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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Warrington shock Olympia in EHA Cup

Warrington Wolves pulled off a shock victory versus last year’s beaten finalists Olympia on Sunday to march on in the EHA Cup.

This feat was made all the more fantastic by the fact that their squad contained only 2 players over the age of 18 and that every player is home grown.

Warrington took the lead early on and never looked back, Olympia were no match for the pace and speed of Donna Hankinson fledgling squad lead by the ever improving speedy winger Lauren Wilkinson who contributed 4 fast break goals in the first half.

Charlotte Robinson dictating the play in her strongest performance for several years also contributed 4 goals before the break with Ari Bekker for Olympia matching her goal for goal. The score at half time was Warrington 11 Olympia 8.

Warrington steadied themselves for the Olympia rally. Olympia changed their defensive formation choosing to mark out powerful shooter Beth Wilbraham. Warrington also lost their steadying hand Charlotte Robinson early in the second half due to a serious back injury. With their other play maker out injured Ellie Whitehead had to take centre stage outside the comfort zone of her usual Wing position.

Olympia pushed hard but Warrington showed their hunger and desire playing the entire second half with an under 18s team to come out on top and although they missed several easy opportunities in the second half as they felt the pressure there defensive performance pulled them through conceding only 8 goals in each half. Man of the Match was Line player Emily Maddison who’s defensive performance was heroic with 5 blocked shots and countless last ditch tackles and hits keeping Olympia’s big shooters at bay.

Coach Hankinson said: “I am delighted, these girls are probably the hardest working players in the league, they travel from far and wide to train together and although they are still relative babies in terms of their handball education they know they are at the start of a journey.

“We work hard on defence and that was what pleased me the most, attack wins matches but defence wins titles, and although we’re a long way of beating the more experienced teams we have them on our radar.”

Salford March on in National League

Salford maintained their unbeaten run in the English National League’s Northern Section on Sunday but were made to work hard in the first half by a resurgent University of Manchester team.

Salford struggled in the first half and were two goals down at the start of the game. Salford made some changes and managed to steady the ship and take a narrow lead into the second half.

With first choice playmaker Ciaran Williams still out injured and on form pivot Stu Campbell tweaking his hamstring in training, Salford turned to their younger players and Ryan Goodwin (3 goals) and Steven Clarke (4 goals) both stepped up.

The second half saw an immediate response from the Salford team and they quickly stretched their lead to 18-10 and did enough to see the game off.

Coach Bill Baillie said after the game: “A win’s a win, and although we are not happy with the performance we are happy to take all three points. In the second half our 6:0 defence was solid and well marshalled by Rafik Tahraoui (pictured) and Matt Lee.”

Salford will now meet fourth-placed Deva on Tuesday 8:00pm, 7th Feb at Fit City Pendlebury and hope to maintain their unbeaten streak.

* Elsewhere, Deva and Nottingham University drew 31-31, while Leeds Hornets narrowly overcame Manchester 22-21.

Wolves Made to Work in Derby Clash

The always intense Liverpool derby between Liverpool Wolves and Speke took place last weekend at Greenbank Sports Academy in the City as the English National League’s northern section continued.

Liverpool Wolves were continuing their bid to reach the play-offs, while for Speke Garston this was all about rivalry and pride, as their play-off options are very distant.

The game started with two strong defences, marking the two high scorers in both teams, left half Perez for Speke and Nuno Carvalho for Liverpool.

The strong defences, combined with some good saves from both goalkeepers, helped to keep the score low. It wasn't a pretty handball game: The ball wasn't moving swiftly and all came down to one on ones.

This is when the young Wolves starting showing what they are made of. Liverpool Wolves played five Under-18 players who consistently scored. Brian Au from the wing, Callum McKenzie scoring some cracking goals from the right half, and Przemyslaw Trzeciecki creating screens for all of them. Liverpool Wolves managed to pull some extra breaks towards the end of the first half getting a four-goal lead at half time.

But Speke Garston weren't finished. A commendable fighting spirit and a superbly positioned defence helped them to erase the goal difference bit by bit and before anyone realised it, they were only one goal down with 15 minutes to go.

At that point Liverpool Wolves needed something to lift their spirits, and that came in the form of a superb double penalty save from young goalkeeper Bradders! Liverpool Wolves found their speed again and the day was culminated with a Kempa goal from Liam Welsby, all in his first ever appearance with Liverpool Wolves.

The final result was 27-21 to Liverpool Wolves. But Speke Garston never gave up, and this year have shown a great handball club spirit and brought new lads to the sport, giving them court time and doing a great job with young lads in the community.

Watch them when their lads get more experience next year!

Eagles Progress in EHA Cup

IN-FORM Ruislip Eagles beat Thames 26-21 in their EHA Cup clash at Leyton SCORE Centre on Sunday.

Level at 9-9 at half time, the Eagles edged clear in the second half but were made to work hard by a determined Thames side before taking the win.

Thames will now face Warrington Wolves in the Cup in a match that decides whether they will progress to the next round. Ruislip will play Warrington Wolves two weeks later, followed by matches involving the other teams, London GD and Olympia.

