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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.

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