danes finally winning 32-29.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great Dane Back to Winning Ways

TRAILING 5-1 after the first ten minutes, Great Dane Women recovered to notch up a 29-25 victory over Thames in the English Women’s League on Sunday.

Thames, comprised of new players almost throughout the team with little match experience, started the match well managing to surprise the Great Dane players surging ahead.

But Great Dane soon regained their composure and got it back level midway through the first half.

Great Dane managed to bring their playmaker Anne Kandler more into play, and many of their goals came from their back court players. For Thames new signing Maria Kourdoulos managed time and again to threaten from the left wing and was on occasion only stoppable by fouls, resulting in seven-metre penalties.

The half time score of 16-15 in favour of Great Dane reflected very fairly much of the action on both sides of the court.

In the second half, both teams tried to gain the upper hand and several fast breaks from Great Dane lead to a four-goal advantage but tactical changes, including man marking the playmaker and most prolific scorer, helped contain the danger from the back court for a while.

However, Thames missed many chances by giving the ball away too soon or by individual action, trying shots without having created clear scoring opportunities.

Many of their shots were deflected by the Great Dane defence or parried by their in-form goalkeeper Daniela Coelho.

Kandler ended as top scorer with ten goals in the 29-25 victory, while Mariana Huisquara added six and Delphine Morel and Alesandra Garaloska four each. For Thames Maria Kourdoulos scored eight, Olimpia Lopes da Veira seven and Anine Hansen five.

Manchester beat Rivals to go Top of the Table

WITH both teams yet to drop a point this season, Sunday’s English League clash between Manchester and hosts Nottingham University proved to be a thrilling encounter which lived up to expectations.

Both sides were determined to get the three points at stake which allowed the winner to take the lead on the table.

The usual fast tempo implemented by these two teams got slowed down, as both defensive formations were solid and experienced.

Nottingham started this game with a high 5-1 which perturbed Manchester’s ball circulation. However the Mancunians managed to score by playing between their defensive lines.

Manchester defended as a unit, forcing Nottingham to take shots on the wings mainly. The outstanding performance of our goalkeeper Zolt Deak, allowed Karim’s men to enjoy their break with an advantage of five goals at 11-6.

After the break, Nottingham came back on the pitch with an even higher defensive system (4-2), which encouraged the Manchester halves to provoke one on one duels.

The ball was released to the wings when Manchester could not break through the centre.

A red card for a Manchester player and two two-minute suspensions for Nottingham men, the orange and black fought hard to close up the gap that was separating them on the score board. But they couldn’t overhaul the target, and Manchester ended up 24-17 winners.

In other Northern League action at Greenbank, Salford beat Deva 36-23 to remain as the only other unbeaten team and take second in the table, while Liverpool Wolves beat Merseyside rivals Wirral 21-15 and Liverpool Speke Garston lost out 41-17 to Manchester University.

And in the southern section, Great Dane won 28-23 against title rivals Olympia, and Cambridge battled to a 33-25 win over Bath University.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deva Fever! League Newcomers Beat Champs

DEFENDING champions Great Dane suffered a shock 19-21 defeat to league newcomers Deva at Leyton SCORE Centre in London on Sunday.

After winning the Northern Development League for the last two season, Chester side Deva travelled to London to take on a Great Dane side who secured their first European victory in the European Challenge Cup just a few weeks earlier.

But they got off to an excellent start with 17-year-old England Youth international Ellie Whitehead banging in a powerful finish from the left wing.

Throughout the first half it was neck and neck, with neither side converting several one on one fast break opportunities as defences dominated, and Great Dane edged ahead 10-9 at the break.

The second half continued where the first half left off, with Anne Kandler of Great Dane and Florentina of Deva trading blows with several jump shot goals.

With around ten minutes remaining Great Dane took a three-goal lead, but Deva refused to give in, showing why they were undefeated for two years in the development league.

A time out and a change of tactics worked wonders, and 18-year-old National League debutant Nicola Quick threw herself into the area to win a penalty, coolly converted by Florentina.

This was followed by two inch-perfect passes by Charlotte Robinson which allowed Loewnau to finish expertly from the right wing and edge ahead to win 21-19.

"This is more than we could have hoped for and hopefully sends a clear message out that Deva have arrived,” said coach Donna Hankinson.

“We have been working towards this for the past three seasons, we consistently have 25 girls training with us, a couple of excellent European players and the rest young English girls.

“We wanted to enter the National League this year to give these young players some role models, players and a team to aspire to be in - and what better start could we have had?

“Some will look at the result and maybe think we were lucky, but you make your own luck.”

Top Coach Award for Deva's Gary Kelsall

DEVA Handball Club coach Gary Kelsall received a Coach of the Year Award at the second annual Cheshire West and Chester Sports Awards ceremony.

As well as his work with Deva, Kelsall (pictured) also coaches across the Chester School Sport Partnership area, and his award citation read: “Gary’s commitment to the sport is second to none and his dedication was rewarded earlier this year when he was asked to join the national team coaching staff.”

