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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Handball Proves More Popular Than Ever!

SPORTS participation figures in England were branded ‘disappointing’ by top officials last week – but handball is bucking the trend with participation increasing dramatically.

A Sport England survey highlighted that, while some sports have seen an increase in participation, many have seen a drop including swimming and tennis.

But figures from England Handball have shown a dramatic increase in the number of people playing handball, especially in key areas like schools and universities.

Three years ago around 10,500 children and young people were introduced to handball across England. Last year, that had grown to a massive 58,000 – almost a six-fold increase in three years.

England Handball was set a target by Sport England of getting 3,000 youngsters regularly taking part in handball by 2013. But latest figures show there are already 9,000, 18 months ahead of the deadline.

This year’s British Universities Handball Championship saw unprecedented numbers of participants, while the English National League and Development League continues to go from strength to strength with new teams joining each year.

But the biggest increase in participation has come in schools, thanks largely to England Handball’s programme which has seen dramatic expansion across the country with Development Officers doing great work.

England Handball succeeded in getting handball named as one of just seven sports which are being offered to schools as part of the Government’s Change 4 Life programme which provides equipment and training in one sport to every school – and 420 schools chose handball.

Across Europe, handball is the most popular female team sport and second most popular for men with only football attracting more participants.

High-flying Salford Continue Good Form

HIGH-flying Salford secured an emphatic eighth consecutive league victory on Sunday, beating Nottingham University 35-16 at Birchwood Leisure Centre, Warrington, in the English National Men’s League.

Having had a three-week break since their last game Salford were clearly eager to get playing again. Nottingham unfortunately drew the short straw and it was clear what the outcome of what this game would be after just 10 minutes when Salford led by 8 goals to 2.

Indeed, there was just no let up for Nottingham throughout the half. Even with rotation of the Salford squad, the University side found it almost impossible to penetrate the Salford defence and were forced to take many low percentage shots.

Even when they did manage to break through the defence, an on form Rob Avery in the Salford goal pulled off great saves to ensure Nottingham reaped little reward.

At half time once again the game was over as a contest with Salford leading 18-6. A similar story followed in the second half. Whilst Nottingham got off to a bit of a better start Salford were never really troubled. The final score being 35 to 16 for Salford.

Notable performances on the day for Salford have to include Rob Avery in goal with a whopping 64 per cent save rate. Plaudits also must go to Ciaran Williams who top scored with 7 and also set up 9 other goals.

Matt Lee must also be recognised for his magnificent defensive performance in making 10 of Salford's 17 blocks of Nottingham's shots. Indeed the fact that 17 of Nottingham's shots were blocked and a further 11 were forced wide or over the target is recognition of the quality of Salford's defence.

Elsewhere, Manchester edged to a narrow 25-24 victory over Deva, the Chester side having battled back from a 15-9 deficit at half time with the help of Steve Jameson who top-scored with nine goals.

And Liverpool Wolves won 30-22 over Manchester University with Christian Wiltering scoring eight of their goals.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tryst Battle to Narrow Win

TRYST secured a narrow 30-29 victory over rivals Edinburgh, ensuring they stay second in the league after a thrilling clash in the Scottish League last weekend.

They were 16-14 ahead at half time, although the score changed hands many times during the first 30 minutes. Both teams managed to score from fast breaks and set plays and it was only at the last minutes of the first half that Tryst took advantage of an Edinburgh two-minute suspension to go ahead by two goals.

At the beginning of the second half Tryst tried to finish off the game after getting a four-goal lead. Edinburgh was determined to stay in the game and their hard working defence paid off when they equalised with few 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.

The last minute of the game wasn’t for the faint hearted; both teams could have won the game but in the end Tryst finished on top – final score 30-29.

Johnnie McAleer scored nine and Mark McLaughlan five goals for Tryst, and Vincent Martinez added eight and Pavelas Venediktouas six for Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, Glasgow beat East Kilbride 45-26.

After last week’s performance against Tryst, EK was hoping to challenge another league contestant, Glasgow.

But Glasgow took the lead from the first minutes of the game and never looked back. Both teams attacked consistently and scored plenty of goals in a high scoring game, finishing the first half 21-16 for Glasgow.

In the second half Glasgow managed to continue in the same tempo and scored a lot of goals from fast breaks, while they improved their defensive performance closing the gaps for EK key players.

Unfortunately EK run out of steam towards the end of the game and although they tried to keep the score as low as possible they couldn’t stop Glasgow scoring less than 45 goals.

Charles Razimbaud scored 12 and Danos Sagias eight for Glasgow, and Laszo Csomo 10 and Andy Wallace 7 goals for EK82.

Edinburgh will take on Dundee on Saturday 10th Dec at Blackburn, while Glasgow play Tryst at Cumbernauld on the 17th Dec which will determine which team will go into the Christmas break unbeaten.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

European Dream Ends for London GD

Following a historic win in round 2 of the European Challenge Cup, London GD’s men’s team went to Athens last weekend for their two round 3 matches against Greek side AC Doukas.

Games are normally played in home and away legs, but due to a lack of suitable halls in London as well as financial constraints, London GD opted to play both games in the Greek capital.

The team became the first UK handball team to ever make it through this far in a European Cup Competition when they won their round 2 group earlier this autumn, and were prepared for two hard games in Athens. In the end, AC Doukas proved too strong, the first game on Saturday ended with a 30-20 defeat, followed by a 36-15 defeat on Sunday.

“It was always going to be two very tough games,” said London GD chairman and player Remi Bugariu. “We are an amateur club with two trainings a week, and we were up against professional, paid players who train nearly every day.”

The chairman is very happy and proud of his team though. “We came here to do our best, and I think we did a good job,” he says. “We showed great team spirit throughout, we never gave up and fought until the end. Going to half time only three goals down in the first game was quite an achievement and testament to the team’s hard work and fighting spirit.”

With the European dream over for this year, the team will now be concentrating 100% on the domestic league and the British Cup in the spring. The club has set themselves a target of winning both league and cup titles for both men and women’s 1st division teams this season, and are aiming for European Cup participation again next season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scottish League: Round-up

DUNDEE continue to improve as they gave Glasgow a hard match at Blackburn before the more experienced Glasgow team ran out 27-25 winners in their latest Scottish League clash.

This was the second time the teams have played each other and the scoreline was completely different to their first encounter; 44-20 for Glasgow.

Dundee worked hard in defence from the very first minute and managed to keep Glasgow’s attacking force quiet for few minutes. Dundee’s attacking and defensive efforts were rewarded when they took the lead after 10 minutes eventually opening a five-goal difference for most of the first half finishing the interval on top 15-11.

The experienced Glasgow players though were determined to win and scored few important goals to make the comeback in the second half. Glasgow defence was impressive in the second half and this gave them the chance to score few easy goals from fast breaks.

Glasgow were leading by four goals by the middle of the second half but Dundee was determined to fight for their first win of the season so they kept coming back even reduction the goal margin to 1 goal. Glasgow scored the last goal of the game with a minute to go and sealed their victory; final score 27-25. 

Danos Sagias scored eight for Glasgow and Clement Morisse added six. For Dundee, Felix Breyer scored seven and Peter Meadley five, but it was not enough to stop Glasgow’s 100% record in the league.

* An impressive defensive performance from EK82 was not enough to stop them slipping to a 26-24 defeat in the final match of the day against the current champions Tryst.

Similarly to the first game, EK82 overpowered Tryst in the first part of the first half leading the score 11-4 after 15 minutes. Tryst improved both their defence and attack after a much needed time out and with the introduction of their manager/player Alan Govan reduced the goal difference to three goals by the end of the half 11-14.

Tryst started the second half very strongly and improved their scoring percentage while their goalkeeper made scoring difficult for EK. After few minutes into the second half Tryst took the lead and never looked back. EK tried hard to stay in the game but they run out of steam due to the lack of substitutions.

Tryst took advantage of their experienced squad and managed to keep on top throughout the game, ending up winning by 24 goals 26-24.

