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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

English League: Registration Fee Reduced

ENGLAND Handball has reduced the cost of registering players in Division One for the remainder of the season.

For the rest of the season, the cost will be £20 rather than the full £30 previous cost. Registration for the Development League will remain at £15.

English League: Play-Offs Begin This Weekend

THE first set of matches in the English League play-offs takes place in Liverpool this weekend, with three back to back matches scheduled in at the Greenbank Sports Academy.

The only unbeaten team in the league, Salford take on Olympia in the first match at 11am, and this is followed by Nottingham University v Great Dane at 1pm and Manchester v Ruislip Eagles at 3pm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

German Camp for English Youngsters

SOME of the brightest young handball talent from across England is heading to Germany this month for the latest EHA training camp, which will include a packed programme of three matches.

A total of 13 boys will attend the camp from February 17-20, which is being hosted by SC Arminia Ochtrup at the EHA’s new elite squad training base in the town.

And from February 24-27, a team of nine girls will also attend the camp.

Each team will play three games as well as training sessions, while they will also take in a German Division One clash featuring the local side, Nordhorn.

Players from clubs across the country have been selected for the camp as part of England Handball’s on-going programme of youth development.

The bulk of the players attending come from clubs in the North West, with both Deva Handball Club in Chester and North East Manchester Hawks supplying six players each, while Warrington Wolves has four players attending.

Unbeaten Salford Surge into Play-offs

UNBEATEN Salford will go into the end of season play-offs unbeaten and top of the table after securing two victories in the last week.

They won the Northern Section title on Sunday when they beat second-placed Manchester 25-18, and then went on to complete the season unbeaten with a 35-15 win over Nottingham University on Tuesday night.

With both those sides also going forward to the play-offs and results from the normal season being carried forward, it has been a crucially important seven days for Salford.

No other team had scored more than 20 goals at Nottingham prior to Tuesday’s game, but Salford were already 14-7 ahead at half time and continued to dominate afterwards.

Strong defence - especially from Popovic and Marsh - held a good Nottingham attack at bay, while Jack Hennessy and Aden Woodall were in free-scoring mode, with 12 and 10 respectively.

With a two week break before the play-offs start on February 27, Salford will be aiming to keep their momentum going for their opening match against Olympia, who made it all the way to the European Challenge Cup last season.

Salford’s crucial win over Manchester proved to be a thrilling encounter and a fitting way to decide the fate of the Northern title.

The Mancunians took a three-goal lead after just five minutes, but Salford reacted quickly with a compact 6-0 defensive line which frustrated the Manchester strikers.

Salford's efficiency from nine metres was better than their opponents, and they created gaps in the defence. And with several missed shots and poor passes Manchester’s early lead was gone after ten minutes, and Salford were ahead by five goals at the break.

During the second half Manchester battled hard to reduce the deficit, but never managed to get closer than three goals, while Salford’s counter attacks established a seven-goal win.

Free-scoring play from Aden Woodall and Jack Hennessy, who scored six and seven goals respectively, along with a strong performance in goal from Rob Avery, helped Salford take the win.

Meanwhile, Liverpool Wolves beat University of Manchester 31-16 and Deva won 22-16 against Liverpool Speke Garston.

* In the southern section, Cambridge secured their first ever win over Southern Section winners Great Dane, 22-20, while Ruislip Eagles scraped past Bath University 30-28.

But Cambridge women narrowly missed out on doing the same, going down 24-22 to Great Dane women in a friendly clash on Sunday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eagles Overpower Olympia

RUISLIP Eagles took a big step towards winning back the English Women’s League title with a comprehensive 40-23 victory over title challengers Olympia at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London on Sunday.

But the final scoreline certainly did not look likely after the first 20 minutes when both sides played well, and it went goal for goal with Olympia's new-look attack showing the form which helped them beat Great Dane recently.

Ruislip were playing well in attack, but were not dealing so well with the threat of Bekker and Bourkan but gradually they began to exert more pressure, especially from the wings, and went in at half time with a two-goal advantage.

The second half was a completely different affair with Ruislip putting in their best 30 minutes of the season with a much better defensive performance and a return to their fast break game. Telek and Sposi (pictured) were in great form on the counter but coach Mel Chowns was pleased with the whole teams performance.

“We had watched Olympia beat Great Dane and knew that we had to be on our game to secure the two points as they are a much improved side with some new good players,” she said. “This makes this season so good as each game is challenging but I was so pleased with our play in the second half as it was definitely our best all-round play for a while.”

Cambridge Battle to Cup Victory over Thames

CAMBRIDGE battled to a narrow 19-17 victory over Thames in the English Women’s Cup, with a late comeback giving them the win.

Cambridge got into the game well and opened an early lead, Niki Rau scoring a nice goal from the wing. Good attacks helped them extend the lead, with clear chances being stopped by penalties which first Kriszti Baranyi (3) and then Angela Heard (2) converted.

But Thames always looked dangerous, and battled back to a 9-9 half time scoreline with Cambridge making some silly mistakes.