Deva were also presented with a certificate in recognition of achieving ClubMark status this year.

Universities: Embrace Handball!

BRITISH Universities Handball are offering aspiring table officials and new players an opportunity to experience Tournament Handball at Nottingham on Saturday, December 4.

Aimed at those new to the sport or looking to learn how to officiate, the Beginners Tournament underlines a desire to promote and enhance handball at our universities.

Further information is available from admin@britishuniversitieshandball.com

Manchester March on in English League

MANCHESTER Handball Club recorded their fourth straight victory to go top of the English League on Saturday, but they were made to work for the win by Liverpool Wolves.

Six first half goals from Girost helped Manchester to a 15-9 lead at the break, with their halves creating gaps between the defenders by moving the ball around and taking several six-metre shots.

But Liverpool hit back hard and out-scored their opponents in the second half, but it was not quite enough to overhaul the deficit.

The Wolves brought a new defending tactic into the second period, and Manchester struggled to adapt their attacks. But despite their motivation and success at shooting, Liverpool could only close to within four goals.

* This Sunday, Manchester will be aiming to keep their winning run going when they take on Nottingham University at their Sutton Bonnington Campus.

In other scheduled matches, Salford play Deva, Liverpool Wolves take on Wirral, and it’s Speke Garston v University of Manchester, all at Greenbank.

In the Southern Section, Great Dane will play arch-rivals Olympia at Leyton, while Cambridge and Bath University are due to play at Moulton in Northampton.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hosts Scotland Win Four Nations Tournament

AN experienced Scottish side came out on top after a thrilling Four Nations Tournament saw them play host to England, Ireland and a Scottish Select team at Inverclyde last weekend.

The hosts faced some stiff opposition, but the experience gained by several members of the Scottish team - who are former GB players who trained out in Denmark - gave them the edge.

Scotland began with a 26-23 victory over the Scottish Select side, and it proved to be a close match with many of the players knowing each other from Scottish League encounters.

Allan Stokes scored six and Brian Bartlett five for Scotland, while for the Select team Kris Szulc scored seven and Jens Frederikson added six.

Also on Friday, Ireland beat a young England side 37-31. Trailing 18-11 at the break, England came out strongly for the second half and reduced the deficit to two goals, before the Irish hit back to win by six.

The top scorer for Ireland were Hichem Sefroun, while for England Stuart Latchford scored six and Aden Woodall five.

Saturday opened with England edging a close match with the Scottish Select team.

Level at 13-13 at half time, the match looked to be swinging the way of the Scots with England receiving a two-minute suspension with just four minutes still on the clock. But they failed to capitalise, and England held out to win by two goals.

Aden Woodall was top scorer for England with seven goals, while for the Select Jens Frederickson added eight and Kris Szulc five.

What turned out to be the match of the Tournament came next, and Scotland clinched a decisive 32-18 win over Ireland.

Ireland were unable to cope with the pressure defence that the Scotland team applied and were continually frustrated.

Leading 15-6 at the break, Scotland continued to keep up their advantage in the second half and every time Ireland reduced the deficit by a few goals Scotland would again take their lead back.

Top scorers for Scotland were Gary McCafferty with 10 and Allan Stokes with six, while Alan O’Brien scored six for Ireland.

Narrowly ahead by just one goal at half time, Ireland went on to beat the Scottish Select team 34-25 in their final clash on Sunday, but Oisin O’Brannagain scoring 11 goals and Jens Federickson seven.

Scotland took on England in the final match of the Tournament, with both sides still in with a chance of overall victory.

Early in the match the teams were close but then the pressure defence from Scotland started to take its toll on England and their scoring rate dropped and the Scots were 18-12 ahead at half time.

The experience of Scotland began to tell in the second half, but the younger England team still played very well, although they were certainly missing Stuart Latchford who was unable to play due to an injury in the previous match.

The Scottish team kept up a high intensity throughout the match and the team spirit throughout the weekend really contributed to their success.

Univ of Manchester overwhelm Deva in National League

UNIVERSITY of Manchester overwhelmed newcomers Deva 36-13 in their English Men’s League (North) clash at the Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool on Sunday.

After a slow start to the season which saw them without a win for the first three weeks, the University of Manchester notched up their second consecutive victory to move up to third in the early league table.

Eight goals from Rudolf Balta led the way for the students, while Patryk Homa, Lucasz Berezowski and Andreas Papelia all added six each to keep the score ticking over.

Elsewhere in the North, Liverpool Speke Garston beat Wirral 24-19 in the day’s other match at Greenbank.
The Wirral side had only six players, but battled well against a strong and determined Liverpool Speke Garston team.

The game was goal for goal throughout the encounter and, when pushing to try and bring the game equal, the Wirral team were caught with a number of fast breaks which meant that Speke Garston pulled away in the closing stages to take victory.