James Jule and Johnnie McAleer scored six goals for Tryst, while for EK82 Lazslo Csoma scored six, Colin Reid and Krizstian Kormos scored five goals each.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

English National League: Round-Up

SALFORD gave their hopes of winning the English National League’s Northern Section a major boost when they beat the only other unbeaten team, Manchester, 28-21 at Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool on Sunday.

The victory leaves Salford with seven wins from seven matches, and seven points clear at the top of the table.

Liverpool Wolves beat battling Deva 29-23 in their clash, while Leeds won 29-22 against Nottingham University.

The game between Liverpool Speke Garston and Manchester University got off to a slow start with both sides struggling to get going being evenly matched in the first half going in 8-8 at the interval.

Both teams never hit the heights, but the Liverpool team edged ahead in the first ten minutes of the second half with two well taken goals by Hughes and McMahon.

However both teams missed a succession of chances, but once again a time suspension at 50 minutes proved to be the home teams downfall as the University students capitalised and gained a three-goal advantage.

Chasing the game in the final minutes Kourniliou fired in three well taken gaols but was insufficient to deny Manchester University who ran out winners at 21-15.

* In the Southern Section, Ruislip Eagles ran out 33-25 winners over Bath University.

* Ruislip Eagles Ladies were also celebrating last weekend after securing a narrow 20-18 victory over old enemies London GD.

Dani Sposi scored 11 goals for the Eagles, while Ulrike Luhmeier was GD’s top-scorer with five.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deva Give Salford Rough Ride in National League

A PLUCKY Deva side took on Salford, the current leaders of the northern section of the England National League, on Sunday.

Whilst the final score of 38-29 shows a comfortable win for Salford, congratulations must go to Deva for scoring quite so many goals. Indeed, a result that looked pretty unlikely at half time as Salford led by 11 goals.

This time though the usual Salford gear change failed to materialise. Instead of pushing on in their usual manner to open up an even greater lead, Salford simply seemed to coast along.

Deva sniffed their chance to capitalise and took it. Keeping neck and neck with Salford all the way through the half, indeed for a while the young side from Chester even managed to close the gap a little before Salford once again took it back to nine goals, finishing the game winners by 38 goals to 29.

All in all the gap between the teams never got lower than 7 goals, so the result was never in doubt. However, Deva will take lots of positives from the game and will now go in to their remaining fixtures with a much deserved confidence boost.

In other Northern Section action, Liverpool Speke Garston continue to improve as they gave Nottingham University a hard match at Greenbank before the students ran out 35-31 winners.

Both teams were strong in defence in the opening eight minutes of this encounter as both teams defended keeping the score to 0-0. The less experienced Liverpool Speke Garston team matched Nottingham goal for goal and only by squandering a number of clear shots at goal went in at the break down at 14 -11.

The second half proved entertaining, Campillo for Liverpool Speke Garston found his shooting arm along with his counterpart, Nottingham’s Mardaras, who scored nine.

Liverpool efforts were rewarded when they took the lead and opened a two-goal difference late in the second half, they held on until the final six minutes but a two-minute time suspension to Davies turned the game in Nottingham’s favour who capitalised and pressed home the advantage ruthlessly and ran out winners at 35-31.

In other action, Manchester came out on top against University of Manchester 25-23, while Leeds Hornets also secured a narrow win, 27-26 over Liverpool Wolves.

* In the southern section, London GD and Olympia battled out a 30-30 draw, while Ruislip beat Oxford University 37-22.

Scotland Battle well in Europe

A YOUNG Scotland team played superbly in the European Challenge Trophy, finishing third in their group and securing a win over Malta.

They got off to a tough start in their group, playing eventual group winners Moldova in their opening match. Moldova put Scotland under pressure right from the start of the match and a combination of aggressive defending and high quality fast-breaking saw Moldova lead by 14 goals at half time.

The Scotland boys continued to fight through the second half with Alex Wylie scoring 10 goals being the upside for Scotland, but eventually went down 47-20 to the more experienced and physically stronger side.

In their second match they played an Azerbaijan side who had struggled to find their rhythm in their first match. However they came out ready for the second match and proved that the first match had been an off day.

The Scotland team play better in defence and with more fluency in attack but were powerless to prevent a 16-goal loss.

On the final day the Scotland team really had to lift their spirits with a chance to still finish third in the group by beating Malta, the host nation.

They knew it would be difficult with Malta playing in front of a home crowd who would get behind them and drive them on. Scotland had a boost for the match with the news that Alex Girvan would be fit to play having overcome the groin injury that kept him out the first two matches.

Scotland started the match very well and gave the Maltese a real surprise. They went in seven goals up at half time with the Maltese looking shell-shocked and the crowd starting to lose the spirit it had before the match.

Malta came out ready to fight in the second half playing higher pressure defence but this made little difference pressing out two of the Scotland back players.

However this left too much space for the Scotland team who proved too fast for their opponents and eventually won the match by five goals and Alex Girvan Top scoring with 14.

Andrew Mackellar also made it into the all star team after his nine goals against Azerbaijan and a great tournament in defence.

After the match coach Gary McCafferty said: “I am immensely proud of all the players, after two hard matches they came out fighting and have come away with a win.

“We have a young squad with an average age of just 19, so to come here and manage to stay motivated and achieve our target after 2 tough defeats is a great credit to the players and bodes really well for the future.”

Scottish League: Round-up

GLASGOW scraped past Edinburgh 25-21 after a close and thrilling match, while EK82 managed their first win of the season, beating newcomers Dundee 33-27 at Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell on Sunday.

This was the first time SHA handball games were played on a professional EHF Gerflor, so all of the players were exited to show their skills on the ‘ultimate handball court’.

Both Glasgow and Edinburgh defended hard from the very first minute of the game. Glasgow scored first and never lost the lead throughout the game although Edinburgh was never behind by more than 3 goals.

Glasgow were only 14-13 ahead at half time, and they continued to have a real fight on their hands against Edinburgh in the second half.

Edinburgh tried hard to take the lead in the second half and although they were just 2 goals down (22-20) with 3 minutes to go they run out of steam due to the lack of substitutions.

Glasgow took advantage of their 14 players squad and managed to defend and attack consistently throughout the game, ending up winning by 4 goals 25-21.

Danos Sagias scored nine and Adria Espinas six goals for Glasgow.

For Edinburgh, Vincent Martinez scored nine and Mounir Iddir five goals, but it was not enough to stop Glasgow.

In the second game of the day a more experienced EK82 team took a small lead early on and never looked back, beating newcomers Dundee by six goals - 33-27.

Eagles Overcome Olympia

RUISLIP Eagles Women continued their unbeaten start to the season with a comfortable 29 -11 victory over Olympia.

It was a victory that came at a high price however, as the champions suffered yet another serious injury - this time one of their key defenders and left back Kerstin Pappenfuss with a ruptured Achilles.

This is their second major injury already this season, following the knee injury to captain Zsuzsi Telek. Olympia also suffered several injuries and an illness which also made it difficult for them to compete with Ruislip in the second half.

Olympia kept pace with Ruislip for large parts of the first half in a low scoring start but gradually Ruislip started to pull away and build a lead that they would never lose with Dani Sposi rattling in the goals, eventually scoring 14.

At one point, Olympia were down to just 6 court players including the keeper, as they battled to sort out their injuries and in this time Ruislip were able to fast break and take advantage of the additional player.

Ruislip will hope for no further injuries to their already weakened squad as they face Great Dane on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

England on Form in Challenge Trophy

ENGLAND Under-23s battled to third spot in a tough European Challenge Trophy group in Ireland last weekend, beating the host nation and pushing their other rivals all the way.

The youngsters took on teams from Georgia, the Faroe Islands and Ireland in the Challenge Trophy in Limerick. Despite coming 3rd in the group, the team surprised many by their performances.

The first game on Friday saw England take on Georgia who were the pre-tournament favourites to win the group and progress to the final playoff in Serbia in January.