A close second half saw Thames lead by a goal with 12 minutes left, but after a timeout from Cambridge they fought back to lead by two which they held to the end.

Baranyi finishes as Cambridge’s top scorer with six, and although Niki Papp for Thames scored eight, it was not quite enough for victory.

Also in the Women’s EHA Cup, Great Dane beat Manchester University 15-9 in a hard-fought and tense clash at Leyton.

* In the Men’s EHA Cup, Great Dane reached the second round when they beat Warwick University 32-24 in their first round clash. That result means Great Dane join Olympia and Ruislip in the next round after the other two teams received byes through the first stage.

Nottingham Make Late Play-Off Push

THIRD-placed Nottingham University face two tough games this week as their bid to reach the end of season play-offs reaches a crucial stage.

They face league leaders Salford on Tuesday when a victory will cement their spot in the top three, but a defeat will mean they are left hoping that Manchester University lose out to Liverpool Wolves next Sunday.

Manchester University are just one points behind Nottingham and poised to take the final spot in the play-offs should their rivals falter.

The first of three matches due to take place, the fate of the Manchester University v Liverpool Wolves clash is by no means certain.

New to the league this season, the Wolves will be no pushover, having drawn with second-placed Manchester a couple of weeks ago.

Manchester University won narrowly 26-22 when the two sides last met in November, but the Wolves are improving all the time and gave leaders Salford a tough time when they played each other a few weeks ago.

In other league action, Bath beat Cambridge 29-21 to record only their second win of the season and leave Cambridge bottom of the league.

The final set of matches in the Southern Section at Moulton on Sunday sees Ruislip play Bath University, while Great Dane take on Cambridge.

Deva Boys Crowned ASE Champs

DEVA were crowned champions of the Under-18 AASE Boys League after a thrilling set of final matches last weekend.

They beat Cannock 14-11 to win the 2010-11 league, and bring to an end a day of entertaining play-off matches which saw the top four teams in the league battle it out.

Cannock started the day as favourites as they were the only unbeaten team in the league, putting them at the top spot. Things went according to Cannock’s plan as they dismissed Warrington Wolves 13-11 in a tight and thrilling match which either team could’ve won.

Deva, who looked to be Cannock’s main rivals, also won their first match which was against Manchester Hawks. The final score was 12-11 which meant they scraped in the final to face Cannock.

That left Manchester Hawks to face Warrington Wolves in a 3rd place play off. The two teams were out of reach of the medals but still had their pride to play for.

Warrington had yet to beat Manchester so far this season and appeared to be the underdogs. However, they were out of the blocks much quicker than a lethargic Manchester side and through a combination of fantastic saves from goalkeeper Jamie Simpson, and a solid attacking performance from the rest of the Wolves, they eased into a five-goal lead early in the first half.

In the second half, Manchester came out fighting and managed to whittle the deficit down to just one goal. They continued to chase Warrington to the final whistle, but as it blew Warrington were still one ahead, winning the match 21-20 and claiming third spot in the league.

With silverware up for grabs, both Cannock and Deva threw everything they had at each other. The prize at stake may have put too much pressure on the two teams as for the first stages of the first half there were numerous unforced mistakes and technical errors from both sides, meaning the scoring was fairly low.

Both teams led at different stages in the match but as it wore on, Deva began to look the stronger and smarter of the two teams. In the second half, Deva goalkeeper K. Wolff really stepped his game up and kept Deva’s lead a strong one by denying Cannock of several seemingly certain goals. Oliphant, Dunstone and Tyler were all extremely impressive in attack.

The final whistle blew with scores at 14–11 to Deva HC, leaving Cannock in shock and Deva ecstatic as they lifted the trophy.

Text: Ben Hoyles.

Glasgow On Top

SCOTTISH League leaders Glasgow were made to battle hard by rivals Liberton before securing a 26-20 victory at Blackburn Community Centre in West Lothian.

Both teams started well in defence and the game was tight in the opening minutes. Glasgow opened Liberton’s defence with a lot of fast breaks at the end of the first half, leading by four.

Glasgow started the second half with a same pace as they finished the first half increasing their lead to about 10 goals, but Liberton’s determinations kept them in the game till the end and Liberton secured a well deserved losing bonus point.

Elsewhere, Tryst secured their fifth league win in six games when they beat EK82 49-23, while Gracemount overwhelmed Dumfries 67-16.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Clubs Cling to Play-Off Hopes

WITH just a few matches remaining in the normal Men’s English League season, the line-up for the play-off league is still not set with several teams still harbouring hopes of scraping into the end-of-season competition.

The top three teams from both the northern and southern section will go forward to the play-offs and compete for the overall national league title and the right to compete in the European Challenge Cup.

In the north, Salford and Manchester are already through, but the third spot is between the University of Manchester and Nottingham University.

And in the south, Great Dane and Olympia are through to the play-offs, but the final place is between Ruislip Eagles and Cambridge.