In the Southern Section, Ruislip Eagles beat champions Great Dane 29-28,, while Olympia beat Cambridge 25-19.

Ruislip Open Season with a Win

Ruislip Eagles got their season off to a great start with a convincing 39-12 win over Thames on Sunday.

The Eagles are determined to make a significant push for the league and cup this year having lost both titles to rivals Great Dane last season, and have been boosted this season with the return from long-term injury of Lenka Kocisova as well as strengthening in the goalkeeper position.

Thames were fielding a new-look team and got off to a good start, with speed in their attack. But Ruislip’s new goalkeeper Elizabeth Solhaug was in fantastic form, with an 80 per cent save rate in the first half.

Ruislip soon settled and were dominating from fast breaks where Kocisova and Telek were unstoppable. The Eagles built a commanding half time lead of 21-5, largely due to the efficient fast breaking and Solhaug’s commanding performance and although Thames were more effective in the second half, the game was over as a contest and Ruislip ran out 39-12 winners.

Top scorers for Ruislip Eagles were Telek with 12, while Kocisova added 11 and Dani Sposi 6.

This Sunday, Great Dane open their defence of the National League title with a match against Chester side Deva at Leyton SCORE Centre in London.

Expert Help for London Handball Players

YOUNG handball stars of the future got some expert advice during a training session last week, when they joined in with a training session with the Great Britain men’s team at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

The youngsters came from across London, and were brought in by Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker who liaised with British Handball to make the session happen.

“Everyone paired up with one of the GB players on each position, and they helped them out with learning some new tricks and passing on their skills,” she said.

“The team just made my young players’ whole year! They’re already asking when they can do it again!”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Close Results in Northern Section

THERE were some close encounters of the handball kind in the Northern Section of the Men’s English League on Sunday, with two of the three matches decided by just one point.

Salford and Nottingham beat Liverpool Wolves and Deva respectively by just one point, and as the league continues to see improving skills from many teams the 2010-11 season looks set to prove close to the end.

Liverpool Wolves put up a tremendous fight against an experienced Salford side, but went down 22-23.

The two sides were neck and neck for much of the game, with the Wolves’ defensive performance keeping Salford within reach - especially through the performance of goalkeeper Stuart Clarke.

Nottingham University secured a 19-18 victory over Deva to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, but with their next clash being against Salford in two weeks time, that could all change.

Leading 9-5 with half time approaching, Nottingham made some careless errors and Deva reduced the deficit to 9-7 at the break.

With one goal separating the two sides, Deva pushed on with their rivals a man down, but Nottingham held on for the win.

And in the day’s other match, Manchester beat Liverpool Speke Garston 28-10.

Liberton Battle to Bonus Point

GLASGOW were made to work hard by Liberton in the closest clash of the weekend in the Scottish League, which ended 36-26.

Played at the newly-built Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell, the match saw Liberton take a bonus point under the new scoring system for losing by ten or less.

Tryst had a slightly easier time of it against East Kilbride, winning 32-14 after dominating, with their fast breaks punishing an East Kilbride side who were missing some key players.

And Gracemount Edinburgh marched on with a 50-14 demolition of league newcomers Dumfries.

With 15 goals from Jens Frederiksen leading the way, Gracemount capitalised on mistakes by Dumfries, who nevertheless are rapidly improving.

Bids for University Championships Due In

BIDS to host the 2011 University Handball Championships close on Monday, with the popularity of the event in recent years giving organisers some criteria to meet.

Venues must have two courts available for the bulk of the two-day event on February 19-20, and courts should normally be marked out at 36 x 19 metres.

The hosts will be responsible for all aspects of local organisation, while the England Handball office will handle other aspects such as entry fees and provision of trophies.

Final proposals must be addressed to EHA Director of Competitions, Carl Norman, and sent to the EHA office. Details can be found on www.EnglandHandball.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Great Dane Women Record First European Victory

GREAT Dane Women beat Greek side AS Aris Thessalonikis 31-20 in the European Challenge Cup last weekend to become the first British women's team to record a European victory in over 20 years.

The London club were playing in the competition for the first time after qualifying as English League champions, and travelled with a squad of 17 to Leiria in Portugal for their two matches in the second round of the tournament.

“It was a fantastic and memorable experience for everyone,” said player Anne Kandler. “The final whistle was lost in jubilation and we won the title for the most passionate celebration for sure.”

Hosts Juvelis provided their first opposition, watched by more than 300 spectators.

Great Dane started nervously, and every technical mistake was immediately punished. But the Danes fought themselves back into the game and kept a 4-5 goal difference for most of the first half.

“The Portuguese team proved to be a physically strong opponent and their aggressive and clever 5:1 defence caused some problems,” added Kandler.

The second half followed a very similar pattern – a passionately fighting Great Dane team playing some good handball, forced the Portuguese to show their best until the end when they were 32-19 winners.

“We learnt our lesson that we can keep up with the other teams, now we only need to reduce our own technical mistakes,” added Kandler.