Right from the early stages of the game though the England team were not overawed by their more favoured opponents. Indeed it took Georgia almost 25 minutes to eke out a slender 1 goal lead. It was only some good saves by the Georgian keeper and a couple of late fast breaks that allowed the Georgians to go in at half time with a three-goal lead at 13-10.

The second half started similar to the first with both teams being very closely matched. It was only a relatively poor 10 minutes spell during the middle of the second half that allowed the Georgians to gain more of an advantage and increased their lead to six.

After a time out to regroup, England regained their composure to reign back the Georgians and to match them for the remainder of the half. The Georgians eventually running out winners by six goals at 22-28.

But in the end it was a story of what might have been. England were made to pay for the chances they missed early in the game. The score could have, and probably should have been much closer. Indeed, a win for England would not have been out of the question, and that's not something you hear said regularly in international handball!

In the other game of the first day, the Faroe Islands took on Ireland and had a comfortable 10-goal victory, winning 30-20.

The second day of the tournament saw England take on the Faroe Islands where handball is pretty much the national sport, so a tough task was clearly going to be the order of the day.

However, England set out in similar vein to the day before against Georgia, keeping the Faroes to a narrow lead. Every time the Faroes seemed to be gaining an upper hand England would bring them back to within touching distance. At half time the Faroes held a narrow three-goal lead at 15-12.

During the second half of the game England seemed to come over very nervous. Whether there was new found expectation putting on pressure is unclear. But somehow England lost all cohesion and fluency.

This, combined with some brilliant shooting from the Faroe Islands wingers, allowed them to stretch their lead to 10 goals by the middle of the half. From then on the England players were just trying too hard to claw back the deficit. There's an old adage that under pressure old habits tend to return. And this was clearly the case here where players would, for the right reasons, try to force a shot or a pass that was clearly not the right decision to make.

This in turn lead to numerous turnovers and the resulting breaks gave the English goalkeepers no chance. In the end what could have been a close-run game turned in to a devastating loss with the Faroes winning the game by 18 at 40-22.

In the other game of the day Ireland faced Georgia and lost by 16 goals.

Day 3 of the tournament saw England take on Ireland. For the Irish this was the game that mattered. For the English it was a case of getting back some pride after the Faroes game.

The game started well for England with a couple of early goals giving them the initial advantage. However, the Irish weren't going to take this lying down and quickly made a comeback to draw level and then take a slender lead themselves.

At this point old habits once again returned for the English. A number of silly shots and mistakes giving the Irish easy return goals allowing them to go in at half time four goals up at 15-11.

Clearly something needed to change. This is the time good coaching is needed and it was much a case of the right words at the right time delivered in the right way from coach Paul Popovic that allowed the England lads to come out for the second half in a much better position than they went in.

What was to follow was a true testament of what the lads were really capable of - an awesome display of handball.

Right from the start of the second half their new fighting spirit saw the lads claw back the deficit from 3 goals, 2 goals, to 1 goal. The crowd that had been raucous and load in the first half grew quiet as the sea of change passed over them. The only cheering now was coming from the English.

Goal after unanswered goal was now the order of the day. Some fantastic defensive blocking combined with great goalkeeping made life almost impossible for the Irish when they attacked. When they were forced to defend they had no match for the English creativity which simply tore their defence apart.

The four-goal half time deficit turned into a seven-goal lead by the latter stages of the second half. It was only a couple of late goals that gave the Irish a more respectable score. A second half performance that saw the English score 18 goals to the Irish 9 gave them the victory at 29-24.

In the other game of the day the Faroe Islands and Georgia met to determine who would win the group and take the spot in the final in Serbia. The Faroes started well and led by six at one stage of the first half.

The Georgian's however fought back well to get within a goal of the Faroes by the middle of the second half. The two teams remained close for the rest of the half but the Faroes managed to hold on to win by three goals. They now go on to face Maldova in the final.

Performances of note during the tournament came from Rob Avery, Stuart Latchford and Rafik Tahraoui who were all nominated as English players of the game by the IHF/EHF observers in the three games respectively.

Congratulations also go to England’s Danny Coggins who was voted onto the tournament dream team as the best line player.

All in all a successful end to the trip. With the exception of the second half of the game against the Faroes, England finally showed that they can be competitive against continental opposition.

Indeed, whilst a good result came against the Irish, there was still a tinge of disappointment at not getting better results against the other two nations. It was very much a case of what could have been.

* Text: Kristian Marsh.

London GD Scrape Past Oxford

NINE goals from Olschleger helped London GD scrape past Oxford University 32-28 after a close and thrilling match at Leyton SCORE Centre in London on Sunday.

The reigning league champions were only 15-13 ahead at half time, and they continued to have a real fight on their hands against Oxford, for whom Abdulla Alshamuari was top-scorer with eight goals.

In the day’s other match, Ruislip Eagles secured a convincing 38-21 win over Bath University, with nine goals from Azzedine Messis helping them to victory.

For Bath, Jeremy Hamelin scored ten goals, but it was not enough to stop the Eagles.

And in the women’s National Division, Ruislip Eagles secured a 21-16 victory over Thames with their GB player Dani Sposi scoring eight goals and Kerstin Pappenfuss seven.

* In the Men’s Northern Division, Liverpool Speke Garston lost out 29-20 to newcomers Leeds Hornets.

The inexperienced new Speke Garston team struggled in the opening 10 minutes of their clash, conceding six goals without reply due to poor handling and shooting.

Despite creating clear opening scoring opportunities they were denied by the outstanding Leeds goalkeeper Narel who made successive saves from point blank range to deny the Liverpool team throughout the first half, Leeds leading 17-6 at the break.

Regrouping at half time, Liverpool Speke Garston came out of the blocks on fire, rattling in five goals without reply which stunned the Leeds team and closed the goal difference to six in this purple patch which lasted for fifteen minutes.

However, a string of six consecutive missed fast break chances went begging as they failed to score against the Leeds goalkeeper who was the outstanding player of the match and with each missed shot Leeds clinical shooting enabled them to pull away finishing with a score of 29 -20 to Leeds.

English Coaches Continue to Improve

ENGLAND Handball’s coach training initiative continues to be rolled out, with the first Smart Plan Coaching Weekend being held in London last month.

The session was delivered by Roman Filtz, the appointed EHF Tutor from Austria, who delivered a similar course last January in Liverpool to the first group of clubs.

The clubs involved in the Smart Plan this time were Newham Flames, Haringey, Morley, Salford, Newark, Peterborough, Cannock, Biddick and Manchester Hawks.

All the organisation was done by John Thomason, EHA Development Manager and Tom Smith, EHA Club and Universities Liaison Officer.

The session took place at Herschel Grammar School in Slough, west of London. The Sports Hall was splendid, giving a court of 38m x 20m which is excellent for Club and Youth Handball.

Roman gave out a huge amount of most useful advice and guidance to the coaches, many of whom were in their late teens and are already delivering sessions to younger boys and girls.

Members of the EHA staff, Chris Park and Liam McCarthy were also present, as were top coach Donna Hankinson and Referee Kristian Marsh.

Many of the clubs are relatively new to the handball scene but this is surely the future of Handball in England.

This was an excellent course and the second session is due to take place in Jan/Feb 2012 in the North of England.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

England 25 Georgia 31 (HT 10:13)

ENGLAND slipped to a narrow defeat against Georgia in the opening match of their EHF Challenge Trophy campaign in Ireland on Friday.

England went into the game as underdogs, but right from the start surprised their opponents and the crowd by leading for much of the first half.

Indeed after 25 minutes the Georgian's had just managed to scrape a slender 9-8 lead. It was only some unfortunate missed chances by England that meant the half time score was 13:10 in favour of the Georgia.

The second half started a bit nervously for England with some more missed chances allowing the Georgians to extend their lead to 6. England didn't let this rile them however and managed to fight back and matched the Georgians for much of the half bringing the scores back to within five minutes to go.

