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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