Top scorers in the match were Maria Kourdoulos with six goals followed by Live Kolstad Kvalsvik with five for Thames. For Ruislip, A. Slanto scored seven and C. Dreksler added six.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Avery Hits Form as Salford Win

LEADERS Salford cruised to a comfortable 35-12 victory over Leeds Hornets in the English National League’s northern section, to maintain their narrow advantage at the top of the table.

The game began in the usual manner for Salford as they quickly opened up a five-goal lead. However, some great goalkeeping from Lukasz Narel in the Leeds goal gave them a spur of hope and allowed the Yorkshire side to get back to within three at the quarter hour mark.

Alas though, that was the closest Leeds were to come. Salford's almost impenetrable defence allowed Leeds to score just one more goal by half time. In comparison Salford retained their rhythm scoring a further 7 to go in at half time ahead 13-4.

The second half was to be no better for Leeds. Salford's superior fitness combined with their strong defence just made life too difficult. Even when they did manage to get a shot on target Rob Avery in the Salford goal proved to be more than a match for it.

By the 50th minute Salford's lead had grown to 20 goals at 28:8. Although the Leeds goalkeeper was still making life difficult for Salford, who had to revert to a wide variety of creative shooting techniques to beat him. By full time though, the gulf between the two teams was evident for all to see with Salford notching up another victory by more than 20 goals at 35 goals to 12.

Notable performances on the day came from Lukasz Narel in the Leeds goal, despite the final scoreline.

From Salford Aden Woodall with 10 goals and 6 assists, Josh Hampson with 6 goals and Ryan Goodwin with 5 goals and 4 blocks were the notable court players. And with a 62 per cent save rate, plaudits also must go to Rob Avery in the Salford goal.

Eagles Maintain Good Form

AFTER beating London GD the previous week, Ruislip Eagles maintained their great form when they battled back from a half-time deficit to overcome Olympia 30-24.

Olympia were the only team to beat the Eagles the previous year, so Ruislip were eager to defend top spot in the table.

They made a slow start and Olympia led throughout the first half. They extended their lead to four goals on a number of occasions, but Ruislip managed to strike back thanks to Nguelo and Laperdrix.

The end of the first half saw us closing the gap thanks to Messis who scored four goals in a row and also goalkeeper Bauer who saved many shots at critical moments.

The second half started with better teamwork as Ruislip managed to pull level with their opponents just three minutes after the beginning and eventually taking the lead thanks to Cros who went on to score five goals in the second half.

The Eagles started to play with fluent movements and nice attacking tactics, allowing them to take a five-goal lead with 10 minutes left on the clock. However, a few attacking mistakes and fast-breaks from the opponents saw our advance being reduced to two goals with five minutes left and a man down for two-minute penalty.

Olympia decided to change their defence in order to put more pressure on our attacking scheme but as we had many fresh substitutes they managed to score even more and the goal difference went back to six. With a goal at the buzzer from our goalkeeper Rinkevicius, the final score was 30 - 24.

Their victory means Ruislip Eagles have qualified for the play-offs, but with two games left against London GD and Oxford University, they will want to maintain their good form and give themselves a head-start in the play-offs.

* In other matches in the Southern Section, London GD beat Cambridge 40-29, while Oxford University beat Bath University 35-27.

Manchester back to Winning Ways

FOLLOWING the previous week’s disappointing result where they lost out to Nottingham University, Manchester returned to winning ways against Liverpool Speke Garston and won 27-17.

During the first period both defences working hard, scoring kept at a minimum. Speke’s Campillo shooting was wayward as shot after shot missed resulting in Manchester pulling away during the half.

Numerous chances and went begging and the Liverpool Speke Garston team struggled to produce the goals to keep up with an efficient Manchester team, going in half time down at 15-9 in Manchester’s favour.

The second half was more entertaining, Manchester struggled slightly as the Liverpool Speke Garston pressed hard during the half. But once again poor handling came back to haunt the Liverpool Speke Garston team as fast break after fast break broke down and Manchester capitalising to run out 27-17 deserved winners.

In other action in the Northern Section, Deva won 30-21 against University of Manchester.

Wolves Devour Students

LIVERPOOL Wolves notched up an emphatic 31-16 victory over Nottingham University on Sunday to maintain their hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs.

Liverpool Wolves came to this match with a point to prove after ending a four-year losing streak against Manchester the previous week. But could they maintain their form and pose themselves as a likely play-off candidate? Nottingham was expected to be a tough rival, having won both matches against Liverpool last year.

The match started very positively for Liverpool. The 5:1 defence that worked so well against Manchester caused Nottingham endless trouble, giving Liverpool an early 6-1 lead.

Through the first half, Nottingham came back eventually into the game and cut the distance down to just 2 goals. At that point, several good defensive actions gave Liverpool Wolves quick breaks, with goals coming from both wingers, Brian Au and Michael Irving.

To top everything up, Nuno Carvalho's shooting from outside the nine-metre line kept opening Nottingham's defence, and the result at half time was a 10-goal lead for Liverpool.