Last ditch efforts were the order of the day to try and get a result from the game. Unfortunately this was to be to no avail and the Georgians eventually managed to regain their six-goal advantage to win the game.

So, whilst this was a loss for the English it was by no means a defeat. A few heads were certainly turned by a strong English performance.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Salford Beat Rivals Liverpool Wolves

SALFORD opened up a five-point lead at the top of the National League (North) table after they overcame previously unbeaten Liverpool Wolves 35-16 in their latest match at Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool.

A hard-fought match was in prospect between the teams first and second in the league, not least because two young Wolves players moved to Salford in the summer.

But while Salford had a full-strength team, Liverpool had just two on the bench because of injuries and unavailabilities.

Nevertheless, the game started with great intensity, Salford playing a 5-1 aggressive defence and Liverpool Wolves choosing a slightly more conservative deep 6 nil defence.

The first 20 minutes showed moments of very good defensive handball. Both teams were holding each other with hard tough defences. Unfortunately, Liverpool ran out of steam as their lack of replacements took its toll.

Tiredness caused late tackles and several two-minute exclusions, which Salford punished and used to open up a 13-6 lead at the break.

The second half was all Salford as they stepped up several gears.

It was 11 minutes later when Liverpool scored their next goal, but in the meantime Salford had scored 10, effective killing the game as a contest and they went on to win 35-16.

Notable performances came from Salford's playmaker Ciaran Williams with 9 assists, while Stuart Latchford and Aden Woodall scored six goals apiece.

The best players for Liverpool Wolves were a never-stop-fighting Sean Feery and Stu Clark in goal who, with some fantastic saves, kept the goal difference in check.

In other action at Greenbank, Manchester maintained their unbeaten record with a 30-24 victory over Nottingham University with Georgiou top-scoring with nine goals.

University of Manchester secured their first victory of the season with a 21-20 win over Leeds Hornets, while Deva beat Liverpool Speke Garston 28-20.

* In the Southern Section, Bath were unlucky not to secure their first league win of the season over Oxford University on Sunday.

Level at 13-13 at half time, they were just edged out 29-32 by their rivals, who are second in the table.
Olympia battled to a narrow 21-19 victory over Ruislip Eagles, despite only having a bare seven players for the clash while the Eagles had 13.

Mohammed El Hawary scored nine for Olympia, while Toufik Haddadou added four.

And early league leaders London GD won 36-23 over Cambridge to maintain their top of the table position and give their points difference a major boost.

Glasgow Win After Scare

GLASGOW ran out 26-19 winners over East Kilbride in their latest Scottish League match on Saturday, but not before they were given a tough time by their rivals.

Both teams started strong in defence so the score after 10 minutes was only 1-1. Glasgow extended their lead after the first 15 minutes to three goals and it stayed that way till the end of the half.

In the second half Glasgow extended their lead a bit more but the EK82 goalkeeper was in fine form and pulled off a lot of saves to keep his side very close until the end of the game.

Top scorers: Glasgow - Danos Sagias 7, Sebastian Nouveau 6 goals & EK82 - Andy
Wallace 6, Kiim Dorins 4.

In the day’s other match, Tryst beat Edinburgh 26-18.

Tryst defended well in the first half to keep Edinburgh’s main threat (Mounir Iddir and Damien Roux) to a minimum.

Line player Bruce Hunter scored a few goals on the fast break and the line for Tryst which helped give Tryst a decent half time lead.

Mounir, Damien and Blair Strachan were all big goal threats for Edinburgh in the second half, but Kenny McManus played well in goal for Tryst to help fend off an Edinburgh comeback.

For more details on the 2011-12 Scottish League season please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Handball_Season_2011/12

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

English National League: Round-Up

EARLY leaders Salford take on Liverpool Wolves in a clash of two unbeaten teams at Greenbank Sports Academy in the Men’s National League Northern Section of Sunday.

Salford have won all four of their games so far while Liverpool have won three, but something must give this Sunday in what promises to be a close encounter.

Liverpool Wolves took on City rivals Liverpool Speke Garston last weekend and ran out 26-15 winners.

The opening 10 minutes of the first half were very intense from Speke Garston. Their deep 5-1 defence disturbed Liverpool Wolves attack. And to add to it, Liverpool Wolves defence was quiet and apathetic which lead to an early lead for Speke Garston. Their left back was on top form, scoring great goals from the nine-metre line.

Liverpool Wolves managed to slowly get back into the game. With a deep defence focused on Speke Garston left back, Liverpool Wolves got close in the score and after the attack got better, finally manage to overtake them.

From then on the goal difference just kept growing for Liverpool Wolves. Both individual actions and some good moves resulted in successful attacks, and by stopping their best attacking player, Speke Garston attack stalled.

Towards the end of the match Speke Garston cut a few more goals, due again to a loss of Liverpool Wolves' concentration.

In summary, the goal difference could have been greater had it not been for Speke Garston's goalkeeper, who did some tremendous saves throughout the match.

* Last weekend Salford took on Manchester University who, despite their strong form over the last couple of seasons, have proved to be a bogey team for Salford.

Indeed, last season the university side where the only team in the north that managed to take any points from Salford when they drew 31-31 last October.

This time round though Salford made no mistake and ran out 36-13 winners.

The side from the university were never really ever in the game, being 7-3 down after 10 minutes and 17-7 down at half time.

However, some good saves from Joe Hodgson in the University's goal did at least keep the Salford score below 40.

In the other match in the North last weekend Manchester beat Leeds Hornets 25-13.

* Oxford University ran out narrow 28-25 winners over Olympia in the opening set of matches in the Men’s National League Southern Section last weekend.

Eight goals from Abdullah Alshammari helped Oxford to victory, while Olympia’s top scorer was Christophe Hunault with seven.

Ruislip Eagles beat Cambridge 25-19 with Martin Kubisa scoring five for the Eagles.

And London GD ran out 21-31 winners over Bath, a strong second half comeback giving them the win after having been 12-11 down at the break.

In the Women’s National League, London GD beat Olympia 16-11 to get their league campaign off to a winning start.

Danish Youngsters in London Handball Experience

YOUNG handball players from Denmark came to London earlier this month, playing several games against local sides as well as visiting the Olympic Park and training with the Great Britain women’s team.

An Under-16 and Under-14 boys team from Holte IF joined in several training sessions with Newham Flames at Cumberland School on the Monday, and then joined in with the Pro Active East League at Newham Leisure Centre where they played against Woolwich Polytechnic from Greenwich and Newham Flames HC.

Schools from across East London were present to see just how skilful and fast Danish handball can be.
The following day, the Under-16s from Holte played against UCL men, while the Under-14s took on UCL’s women team. They also played against Newham Flames HC at Leyton.

Then on Thursday they went to see how the Olympic Park facilities are shaping up for the 2012 Games, before meeting with the Great Britain women’s team and going through some drills.

U16s Coach Brian Steffensen said: “It was a good experience for our boys to see that not all teams in the world have the same possibilities as us with courts and training facilities. We had a great week and enjoyed London.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winning Start for Champions Tryst

REIGNING Scottish League champions Tryst began their 2011-12 season with a victory, beating Division One newcomers Dundee 34-24.

The league has split into two Divisions with five teams competing in the First Division, while another six are in the Second Division, which is a Development League.

Other results from the first round of matches saw last season’s runners-up Glasgow beat Dundee 44-20, while Edinburgh won 38-23 over East Kilbride.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Salford Notch up Another Big Win

SALFORD notched up an emphatic 41-19 victory over Nottingham University in the third round of the English National League (North) at the Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool on Sunday.

The last time these two teams met resulted in a resounding 20-goal victory for Salford. However, after a well earned victory against Manchester University last time out, and with some additional players to bolster their squad, Nottingham could approach this game with a positive outlook.

Unfortunately, that positivity didn't last long. Salford came out of the traps like a greyhound on speed and quickly opened up a lead that did nothing but grow.