After some intense sessions with osteopath for all the Great Dane players, they took on Thessalonikis in their final match, and looked a different team from their opening game with variable and aggressive defence.

“The first half was relatively equal and the team played probably their best handball: beautiful goals from the wings, powerful shots from the back, impressive goalkeeping and fast breaks lead to a half time score of 16-13,” explained Kandler.

“And the second half proved that youth cannot replace experience - the oldest player of the Greek team was younger than the youngest player of our team!” she added.

Great Dane extended their lead gradually to a comfortable 31-20 victory, while in the final game of the tournament, Juvelis beat Thessalonikis 36-25.

Kandler scored 12 goals in their two games, while Iris Manu scored 11, including ten in their victory over Thessalonikis.

“It was a great experience,” added Kandler. “And the team would like to thank our coach Paulo Silva for inspiring us to a great result, Karin Modig for doing a great job in organising our Challenge Cup adventure, and our osteopath Alexia Lescure for ensuring that everyone survived it.”

English Men's League: Battling Bath Surprise Olympia

NEWLY-promoted Bath held Division One giants Olympia to a shock 23-23 draw in the National League on Sunday to announce their arrival in the top flight.

Despite facing a side who qualified for the European Challenge Cup last season, Bath were not over-awed by their opponents and were leading 12-11 at the break.

Six goals from Osle and five from Masiak helped Bath to a draw with Olympia, for whom Haddadou scored seven and Gug five. But it was not enough to avoid battling Bath taking a point.

Elsewhere in the South, Ruislip Eagles beat Cambridge 23-21 to make up for losing to rivals Olympia the previous week.

The Eagles started the game convincingly and led 11-8 at the break thanks to Stefan Bauer in goal.

In the second half Cambridge’s Zsolt Majoros tried hard to reduce the gap and almost turn the match in the last few minutes as Ruislip had to deal with two consecutive suspensions. However they ran out of time.

* In the North, an experienced Salford team beat Liverpool Speke Garston 30-10 with GB Under-21s Jake Williams scoring 12.

Nottingham University inflicted a first defeat of the season on Liverpool Wolves, running out 23-16 winners.
Leading 10-8 at half time, Nottingham continued to hold the Wolves at bay despite some shaky defending. Morad Arab and Ruben Wolff scored six each, and Guillaume Bodet added four.

Manchester beat city rivals Manchester University 30-25, after a spell during the second half where the University side were left with just the goalkeeper and one outfield player on court.

Girost scored ten for Manchester, Karas seven and Hammache four.

Scottish Men's League: Big Wins on Opening Day

THE top three sides in the Scottish League started their season on a high, securing big victories in their opening matches at the Blackburn Community Centre in West Lothian on Sunday.

With a new coach and some new players on show, Glasgow wanted to start on a high against East Kilbride. And so it proved as they eased to a 57-22 victory.

Glasgow started the match with some aggressive defending, and soon opened up a big lead with several breaks.

Ahead 26-10 at half time, Glasgow continued their free-scoring ways to take victory, with Danos Sagias and Fran Cuellar scoring nine goals each, while Bora Sieng added seven. For East Kilbride, Kris Szulc scored eight and Colin Reid five.

Last year’s league and cup champions Gracemount Edinburgh also secured a good win, but had to work hard to beat Liberton, 44-33.

Nicolas Loizou was in good form for Liberton, scoring plenty of goals to keep Gracemount’s lead to just 23-18 at the break.

After half time Gracemount improved their defence and scoring accuracy, while Liberton tired with a small squad limiting substitutions.

Ten goals from Christian Wolf made him top-scorer, while Allan Stokes and newcomer Jens Frederiksen both scored nine. For Liberton Loizou scored nine, while Pierre Mignotte and Christoph Schllitx scored six each.

Finally, Tryst showed no mercy to newcomers Dumfries, hammering them 57-13.

Tryst managed to convert almost all of their scoring opportunities in the first half and with strong defence they ended with a 22-goal lead by the break, and they continued to dominate in the second half.

Bruce Hunter scored 11 goals, while Brian Bartlett and Darren Fisher added seven each.

* This Sunday, fixtures are at Ravenscraig Leisure Centre in Motherwell and see Glasgow play Liberton, Tryst play East Kilbride and Gracemount play Dumfries.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National League: Wolves Begin to Bite

NATIONAL League newcomers Liverpool Wolves maintained their strong start to the season with a 33-19 victory over fellow new boys Deva at Birchwood Sports Centre on Sunday.

Both teams were quick out of the blocks to put pressure on each other, and early in the match Deva forced a string of spectacular saves from Liverpool’s in-form goalkeeper Yetis Calis.

The first stages of the match saw the two teams locked in an end-to-end battle, with perhaps the pace forcing too many careless turnovers and missed opportunities from both sides.

