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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.