By half time Salford already had a 15-goal advantage, going in ahead 23-8.

As the second half started there was no let up for Nottingham. A succession of fast break goals from Salford's Rafik Tahraoui took the gap between the teams to 20 goals.

Nottingham did manage a bit of a mini fightback in the middle of the second period, but this couldn't be sustained and their cause was a lost one. Salford pushed on again to finish the game 22 goals to the good running out winners.

There were some notable performances for both teams. Nottingham's Mardaras (pictured) scored eight goals and Salford's Ciaran Williams 11. But, the real noticeable performance of the day was the Salford defence.

Despite scoring on average more than 30 goals per game, this is by far the strength of the team. Their ability to rapidly turn defence into attack, confidently led by their defensive commandant Matt Lee, keeps Salford as the dominant team in the North.

Elsewhere, Seven goals from Wojciech Bienias helped Leeds Hornets to a 28-18 win over Liverpool Speke Garston, while Roscoe was Speke’s top scorer with five.

Zak Dunstone scored seven for Deva, but it wasn’t enough to stop Manchester securing a 32-24 victory with Papamichael being their top-scorer with six.

And Liverpool won 31-16 against Manchester University with Carvolio hitting the net eight times.

Top Coach Receives Award

ONE of the best known coaches in English handball has been presented with a special award.

Donna Hankinson helped form the new North East Manchester Hawks Handball Club last season after a pilot project in schools around Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside.

And the club performed superbly under Donna's expert eye to win the girls U18 National Cup at Crystal Palace and finish runners up in the U18 boys final.

And her efforts were recognised when the club held its first ever presentation night and Donna was presented with the new President's Award.

The presentation was made by the club’s newly-installed first president, Royton and Crompton School headteacher Des Herlihy, who is chairman of the English Schools Handball Association.

“The Hawks have come such a long way in a short space of time, and to have had several junior internationals is testament to how hard the players work together to improve,” said Donna.

Other awards presented on the night went to:
Coach’s Player: Stefan Whaley and Ellie Whitehead.
Most Improved: Terry Ellis and Eliza Morgan.
Players’ Player: Marc Howard and Nicola Quick.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

London GD Make History in Europe

LONDON GD Handball Club – formerly known as Great Dane – became the first British team ever to reach the third round of the European Challenge Cup when they secured three narrow victories in their second round matches in Malta last weekend.

Their first game on Friday against London rivals Ruislip Eagles proved tense and ended with a one-goal win, 30-29.

This was followed by two matches over the weekend, resulting in a 29-24 win against home side Aloysians ProMinent, who had hundreds of home supporters cheering them on, and finally a 31-26 victory over Dublin International on Sunday afternoon.

The team has been training hard over the summer months and new players have integrated well with an already strong line-up.

Coach Phillipe Seray was naturally very pleased with the efforts of his team, and said: “I am very happy with the teamwork and professional attitude of our players. Bearing in mind that this was the first few games of the season, bar a few friendly games, we have done extremely well.”

London GD will meet Greek side AC Doukas in two games in late November/early December. A decision on whether both games will happen in Greece, or with a home and an away game will be made shortly.

The Greek side is likely to prove a difficult opponent; while London GD is an amateur club with a couple of training sessions a week, this is a professional team with paid players.

“It will be very tough indeed,” says Seray. “But even if we did very well this weekend, there is still room for improvement. We have to keep focusing and train very hard over the next two months and just do the best we possibly can when it comes down to it.”

* Other results saw Ruislip Eagles beat Dublin international 30-27, and Aloysians ProMinent 27-22, which left them a creditable second in the group.

And in the women’s Challenge Cup, Olympia faced strong opponents in their group in Portugal and lost out 42-18 to Croatian team RK Zelina, as well as 34-16 to Portugese side Alavarium.

EHF Executive Welcomed to England

THE development of handball in England received a major boost last week when the European Handball Federation’s Executive came to London.

The full 10 man European Executive included Tor Lian [President], Jean Brihault, [Vice President] and representatives from the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Russian, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

The England Handball Association was represented by Chairman Mike Briers and four co-directors – Stephen Jones, General Secretary, who had organised the visit, Carl Norman [Competition ], Louaz Hofton [Development] and Frank Wuggenig [Marketing]

The party visited the Olympic Park and saw for the first time the splendid Handball Arena. The party then moved to the Basketball Arena, where the later stages of the Olympic Competition, including the semi finals and finals, will be staged.

“Everyone was most impressed with the excellent facilities and the EHA would like to thank Alex Gavrilovic, Olympic Handball Manager, for arranging the visit,” said Mike Briers.

The European Executive held their meeting in the Conference Facilities of the Kingsway Hall Hotel in Covent Garden on the Saturday.

Small presentations were made to the European Executive members and the EHA Chairman received a gift from Tor Lian, European President, in thanks to England for their “excellent organisation and hospitality.”

Mr Briers added: “Stephen Jones, the General Secretary, should be congratulated on his work in setting up the visit and giving members of the EHA Board the opportunity to discuss handball [and other matters!] with the European Executive Members.

“I am sure this meeting will have gone a long way to further develop and strengthen relationships between the two Executives.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

English Teams Prepare for Europe

LONDON GD Handball Club get their European Challenge Cup campaign under way with a clash against English rivals Ruislip Eagles on Friday (Sept 30) at the Tal-Qroqq University Sports Hall in Malta.

The first of three games in three days, the opening clash for the team – formerly known as Great Dane - begins at 7.30pm (local time).

They take on Maltese outfit Aloysians ProMinent in their second match the following day at 6pm, while their final clash is on October 2 against Dublin International HC at 5pm.

"We are going to this year's Challenge Cup with a desire to win all our games and make British history by being the first English club to reach the next round of a European Cup Competition,” said London GD's coach Philippe Seray, confident about their chances.

“We have been training hard over the summer and the players are fully committed to the club, arranging their day-to-day work schedule to attend as many trainings and friendly games as possible. Our new players are integrating very well, and I am confident that we have a real chance of winning our group.”

Meanwhile, after their opening clash with London GD on Friday, Ruislip Eagles will take on Dublin International on Saturday at 3.30pm, and will then complete their campaign with a clash against Aloysians ProMinent at 2.30pm.

And in the women’s competition, Olympic HC from London will play Croatian side RK Zelina at 9pm (local time) on Friday in the opening match of their group, which is being held in Portugal at the Pavilhao Municipal de Oliveira do Bairro.

They will then take on Portugese team Alavarium at 5.30pm on Saturday, followed by a final match against Panetolikos of Greece on Sunday.

Good luck to all the English teams competing in Europe this weekend!

Salford go Top of the Table

SALFORD retook top spot in the early National League (North) table when they secured a big 38-15 victory over Liverpool Speke Garston at Greenbank Academy in Liverpool on Sunday.

With a ten-goal victory for Deva in the previous round denying them top spot, Salford came out on Sunday determined to regain their status as top club in the North.

At half time, Salford already had a comfortable lead and went in 14-7 up. Some excellent goal keeping from Speke's Paul Langton keeping the gap somewhat respectable given the gulf between the two teams.

However, in the second half, and despite Speke's Peter Roscoe scoring seven goals, Salford pushed on and scored 24 more goals to Speke's eight.

Notable performances from Salford came from Jack Hennessey and Stuart Latchford who scored 8 goals apiece, and from Stephen Clarke who maintained his 100 per cent shots to goals record from the two games played so far.

In other league action, the University of Nottingham won 26-15 against the University of Manchester, with Guillaume Bodet scoring ten of their goals.

And Deva came out on top 34-31 against league newcomers Leeds Hornets. Tom Kensall scored nine for Deva, while Wojtek Biecios scored nine for Leeds.

Thames Crowned London Cup Winners

THAMES Women won the pre-season London Cup competition after a thrilling series of matches at Leyton SCORE Centre in North London on Saturday.

This year’s competition was a women-only affair with several of the men’s teams preparing for their European campaign, but it was still a hotly-contested tournament.