However, it wasn’t long before Liverpool Wolves found their form and eased into an early lead. Deva’s defence was highly physical but the Wolves were strong on the ball and managed to make the most of their opportunities in the constant six metre line tussles.

In other action, Olympia beat Ruislip Eagles 23-21 in the southern section of the league with both goalkeepers Rinkevicius and Zamani in good form.

* Wolves mascot Wolfie entertained the crowd with a penalty challenge at half time, which was won by 11- year-old George Roberts who was presented with a mini handball for his efforts.

Scottish League Ready for Action

THE Scottish Men’s League starts this Sunday, with a new scoring system in place which is designed to make the matches more exciting.

With three points for a win and two for a draw, clubs can also secure a losing bonus point if they lose by ten or less, ensuring there is always something to play for in more games.

Last year’s league champions Gracemount begin their 2010-11 fixtures with a clash against Liberton at Blackburn Community Centre in West Lothian, while other match taking place on Sunday afternoon include Glasgow against East Kilbride, and Tryst versus Dumfries.

Prior to the start of the men’s programme in the afternoon, the Scottish Women’s League continues in the morning at the same venue, with Glasgow playing Tryst and East Kilbride taking on Edinburgh, starting at 10.15am.

Olympic Mascot Wenlock Tries Handball

LONDON 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock got a taste of handball action this week after a poll on his website pitted the world’s greatest sport against beach volleyball.

Almost 10,000 votes were recorded for handball in the poll on www.mylondon2012.com/mascots, which resulted in the mascot trying handball for himself, below!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eagles Claim First Title

RUISLIP Eagles claimed their first silverware of the season when they were crowned London Cup champions at Leyton SCORE Centre in the capital on Sunday.

The Eagles took on Olympia and Thames in the Cup, which acted as good preparation for the start of the National League fixtures.

They began confidently, and led almost all the way to a 16-10 victory over Olympia, while Thames were also beaten with some ease, Ruislip winning 20-3 after displaying excellent technique in both attack and defence.

Thames picked themselves up well for their final match against Olympia, and matched their rivals for much of the game. But Olympia held their nerve and pulled away from their rivals in the closing minutes to secure an 18-11 victory.

Handball Hits Universities

A MEETING is being staged later this month aimed at organising a Universities Handball Tournament in December.

The meeting, at Nottingham university Sports Centre on October 23, will gauge whether there is enough interest in staging a Student Beginners Tournament on December 4.

If there is enough interest, the event could lead to a British Universities Championship in February, with the eventual winners going on to represent Great Britain Universities at the European Championships in Rijeka, Croatia, from July 17-24 2010.

Anyone wanting to attend the meeting, which starts at 2pm on October 23, is asked to email Admin@britishuniversitieshandball.com for more details.

Champions League Action on Eurosport

WOMEN’S EHF Champions League action is being screened live on British Eurosport this weekend, with British Handball’s own Paul Bray providing the commentary.

The group stages clash between Itxako Reyna de Navarra of Spain and German outfit HC Leipzig will be screened at 6pm, while the following day the Men’s group stage clash between German high-flyers THW Kiel and Poland’s Vive Targi Kielce will be on at 8pm.

Those matches are just two of a regular list of matches being shown on the channel throughout the Autumn, with Bray providing authoritative English commentary.

A dual British and French citizen who has played and coached the game to international level, Bray has been commentating for Eurosport since 1989, covering more than 800 matches including nine World Championships, seven European Championships and five Olympic Games as well as numerous other matches.

Sat, Oct 9 (18:00 GMT)
Women’s Champions League, group stages
Itxako Reyna de Navarra (ESP) v HC Leipzig (GER)

Sun, Oct 10 (20:00 GMT)
Men’s Champions League, group stages
THW Kiel (GER) v Vive Targi Kielce (POL)

Sun, Oct 17 (15:00 GMT)
Women’s Champions League, group stages
Gyori Audi ETO (HUN) v Podravka Vegeta (CRO)

Sun, Oct 17 (19:45 GMT)
Men’s Champions League, group stages
Vive Targi Kielce (POL) v Rhein-Neckar-Löwen (GER)

Sat, Oct 23 (14:00 GMT)
Women’s Champions League, group stages
HC Leipzig (GER) v Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT)

* Schedule is subject to change, check listings beforehand

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nottingham Win Opening Clash with Student Rivals

NOTTINGHAM University made an emphatic start to the new English National League season when they secured a dramatic 22-20 victory over Manchester University at Belle Vue on Sunday.

Some excellent goalkeeping was on show, particularly from Nottingham, and both sides made it difficult for each other to build any sort of lead.

Manchester’s Berezowski showed he was in lethal form from nine metres, and Hough netted himself five goals. But Nottingham were careful to ensure goals kept coming, particularly from Mardaras and Bodet. At half time, the score was 11-11.

The second half saw both teams losing their shape and discipline, and Manchester University’s Castro, who played on the edge all game, was able to force Nottingham into conceding penalties.