The second half was a similar story. Nottingham showed signs of a reaction at the beginning of it, but eventually the distance in the score took its toll, and Liverpool Wolves gave themselves a morale boost with just four more games to go.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ruislip Eagles Battle to Win over London GD

RUISLIP Eagles climbed to the top of the English National League’s southern section after securing a nail-biting one-point victory over reigning champions London GD at Leyton on Sunday.

The match was close throughout, but the Eagles emerged 24-23 winners after a late fast break goal from Ludovic Cros.

Ruislip made a slow start against the London GD, who raced into a 8:2 lead after a few minutes. The Eagles had to endure the unfortunate injury of key player Akos Weress and suffered too many missed shots and turnovers, which were instantly punished by their opponents.

However the Eagles managed to stay calm and composed by regrouping in defence with the entrance of the goalie Andrius Rinkevicius. With a few fast breaks - and David Sedlacek scoring seven-metre shots - Ruislip were able to crawl back and were down by two goals at half time (11-13).

With a positive half time speech the Eagles came back on court with a more aggressive defence who troubled GD. Important goals from Sedlacek, Lucas and seven-metre shots from Erwann Laperdrix allow Ruislip to take the lead, but the rollercoaster continued until the closing stages of the game.

Some clear chances that could have given some breathing space were not converted though and battling GD refused to lie down and always scored when they needed. Both teams were made to work hard until the end but on a fast break Ludovic Cros scored the crucial winning goal.

In other action in the southern section, Cambridge drew 21-21 with Olympia. For Cambridge, Zsolt Majoras scored six, while Mohamed El Hawary and Toufik Hadadou both scored the same number for Olympia.

In the Women’s National League, six goals from Prescyllia Engala helped London GD cruise to a 13-27 victory over Thames.

* In the northern section, fifth-placed Deva’s expectations of moving into the top four were shattered when they lost out to Speke Garston following a resolute determined performance form the Liverpool team.

Defences were tight in the opening ten minutes, but Liverpool Speke Garston were in front at 4-3. Strong defensive work curbed a Deva attack which could not find a way through the home team’s defence, the score at half time 13-6 to Liverpool Speke Garston.

Regrouping at half time, Deva came out fighting and matched the home side goal for goal during the second period and gradually chipped away at the goal difference once again with both defences strong.

With ten minutes to go both teams incurred a series of time suspensions that disrupted both teams, particularly Liverpool Speke Garston, who went down to four men on court. Deva capitalised and closed the deficit to three goals. But in the end the damage done in the first half was too much for Deva and the home side ran out winners at 31-28. It was a well deserved first victory of the season for the Liverpool Speke Garston team.

Elsewhere in the northern section, Nottingham and Manchester drew 18-18, while University of Manchester beat Leeds Hornets 29-25.

Free Coaching Available in Newham

NEWHAM Flames Handball Club in London is offering newcomers the chance to try out the sport at a series of free coaching sessions.

Working in partnership with England Handball, the club’s coaches are delivering energetic and enjoyable sessions for all abilities until the middle of March.

For details, please contact nf.coach@hotmail.co.uk or call 07530 917146.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Top Battles as English League Resumes

THE English National League resumes this weekend with some mouth-watering clashes due to take place in both the North and South.

At Leyton Score Centre in London on Sunday, London GD will play Oxford University and could go top of the Southern Section if they win, with current table-toppers Ruislip Eagles not in action this weekend.

And following that match at 12noon, Cambridge and Olympia will do battle at 2pm with Cambridge eager to take victory and climb off the bottom of the table.

And the final match of the day at Leyton sees Thames and London GD do battle in the Women’s First Division at 4pm.

The Northern Section resumes on Sunday with a four-match marathon at the Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool.

Table-topping Salford take on third-placed Liverpool Wolves in the opening match at 9.30am, and that will be followed by a clash at 11.30am between second-placed Manchester and Nottingham University.

Chester-based Deva play Liverpool Speke Garston next, and the final match pits Leeds Hornets against the University of Manchester.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

England U18 Men Preparing for Europe

ENGLAND Under-18 men continued their preparations for the forthcoming European qualifiers with a successful training camp in Germany last month.

The team won all three matches during the camp, and with the Euro Qualifiers now only three months away the squad are constantly raising the bar things are looking good for 2012.

Head Coach Scott Harrington said: “Preparation is well underway and the lads have been showing good progress so far. This was the first time we came here with expectations for on court as well as off, so it was a big test for them.

“We did what we came to do, and now we can tick that box and raise the bar again as we look to climb the ladder to the next level. We cannot afford to let up now, and the squad need to utilise the time they have left to be where they need to be, come March.”

And playmaker Ryan Goodwin added: “We can all see just how far we have come since September. We’ve gone from putting in positive performances and coming out with nothing, to putting in a decent performances and getting the result we are after.”

Next up for the U18 squad will be another European camp in February, this time to Denmark where they have matches scheduled against three of the best youth teams in the country.

The squad also hope to secure matches against two other European nations in the lead up to the qualifiers, which will provide more vital experience.