The first game was between Thames and Olympia, who had several new signings, but Thames were undeterred and led by 2-3 goals almost throughout the match until Olympia realised they had to up their game, if they wanted to have a chance at winning the Cup.

With minutes to spare, they managed to level the score and just edged ahead to win 14-13.

Thames’ second game against London GD was a deciding clash their opponents had comfortably won against Olympia. With new signings in each team, the flow of the game was uncharacteristically slow and nervous and both teams failed to convert what were otherwise clear chances.

But in the end it was Thames who managed to control the match better with Nikoletta Papp scoring from the back court over London GD's defence and Maria Kourdoulos hitting the net from the wing three times.

For Thames, Live Kolstad Kvalsvik was top scorer for her team with five goals, followed by Maria Kourdoulos and Asta Slezeviciene scoring three each.

The fate of the Cup went to goal difference, and with Thames on +3 and London GD on +1, it was Thames who took the win for the first time since 2009.
Thanks must go to the referees and officials who helped make the event a success.

Results: Thames 13 Olympia 14, London GD 18 Olympia 13, Thames 13 London GD 9.

Unsung Hero Launches 2011 Search

LONG-standing handball coach and Unsung Hero Awards nominee John Jacobson helped launch the 2011 awards in style last week – alongside sporting legend Sir Bobby Charlton!

Jacobson, chairman and coach at Liverpool Speke Garston Handball Club, was the North West’s nominee for the prestigious awards last year.

He went along to the BBC’s new headquarters in Salford last week where he was interviewed about the sport and his long career which has seen him involved in the grassroots as well as captaining Great Britain during the Olympic qualifying rounds in 1972, 1976 and the World Championships in 1980 and 1984.

One of the key awards at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event, BBC Sports Unsung Hero recognizes and rewards outstanding contribution by individuals at the grassroots level of local sport.

Full information and nomination forms can be found at bbc.co.uk/sportsunsunghero

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baptism of Fire for Newcomers Leeds Hornets

Newly promoted Leeds Hornets faced a baptism of fire as they played their first game in Division One against last year’s Northern League champions, Salford, who ran out 31-22 winners.

With Salford scoring an average of 32 goals per game and only conceding an average of 20, this was going to be a tough task for the newcomers. However, Leeds seemed to relish the task and came out confident to show that their promotion was well deserved.

Salford's defence was strong throughout the game. Only two of Leeds’ shots came from breaks through the defence and only two from fast breaks.

In attack, Salford were equally as efficient. Once again notching up more than 30 goals. Indeed, if it weren't for a number of technical errors that score could've easily been over 40!

But Leeds themselves proved to be no pushovers. Whilst the scoreline may indicate a comfortable win for Salford, in reality this was far from the case.

Leeds made Salford work hard for their victory and after a few games they will doubtless become one of the favourites to reach the end of season play-off slots and the offer of a place in next year's Super 8 League.

In the day’s other match, Liverpool Wolves beat Nottingham University 28-22.

Deva were handed a 10-0 win over the University of Manchester, who couldn’t raise a side.

* This Sunday, Liverpool Speke Garston play Salford and Manchester play Liverpool Wolves at Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool.

And at Birchwood in Warrington, Nottingham University play the University of Manchester, while Deva face Leeds Hornets.

* Pictures from Sunday's matches are available here

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Deva Win Nottingham Tournament

DEVA Handball Club were crowned Nottingham Tournament champions 2011 after a thrilling event at the city’s university on Sunday.

With most of their players all being home-grown and under-23, Deva battled well in the event at the Sutton Bonnington campus and proved that the future of handball in England is in safe hands.

With six teams playing in a round-robin format, it was not until the penultimate clash of 15 games that the title was decided.

Newcomers to the National League this coming season, Leeds Hornets provided Deva with some stiff opposition, and the fate of the match was in the balance right to the final whistle of the 25-minute game which Deva eventually won 11-10 after an end-to-end match.

While Deva’s top-scorer was Tyler, the play of the tournament was Leeds Hornets’ goalkeeper Lukasz Narel, while the Fair Play Award went to the South West Select side which was made up on players from Bath, Bristol and Cardiff.

Other teams who took part of played a vital part in making it such a success were Liverpool Speke Garston, Nottingham University, Deva, Manchester University and an East Midlands Select side featuring players from Lincoln and Peterborough.

Next year’s event looks set to be bigger and better, with organisers aiming to make it a two-day international event.

Dozens of photographs from the Nottingham Tournament - take by Michele Davison - are available to view here

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Late Change of Venue for Nottingham Event

THIS Sunday’s Nottingham Pre-Season Tournament has moved venues!

Due to circumstances beyond the organisers’ control, the tournament will now take place at the University’s of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus, near junction 24 of the M1.

Travel details can be found here:

All other aspects of the day including timings, match schedules, food and drink etc., remain the same as previously indicated.

The competition is a round robin where all six teams will play everyone, ensuring there will be plenty of action throughout the day.

Teams entered are Liverpool Speke Garston, Nottingham University, Deva, Manchester University, an East Midlands Select side featuring players from Lincoln and Peterborough, and a South West Select side featuring players from Bath, Bristol and Cardiff.

Starting at 10am, the tournament’s matches will last 25 minutes with no half time or timeouts, ensuring as much match action as possible can be fitted in.

The final game is scheduled for 5.15pm, with the presentations at 5.45pm.

This year’s event has received sponsorship from three companies.

SPORTICUM have donated a magnificent trophy and sports bag as prizes, while Scientific Laboratory have donated 14 polo shirts and Radford Road Pharmacy have given a cash sum towards running the event.

Thanks also go to Nigel Mayglothling for his help in organising the event.

The event will also serve as part of the preparation of the National Technical Officials for the London 2012 Olympics, and 2012 Handball Competition Manager Alex Gavrilovic will be present with his team of officials.

A pre-season meeting for officials will also be held by Cesar Castillo, the EHA’s chair of referees.

Salford Win East Kilbride Tournament

SALFORD were crowned champions of the East Kilbride International Tournament in Scotland last weekend, coming out on top after a thrilling weekend of matches.

Despite having an average age of just 19, Salford managed to take the title at the inaugural tournament which saw teams from both sides of the border as well as Germany do battle.

The men’s event included East Kilbride, Tryst 77 and Scotland Under-23s from north of the border, English teams included Salford and Liverpool Speke Garston and Germany outfit HSG Soest gave the event a real international flavour.

And for the women, East Kilbride took on Glasgow and Tryst 77.

Salford went unbeaten throughout the tournament, which saw them face some determined and experienced opponents.

In the final on Sunday they faced Tryst, whose line-up included some talented and very experienced players.

But Salford opened up an early lead and never looked back, eventually winning 15-11.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teams Prepare for Nottingham Tournament

TEAMS from across the country are preparing for the annual pre-season Nottingham Handball Tournament on September 11.
The competition is a round robin where all six teams will play everyone, ensuring there will be plenty of action throughout the day.

Teams entered are Liverpool Speke Garston, Nottingham University, Deva, Manchester University, an East Midlands Select side featuring players from Lincoln and Peterborough, and a South West Select side featuring players from Bath, Bristol and Cardiff.

Starting at 10am, the tournament’s matches will last 25 minutes with no half time or timeouts, ensuring as much match action as possible can be fitted in.

The final game is scheduled for 5.15pm, with the presentations at 5-45pm.

This year’s event has received sponsorship from three companies.

SPORTICUM have donated a magnificent trophy and sports bag as prizes, while Scientific Laboratory have donated 14 polo shirts and Radford Road Pharmacy have given a cash sum towards running the event.

Thanks also go to Nigel Mayglothling for his help in organising the event.

The event will also serve as part of the preparation of the National Technical Officials for the London 2012 Olympics, and 2012 Handball Competition Manager Alex Gavrilovic will be present with his team of officials.

A pre-season meeting for officials will also be held by Cesar Castillo, the EHA’s chair of referees.