The red card for Maradaras in the second period meant Nottingham were forced to be without their most creative player, but good work with two minutes to play meant they were able to open up an all-important two-goal lead, which they hung on to with some good defence.

In other action on Sunday, senior division debutants Deva put on an impressive second half display, but it was not enough to force a comeback against a depleted but well-oiled Manchester side who eventually won 25-17.

Hammache for Manchester was the star of the show with nine goals, while LIatouji added eight.
A new and inexperienced Wirral side lost heavily to a Salford which was littered with Great Britain Under-21 players.

Jack Hennessey scored 14 goals, while Aden Woodall added ten to help Salford to a 46-21 victory. Anthony Elston scored eight for Wirral.

And league newcomers Liverpool Wolves Foundation emerged 28-10 winners over Liverpool Speke Garston, with Caralo scoring nine goals. But good defence proved the key to their victory.

Great Dane Claim London Cup Honours

ENGLISH League champions Great Dane lifted the men’s London Cup last weekend, but did it the hard way.

Ruislip Eagles beat the champions 13-14 in their opening match, but Great Dane weren’t about to make the same mistake twice and then went on to win the tournament.

A highly-contested clash followed between Thames and Olympia in the second game of the afternoon and only in the dying seconds of the game Olympia went ahead 11-10.

Thames however showed their good run of form by beating Ruislip Eagles (15-14) whereas Great Dane returned to winning ways by striking arch rival Olympia (13-12).

Olympia finished second of the tournament by beating narrowly Ruislip Eagles (13-11) whereas Great Dane finished in style against Thames (17-7) to finally win the Cup offered by the tournament partner, Kits-Direct.co.uk.

In the women’s event, which is spread over two weekends, a full Great Dane women team took on Thames squad with just seven players available.

Defying the odds, Thames battled hard and proved a strong challenger leading at half time 10-9. The second half was as entertaining with both teams really close. The game had unfortunately to be stopped five minutes before the final whistle due to the injury of a Thames player who is recovering well. Great Dane was winning 23-21.

The Women’s London Cup resumes on Sunday, October 3, with Ruislip Eagles, Olympia and Thames competing at Leyton SCORE Centre from 12pm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

London Handball Cup This Weekend

THE London Handball Association stages it’s pre-season tournament this weekend, with all the top men’s and women’s teams from around the capital competing at the Leyton SCORE Centre.

Great Dane, Thames, Olympia and Ruislip Eagles will all do battle in the women’s event on Saturday from 1-4pm, before finishing their matches on October 3 from 12-3.

And the men’s tournament takes place this Sunday from 12-5pm.

Each game last 30 minutes, providing for plenty of exciting and varied action. Spectators welcome!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Olympia Draw First Blood in Nottingham

OLYMPIA Handball Club drew first blood in the 2010-11 season when they won last weekend’s Nottingham Pre-Season Tournament.

Fielding two teams, Olympia dominated so much that the final was an all-Olympia affair, with their A team winning 13-6 over their B team counterparts.

The Tournament proved a good workout for Olympia, who head to Croatia next month to compete in the European Challenge Trophy.

Split into two groups, the competition was dominated by Olympia whose two sides topped each group.

En-route to the knockout stages Olympia’s A were made to work hard by England Boys, who were using the competition as preparation for the Home Nations Tournament but, suffering from some late withdrawals, lost out 6-7.

Second in their group, Nottingham finished third overall after beating England 9-5.
Nottingham had two of the top goalkeepers in the tournament, with No 1 Dana Mohammed making his England debut against his club side.

Aside from the action on the court, the event was also used as a training weekend for the first group of Technical Officials being trained up for the London 2012 Olympics, who ensured the event ran smoothly.

The event proved a big hit - so much so that next year’s event on September 3-4 is being planned as a two-day event to allow for more teams to take part.

Euro Talks for Scottish Handball

THE development of handball in Scotland continued last week when top officials from the European Handball Federation visited Edinburgh.

EHF President Tor Lian, Vice-President Jean Brihault, Secretary General Michael Wiederer and Development and Education Official Helmut Hoeritsch held talks with Scottish Handball Chairman Stephen Neilson, SportScotland Chief Executive Stewart Harris and SportScotland Partnership Manager Megan Griffiths.

Among other issues on the agenda was possible joint development projects between the EHF and Scottish Handball.

*In other Scottish news, the Scottish Handball Association has opened a new office at the Inverclyde National Sports Centre, which is being staffed part-time by administrator Anne McLaughlin.

The office number is 01475 687820, and Anne works from 1-5pm on Wednesdays and all day Thursday and Friday.

Advanced Handball Apprenticeships Launched

TALENTED young handball stars of the future are being offered the chance to study and train as professional athletes under England Handball’s new Advanced Apprenticeship in Handball Excellence.

Starting in November, the scheme will give 20 of the current County Squad Athletes the chance to be part of the scheme, which lasts two years and is a University entry-level qualification.