There was some thrilling handball played in both regions last weekend, with league newcomers Liverpool Wolves battling to a 16-16 draw with second-placed Manchester, who had previously won nine of their ten matches.

With just eight players travelling to the Greenbank Academy for Sunday’s clash, Manchester came up against a Wolves side who had strength in depth and have an ever-increasing talent base.

9-7 ahead at half time, Manchester couldn’t stop the Wolves biting back to secure a draw.

With results from the normal season carried forward to the play-offs, Salford did themselves a big favour by beating potential play-off rivals Nottingham University 31-25 at Nottingham to maintain their unbeaten record.

And Manchester University also kept their play-off hopes alive with a victory over Deva, although they were made to work hard for the win.

Eight goals from Steven Jameson helped Deva compete with their rivals, but with Berezowski scoring eight goals and Ruiz Varela scoring seven, Manchester University ran out 22-19 winners.

Great Dane secured a narrow 26-24 victory over Olympia at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to leap-frog their opponents and take over the lead in the southern section.

With Olympia leading 12-10 at half time, Great Dane hit back to secure a win which will also boost Great Dane’s play-off hopes, the result being carried forward to the end of season competition.

Olympia Shoot Down Rivals Great Dane

OLYMPIA Women boosted their title hopes when they recorded a 25-20 victory over rivals Great Dane in their latest National League clash at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London.

The fate of the match was close right down to the final couple of minutes, but Olympia maintained their composure and secured a victory which sees them go second in the table.

With several victories under their belts already over guest teams, it was Olympia’s first league win.

But they face another stiff test this Sunday when they take on leaders Ruislip Eagles who have won both their league matches so far. Also at Crystal Palace, Sunday’s match begins at 12noon.

Four goals from Ari Bekker helped Olympia to take a narrow 11-10 lead at half time, while Linda Bourkab scored three.

After the break Olympia found the net with increasing frequency, with Bekker adding another four to finish as the top scorer. Bourkab also doubled her goal tally to finish with six.

For Great Dane, Adela Jensouska scored five goals and Alexandra Garaloska and Delphine Moral both scored four, but it was not enough.

This Sunday’s Ruislip versus Olympia clash will see in-form Eagles player Telek - who has netted 16 goals in their two league games so far - line up opposite Bekker who scored eight on Sunday.

England Under-16 Trials in London

DO you dream of playing handball for England?

If you do, then a good place to start would be the England Under-16 trials being staged in London next weekend, February 12.

Applications to attend the trials at Bethnal Green Technology College must be sent by club secretaries or teachers to Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker by Monday, February 7.

To be eligible to take part in the trials you must register with the EHA on the form available from the EHA website, be school year 11 or below, hold a UK passport, play handball regularly and be of good standard, be reliable and self-reliant, and be willing to train independently to maintain and increase your fitness.

The trials begin with the girls from 10am-12noon, while the boys trials are from 1-3pm.

Players must arrive in good time to register and prepare.

Boys trials also took place in Cheshire last weekend where a good standard of handball was on display, but can the London area match their skills?

To download the application form, please go to EnglandHandball.com

English League: Transfer Deadline Looms

THE deadline for player transfers between English League clubs is 4pm on Friday, February 4.

Completed documentation, returned registration cards and the appropriate admin fee should be with the EHA by that time.

This affects players transferring between non-related clubs, but not players upgrading their membership from development league to Division One within the same club (i.e. moving up from second team to first team).

New registrations are still allowed for players not yet registered with any EHA-affiliated club this season.

Handball Takes off in Thanet

IT has been almost four years since schools in Thanet began to catch the handball bug, and there appears to be no stopping the growth of the sport!

The Thanet School Sport Partnership (TSSP) has been working hard with several other organisations to get the sport into schools, where it has proved so popular that many regular coaching sessions are now being staged across the town.

TSSP has received support from the Ursuline College as well as the Kent Handball Development Group and England Handball.

The main focus for the sport in Thanet is Dane Court, where the club meets each Wednesday. But as well as the regular sessions, there are several one-off events being staged to further the handball cause.

To find out more, please contact Dave Walton on 07788 150238.

Wed, Feb 9 - Taster Evening for year 3/4, 4-6pm
Wed, Feb 16 - Year 3/4 Handball Festival, 4-6pm
Mon, Feb 28 - Handball leadership and teacher training for Change4Life Schools, 9.30am-3pm
Tues, Mar 1 - Thanet Year 5/6 Handball Championship, 4-6pm
Wed, Mar 9 - Open entry Secondary School Handball Taster Festival

Future Stars on Show

SOME of the best Under-18 handball players in England will be on show this weekend when the Under-18 AASE League Championship play-offs are staged in Warrington.

Top handball action is guaranteed in the event at the Birchwood Sports and Leisure Centre on Brock Road, with the boys competition taking place on Saturday, Feb 5, from 9am-1pm.

And there is no let-up in the action, as the following day it is the turn of the girls to compete from 9am-noon.

The League is part of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, which looks set to provide the next generation of international handball stars.