Teams and spectators are asked to arrive in plenty of time. There are roadworks just off junction 25 of the M1 which you may need to avoid or factor into travel plans.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sign up NOW for EK82 Tournament!

HANDBALL fans in Scotland need to put September 3-4 in their diaries, as that is when East Kilbride 82 Handball Club are staging their tournament.

With categories for senior men, senior women, under-14 boys and girls as well as under-12 mixed, the weekend event is sure to be a big hit, with a party for all teams and coaches on the Saturday evening.

The venue is the Alistair McCoist Sports Complex in East Kilbride, and the entry fee of £35 is due by August 9.

Cheques are the preferred method of payment and should be made payable to “East Kilbride 82 Senior Handball Club” and sent to Andy Wallace, East Kilbride 82 Handball Club, 8 Thistle Place, East Kilbride, G74 4RH.

For further information please contact Andy Wallace at andy@ek82handball.co.uk or on 07816 419671.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

English Teams Return from a Great Partille Cup

ENGLISH teams returned from the annual Partille Cup in Sweden with their heads held high last week, after continuing their handball education with some strong performances.

Both the Under-16 boys and girls teams were invited to attend as part of the Olympic Solidarity Programme, where developing handball nations can receive expert coaching and tips and play games against other developing nations before putting it all into practice in the main Partille Cup.

The first day of the Partille Cup saw England U16 girls (pictured) face Norwegian team Onnereds in their opening match. But after arriving late for the game without time for a warm up the girls suffered a heavy defeat 18-5.

The second match of the day saw a turnaround in the defensive performance, ending again in defeat but this time much narrower 10-6 to Kragero.

The following day saw a switch in tactics with England changing to a 4-2 attack, this resulting in England getting their first win, beating Hauketo IF 13-10.

24 hours later the girls faced Danish club team Saeby in what must have been one of the most exciting games of the whole Partille tournament.

England defended well but were always chasing down a bad start which resulted in their opponents being three goals ahead. But with three minutes left coach Hankinson reverted back to a 4–2 attack, causing panic in the Danes defence.

Three goals on the bounce by Rhea Chowdry – the last with 5 seconds on the clock - resulted in a 13-12 victory for an ecstatic England team.

But sadly a couple of hours later they hit the ground with a bang when they faced an experienced and strong Russian team Nevskaya Volna who punished them for weak shooting on the fast break the game ending 19-6.

The girls narrowly missed out on the A-Finals, finishing fourth and progressing to the Plate competition.

In the plate playoff game, played in pouring down rain, both teams struggled to aclimatise to the conditions with an extremely low scoring affair showing 1-1 at half time, before narrowly being edged to defeat and being knocked out 5-4.

The England Under-16 boys team was also successful, winning half of their group matches before narrowly losing in the play-off.

They were beaten 11-17 by FH in their first match, but the following day they bounced back in style with an 11-6 win over Halmsted and a 15-8 win over HSG Hannover-West.

They were narrowly beaten 16-21 by TJ Dukla Praha on Thursday, and then lost out 13-15 to Onnereds, before finishing their group games with a 17-13 win over Ted College SC.

They faced IFK Hammaro in the play-off, but lost out 18-14.

All in all it was a successful week and the players applied themselves well and learned lessons that will be invaluable in their handball education.

The Olympic Solidarity Programme, run the week before the Partille Cup proper, proved invaluable to the players.

“Both teams worked really hard and we saw some great improvements in technique and application from all athletes,” said coach Rena Fairbrother.

“Ulf, the coach shows how basic drills are layers of the game that when put together create the techniques required to increase playing skills.

“The week also gives the teams an opportunity to meet players from around the world and this year this included, the USA, China, Singapore and closer to home Scotland.”

* The Partille Cup was also attended by Scottish Under-15 boys and girls teams.

The girls won two of their group games – beating HK Malmo 20-5 and Skogas 13-11 - while the boys battled hard but were unable to record a win.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Partille Action for England Boys and Girls

BOTH boys and girls teams from England and Scotland are in Sweden this week, taking part in the Partille Cup as part of the Olympic Solidarity Programme.

Funded by the organisers of the tournament, the teams are receiving top-class coaching from the event’s Chief Instructor Ulf Andersson, and after playing several friendly matches against other nations on the Olympic Development Programme, they are taking part in the Partille Cup proper this week.

The Olympic Development Programme is a co-operation between the Tournament organisers and the International Handball Federation and the International Olympic Committee.

The idea of the scheme is to invite developing countries in handball for over two weeks to provide training and inspiration to the development of handball in their own countries.

This year six countries with twelve teams and 220 players and leaders are taking part from England, Scotland, China, India, Singapore, and America.

In the friendly fixtures played already last week, England Boys narrowly lost out to Savehof Youth Team, 30-34 and 19-29, while the England Girls (pictured) drew once and lost once against China, 12-12 and 11-15.

Scotland Boys also narrowly lost, 28-31 to Singapore and 29-34 to China. And their girls team beat America twice, 18-10 and 23-12.

More reports from the Partille Cup will follow next week.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Greenwich and Bexley Win London Youth Games Handball

GREENWICH boys and Bexley girls were crowned the winners of the popular handball tournament at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games staged at Crystal Palace recently.

Competing in handball at the London Youth Games for the first time, Greenwich beat 2010 winners Sutton 6-2 in the boys’ final.

Meanwhile Bexley, who were also playing in their first handball competition at the Games, claimed the girls’ title with a 2-0 victory over Barking and Dagenham.

After topping Group 2 in the boys’ event with four wins out of four, Greenwich skipped past Redbridge 4-3 in the semis before claiming the gold.

Paul Walsh, Greenwich boys’ team manager, said: “I feel ecstatic; it’s an absolutely brilliant feeling. The lads came here and they’ve barely played a handball match before but they just got better and better.

“I have to credit the organisers, really well run and it’s been a great day for our boys. You can see that everyone is very sporting after the games; everyone is shaking hands with the other teams, officials and all that’s great for the sport, and it’s great for our lads.”

Bexley topped the girls’ group with three wins from three before defeating Barking and Dagenham, who they beat 5-0 in the group stages, in the final. They ended the tournament without conceding a single goal.

Louise Presney, Bexley girls’ team manager, said: “After the first couple of games we did see ourselves going through to the final, but this is our first tournament.

“We have not played here before and we weren’t quite sure what it was going to be like until we got here, so it has surpassed our expectations.

“What we have brought here are a load of footballers and netball players and that combination has worked. But it’s a surprise for the girls to win because it was the first competition for them and some were not sure about playing.”

In the third-fourth place playoffs, Tower Hamlets girls won 2-1 against Camden while Haringey boys’ edged past Redbridge 4-3 to take bronze.

Enter NOW for Nottingham Pre-Season Tournament

ENTRIES are being taken for the annual pre-season Nottingham Tournament in September, which always proves a popular way to bridge the gap between pre-season training and competitive handball.

This year’s event is taking place on Sunday, September 11 from 10am-6pm, and organiser Colin Wills is taking expressions of interest at Colin.Wills@nottingham.ac.uk.

Six male teams can take part with each team getting around five matches, each lasting 25 minutes, run on a league system.

Entries will be taken on a first come first served basis for the event, which will take place in the Main Hall of Nottingham University Park on a 36x20 sixed court.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Schools Finals Cap Great Month for England Handball

A HUGELY successful National Schools Handball finals has brought the curtain down on a fantastic month of June for handball in England.

The schools event in Wolverhampton last weekend saw Harris School from South London crowned Under-13 boys champion, while the girls winners were Parrs Wood School from Manchester.

And in the Under-15 boys event, Upton by Chester School in Chester were victorious, as were Birchwood High School from Warrington in the Under-15 girls final.

A total of 72 schools entered the 2011 competition, and after several regional rounds the finals day at Aldersley Leisure Village saw 24 matches involving around 72 pupils proved a fitting finale.

