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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.

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