Part of the EHA’s first High Performance Centre in Warrington, the scheme looks set to expand to London where a second High Performance Centre is scheduled to open in September 2011.
England Handball Director of Performance, Mick Hegarty, said: “The AASE programme has seen athletes like double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington benefit without compromising her studies.

“This qualification is, without doubt, a significant step for England Handball to support our best young players in their studies, their career prospects and their handball destinies.

“It must not be seen in isolation of the handball community and it is important that our current clubs get on board as they have a vital partnership role to play. I sincerely hope that the handball community embraces this opportunity.”

For more details of the scheme, please go to http://www.englandhandball.com/

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nottingham Tournament This Weekend

THIS Sunday sees the traditional start of the British Handball season - the Nottingham Tournament - which has once again attracted teams from across the country.

Eight teams will be vying for the first silverware of the season in two groups of four, with all matches lasting 20 minutes and taking place at the Sutton Bonington Campus of Nottingham university.

The action begins at 10.15am, and after the group stages there will be crossover games to determine the overall winner.

The final of the tournament is due to start at 6.15pm, with the trophy presentations afterwards.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

English League Dates Set

THE English National League season begins on September 26, it has been announced.

The first matches in both the Women’s League and Division One of the Men’s League will start on that date - with university clubs being exempt from playing.

After champions Great Dane, Olympia and Manchester play their European Challenge Cup matches on October 1-3, the league resumes on October 10 with a second round of Men’s Division One games, while the Women’s Development League also begins then.

For more details of the English League calendar, please go to http://www.englandhandball.com/

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Schools Prepare to Embrace Handball

HUNDREDS of schools and colleges across the country are preparing to welcome handball onto their curriculum as part of the Change4Life programme.

The scheme - set up to help our kids to get fit and stay fit - will see handball developed in around 420 secondary schools and colleges, and it is hoped many of these will then become fully established handball clubs for the future.

As part of the roll-out of the scheme, England Handball is looking to recruit eight new staff to ensure the sport is given the best possible start at this crucial phase of the plan.

“Without doubt, this is the most exciting development opportunity which the EHA has ever had,” said England Handball’s Director of Development Louaz Hofton.

“The Change4Life programme will involve developing handball in 420 secondary schools and colleges across the country. Although this is only funded for one year, those student clubs will be supported by the Change4Life staff to become established recreational handball clubs from September 2011 onwards.

England Handball are recruiting six part time Activators and two part time Managers to be strategically placed around the country to ensure the spread of the game is as effective as possible.

With the North West and London currently hotspots for handball in England, it is hoped that other regions will also embrace the sport and, through schemes such as Change4Life, help make the sport widely known.

Scottish Referees Course

IF you are a budding handball referee and live in Scotland, then there is a course for you!

The Scottish Handball Association is staging a training course on September 18-19, at a venue to be confirmed.

Running from 9am-5pm each day, the course will cost £35 per person, and is open to people aged 16 or over on the day of the course.

For more details, please contact fred_wallaceuk@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

England Players Wanted for Home Nations Clash

PLAYERS eligible to play for England are invited to attend a training camp in preparation for the Home Nations Four Team Tournament in Scotland in October.

The event will be held on a date to be announced, and clubs are being asked to nominate players they feel are good enough to make the grade.

Players must be registered and training with a competitive club and playing regularly at a minimum of EHA National League First Division level, and you should be able to commit to all the dates in the programme.

Although there is some subsidy of the programme, some accommodation costs may need to be paid by the player.

For more information, please go to http://www.englandhandball.com/

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Head for Nottingham for Pre-Season Fun!

DON’T forget! The annual pre-season handball tournament at Nottingham will take place on Sunday, September 5.

The popular event is for both men and women and is being staged at Nottingham University’s Sutton Bonington Campus from 12noon until around 6pm. Teams from across the country are expected to attend.

The event also looks set to be run alongside an update event for referees, delegates and table officials.

For more information, please contact organiser Colin Wills on colin.wills@nottingham.ac.uk.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

London Schools Event Proves a Big Hit!

DOZENS of youngsters from across London took part in the London Inter-Borough Handball Tournament staged at Newham Leisure Centre recently.

The event was for year seven and eight pupils, and after some thrilling matches was won by Westminster City School and Barking Abbey School in the boys and girls competitions respectively.

With six boys teams and five girls team, for many it was their first taste of handball - but most left hooked on handball and wanting to play the game more!

Teams from Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Haringey, Westminster and Greenwich attended, and London Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker said: “To involve more and more teams and schools in a competition like this and to see their fantastic play is great.

“You could see from the excitement on their faces just how much they enjoyed the games. It’s great to be able to get young people together from different boroughs and play in a handball competition.”

In the boys event, after some close group matches, it was Westminster City and Thamesmead who reached the finals, with Woodside High and Newham Flames just missing out by one goal in the semi finals.

Both teams in the final were playing for the first time, but after a great match it was Westminster City School who won.