“There was a massive improvement in standards on previous years,” said EHA Chairman Mike Briers. “Congratulations to all concerned! This was another fabulous day for youth handball in England.”

The month of June proved very successful for England Handball on a number of levels.

“The EHA received a very pleasing 24 month report from Sport England, whose Satisfaction Survey shows handball leaping up from 66.1 per cent in 2010 to 77.8 per cent this year,” explained Briers.

“The nine full-time and seven part-time staff are at full stretch and the Development Programme is showing many splendid results.”

As well as the EHA Cup finals day at Crystal Palace being such a hit, EHA were also present at the landmark handover on June 9 of the Olympic Handball Arena, which looks set to play a big part in the drive to make handball more popular on the back of the games.

The Annual Coaching Conference took place at Crystal Palace on June 11, with the GB Ladies Coaches Jesper Holmris and Vigdis Holmeset running an excellent programme.

There were demonstrations and presentations by the GB Ladies Squad members, and more than 50 coaches from EHA Clubs from all parts of the country attended.

Later that week, there was a meeting of several NGBs with the Youth Sport Trust in Loughborough, where several new partnerships for the future were discussed.

And on June 18 England Handball held its AGM at Loughborough University, where much progress was made towards the new Super League for 2012. All officers who were up for re-election were duly agreed.

June has also seen a series of interviews taking place for the position of England Under-23 Coach, in readiness for the EHF Under-23 Challenge Trophy to be held in Limerick in November.

And this month, the EHA has also launched a new teaching resource for primary schools, which has been extremely well received so far. This is to be followed shortly by a new teaching resource for secondary schools.

And the England Under-16 boys and girls squads have just departed for Sweden, where they will receive intensive training before competing in the Partille Cup in Gothenburg.

Meanwhile, the Under-18 Boys and Girls Talent Squads are in Italy for the Terramo Tournament and the Under-19 Boys squad have competed in a tournament in France, before heading to Gothenburg for the European Under-19 Tournament.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the EHA who have worked so hard to make these achievements possible,” added Briers. “Let us move on towards London 2012 and ensure that Handball is The Legacy Sport of the Olympics!”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

English Champs in Essex Tournament

REIGNING English Men’s League and Cup champions Great Dane are one of three teams in action at a three-team international club tournament being staged on July 2 in Essex.
The event at Basildon Sporting Village will see Great Dane take on opposition from France and Germany in a tournament to celebrate the Basildon Town Twinning Association (BTTA).

Basildon is twinned with Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus from Germany. This tournament, kindly sponsored by BTTA, follows a successful and close fought tournament last year at Leyton SCORE.

Sports development Manager Wayne Davies said: “This is a great opportunity for the people of Basildon and neighbouring areas to come down and watch the English League and Cup Champions Great Dane take on teams from France and Germany.

“I personally can’t wait to see the showcase game and am looking forward to seeing Basildon’s youngsters take to the court and have a go during the taster sessions.

“Let’s hope with the Olympics on our doorstep and this European style tournament taking place here in Basildon we can kick-start the development of handball in the area and enthuse possible handball stars of the future.”

The three hour tournament starts at 1.15pm. Entry is free for anyone wishing to attend. For details contact John Compton johncompton@talktalk.net

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Youngsters Preparing for National Schools Finals

THE National Schools handball finals take place later this month, where the best teams from across the country will do battle for the national titles.

The event on Saturday June 25 is at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton from 10am, and is the culmination of months of regional heats, trials and training sessions at schools from across the country.

From 72 teams entered, just 17 remain in the finals.

In the Under-13 girls event it is between Siddal Moor Sports College, Parrs Wood High School and Barking Abbey School, while in the Under-13 boys event the competitors are Royton and Crompton High School, Woolwich Poly High School, Harris Boys’ Academy (East Dulwich) and Cardinal Griffin Catholic High School.

The Under-15 girls teams are Helenswood School, Cardinal Griffin Catholic High School,
Birchwood Community High School and Blacon High School. The Under-15 boys event is between Upton-by-Chester, Culceth High School, Cardinal Griffin Catholic High School,
Aylesbury Grammar School, Carshalton Boys Sports College and Biddenham Upper School.

EHA Cup Finals Show Big Skills Improvements

THE EHA Youth Cup finals staged at Crystal Palace earlier this month were some of the best seen for many years, and highlighted the growth of handball in schools up and down the country.

The standard of handball is increasing across the board, but few teams have achieved success more than North East Manchester Hawks.

Their girls team were crowned National Cup winners after beating league champions Warrington Wolves 11-8, while their boys team made it to the final, losing out to Olympia Cannock 24-20.

Hawks' key to success was in defence where their physical effort knocked the Wolves’ shooters out of their stride. At the other end Nicola Quick netted two early goals, but it was the power
of captain Ellie Whitehead and line player Ruth Anderson that proved decisive.

Warrington's hopes took a big blow when England under-19s player Sophie Unsworth had to be carried off with an ankle injury.

And as the game entered its final stages the Hawks kept up a tempo that the Wolves couldn't contend with.

The boys final was also a physical affair, and a series of two-minute sin-bins that twice saw Hawks reduced to four outfield players gave Cannock a 13-11 lead.

Hawks had goalkeeper Terry Ellis to thank for saving a penalty on the whistle to limit the arrears, but they rallied after the break and twice levelled.

However, they could never get their noses in front and a series of missed one-on-one chances proved their downfall.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cup Finals Mark End to Great English Season

REIGNING champions Great Dane successfully secured the League and Cup double at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Saturday – but they had to do it the hard way, battling past a determined Ruislip Eagles side to take the EHA Cup prize.

Seven goals from Kris Olschgloeger (pictured) and six from Philips Altong helped Great Dane secure victory in the Cup to add to their league title.

The overall top scorer in the match was Ruislip’s Alex Rabinin with ten goals, but it was not enough to deny their London rivals victory.

But it was not all disappointment for Ruislip Eagles.

Earlier in the day their women’s team – who secured the league title last week – ensured they have gone through the whole season unbeaten when they beat Olympia 32-22 in the women’s EHA Cup final.

Seven goals each from Zsuzi Telek and Dani Sposi – who went on to play for Great Britain in their Finland clash later in the day – underpinned that victory.

And in the Under-18 Boys EHA Cup final, Olympia Cannock won 24-20 against North East Manchester Hawks, with Przemick Bednarczyk scoring eight and Ryan Goodwin six. For the Hawks, Sam Bedlow netted seven times, but it was not enough for victory.

The day’s opening match was the Under-18 Girls EHA Cup final, and North East Manchester Hawks won 11-8 against Warrington Wolves, with Ellis Whitehead scoring four.

Beth Wilbraham scored five for the Wolves, but with just three other goals coming from her team-mates it was not enough for the win.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

England's Finest Prepare for Finals

THE best handball teams from across England come to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Saturday for a day of four EHA Cup finals.

Warrington Wolves take on the North East Manchester Hawks in the EHA Girls Cup final at 12noon, and that is followed by the Boys final at 1pm, featuring North East Manchester Hawks and Olympia Cannock.

Unbeaten all season in the league, Ruislip Eagles take on Olympia in the EHA Women’s Cup final at 2pm, followed by the Men’s final at 4pm which sees league champions Great Dane and runners-up Ruislip Eagles.

With the league title already in the bag, there has been little time for Great Dane to celebrate as they prepare for the EHA Cup final.

“We can’t rest yet,” said Great Dane captain Jordi Ferrer-Torras. “We’ll be ready and fighting for the final of the cup.”

Likewise, the captain of league runners-up and cup holders Ruislip, Marc Fayemi, was raring to go for the final despite conceding the league title.

“We’ve beaten Great Dane twice this season already and we’ll have to show them our quality in the cup final. We’ll be ready for them.”

It looks set to be a busy day for GB Team Manager Mel Chowns, who is also head coach for Ruislip Eagles Women and will be eager to see her domestic team complete the league and cup double, while also ensuring that Great Britain go through to the next stage of Euro 2012 for victory over Finland.