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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