And in the girls competition, runners-up St Angela’s School were beaten by Barking Abbey, who didn’t lose a match all day.

More handball events will be staged in the London area shortly. Handball coaching sessions take place at Newham Multi Sports Club Hub every Tuesday evening from 3-6.30pm.

For more information contact Ari Bekker, London Handball Development Officer, on 07738 385515 or e-mail her at aranka.bekker@newham.gov.uk

Improving England Overcome Ireland

THE England youth handball teams beat Ireland in both the boys and girls competition in a friendly tournament staged at Birchwood, near Warrington, on Saturday.

Just a matter of months since Ireland beat them in a club tournament, England showed just how much they have improved by winning the event, which was their first international matches on home soil and were hosted by the Warrington Wolves Handball Foundation at Birchwood Leisure Centre.

England fielded both their A and B teams in both the boys and girls events, and after England Girls B had lost out 10-4 to Ireland, England A battled to a 18-16 victory over England B.

And in the final match, England A won again, beating Ireland 15-10 with Ellie Whitehead scoring six goals, while Laura Black and Jess Milligan both added three. But it had been level at 7-7 at half time until a second-half push from the England girls saw them clinch victory.

In the boys event, Ireland were made to toil by England B before narrowly winning 20-19, but England A proved too strong for their B side, winning 26-11.

In the day’s final event, England A took on Ireland and after leading 12-8 at half time, they built on their lead and ran out 26-17 winners with James Higgins scoring nine, while Paul Roden added four. For Ireland, Anderson scored five and Harding four, but it was not enough to stop a much-improved England side.

A healthy crowd were treated to a parade of the teams before the action began, and Louaz Hofton, England Handball’s Director of Development, presented a special EHA Plate to the Irish Olympic Handball Association’s Susanne Moloney.

After the event, Moloney invited England back to Ireland for a re-match, to be staged in Dublin next year with the Under-16 teams.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

England Youth Battle Well at Partille

ENGLAND’s youth handball teams passed a major milestone this week when both the boys and girls teams secured their first victories at the prestigious Partille Cup in Sweden.

The English teams attended a special Olympic Solidarity programme prior to the main Partille Cup, where they received special coaching twice a day as part of a programme to help developing handball nations improve.

After that, they were much-improved in the Partille Cup proper, with both the England side’s recording their first ever victories in the Cup.

The England boys team beat Norwegian side Reistad/Assiden 15-9, while England girls won 10-4 against Danish outfit Saeby HK.

Scottish team Tryst’s Under-18 boys won one game and drew another, while the Under-16 girls were unlucky to lose all their games, although they only lost their final match to Schiffdorf by two goals.

And Edinburgh-based Gracemount also played well, losing all five of their games but gaining important experience which helped them battle well in their final match against Haltern-Sythen which they only lost by three goals.

For more details about the Partille Cup go to http://www.partillecup.com/

England Youth Prepare for Ireland Challenge

AFTER enjoying a successful Partille Cup campaign last week, the England Youth teams will be in action again on Saturday when they take on the Ireland national youth side in a tournament in Warrington.

An action-packed six-match programme has been put together for the event at Birchwood Leisure and Tennis Complex at Birchwood, near Warrington, which will see the A and B sides from both the England Boys and Girls teams take on their Irish counterparts.

The day begins at 9am with the teams arriving and warming up, and following the parade of teams and respective Anthems, the matches will begin at 10am and conclude at 4pm with the presentation of trophies.

“The advent of the Olympic Games has seen a massive surge in handball’s popularity,” said EHA Director of Performance Mick Hegarty. “The EHA is very proud of the fact that its international programme has seen an extremely successful year.

“Our youth squads have evolved through an exacting regional selection process, participated in the Olympic Solidarity Camp with 12 other nations, competed in the world famous Partille Cup in Sweden, scoring their respective first victories, culminating in this international against Ireland.”

Brazilian Handball Teams Come to London

SEVERAL Brazilian handball teams visited London last week as they prepared for the Partille Cup in Sweden, with some fun and exciting matches taking place against local sides in London.

Sao Paulo’s Under-16 boys and girls (EC Pinheiros), along with their Under-14 boys and girls and under-12s were joined by another girls team from Santo Americano School for the visit to London, which included a trip to the Olympic viewing gallery in Stratford to see the progress of the site for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Under-16 boys team took on their counterparts from the Newham Flames Handball Club, while the Under-16 girls team took on a mixed team made up of players from Olympia, Great Dane and Ruislip Eagles.

London Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for the players here in London to play against some great players from another Continent. It’s not every day chances like this come along!

“They were really friendly, and the matches were very exciting for both teams and played in a great friendly spirit, and we’ve been invited back to Brazil at some point in the future.”

And Newham Flames captain, Abdul Kadir, added: “It was great to had the opportunity to play against a Brazilian team. We haven't had much match experience, so it has really highlighted skills we feel we need to work on. We hope to continue improving. We enjoyed the whole experience.”