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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Champions beat rivals Ruislip

REIGNING English National League champions London GD are just one win away from securing the southern section title after beating rivals Ruislip Eagles 33-23 at Leyton SCORE Centre in London on Sunday.

The Eagles beat them by one point back in January, but London GD secured a revenge victory which leaves them in a strong position heading into the end of season play-offs.

Ruislip were looking to record a fourth straight win and remain undefeated in 2012, but did not have the means to stop London GD despite the return of some key players.

The first half was hotly-contested, and although London GD were ahead for most of the half the Eagles were not outdistanced and had opportunities to hit back (HT: 15-12).

However, after the break the Eagles lost concentration and were punished. They didn’t pose a threat in attack and wasted fast breaks, and Goalkeeper Reda Sebbatta was on top form for London GD stopping several seven-metre throws.

London GD increased the gap easily as the all-important discipline and team unit in defence was lacking on the Eagles side. The gap rose to double digits at the final whistle (33-23).

In other action in the southern section, Cambridge and Oxford University drew 22-22.

Oxford were just ahead by one goal at the break, and the match remained close throughout.

Seco scored six times for Cambridge, while Oxford’s best was Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr with five.

This final match in the southern section will be between London GD and Oxford University on February 23 (8pm), following which the play-offs will begin on February 26.

* And in the Women’s National League, London GD beat Warrington Wolves 24-13.

12th consecutive victory for Salford

EIGHT goals from Jack Hennessy (pictured) helped Salford beat Manchester 31-14 on Sunday, a 12th consecutive league victory this season for the table-topping outfit.

With two games left Salford have secured the northern section, while Manchester and Leeds Hornets will join them in the end of season play-offs.

Leeds secured their spot in the 20-27 victory over Nottingham University, while they were helped by a six-point deduction imposed on Liverpool Wolves for playing an unregistered player.

That deduction is currently being appealed, as it is crucial to the make-up of the play-offs.

In other action on Sunday, Liverpool beat Deva 26-17, and University of Manchester beat Liverpool Speke Garston 32-24.

University Championships This Weekend

THE 2012 British University Handball Championships takes place this weekend, with dozens of teams from across the country coming to Manchester to do battle.

The two-day event takes place at Sugden Sports Centre, with some of the matches also being played at the nearby Energy Box and Belle Vue.

Saturday’s games begin at 9am and go right through to 6.30pm, while Sunday sees handball action from 9-5pm.

The teams are split into five male groups and four female groups, with group matches on Saturday and Sunday morning, before the knockout stages on Sunday.

For more details, please go to www.abuhc.com

Young British team invited to enter Cell Cup

YOUNG handball teams from across Britain are being invited to attend one of the biggest handball tournaments in the world – the Cell Cup in Hungary.

The 2012 event is the 16th such tournament, and is being staged in Veszprem, Hungary, from August 13-19.

British teams have attended in the past and benefitted hugely from the experience.

More details can be found on the tournament website – www.cellcup.hu

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salford Crowned Northern Champions

Salford Handball Club secured the northern league title for the second time in successive seasons with an emphatic 43-14 win over Deva at Pendlebury on Tuesday night.

In their first meeting Deva played the plucky underdogs to run Salford to a closer scoreline than many other more experienced teams in the north. However, Salford clearly weren't going to let that happen again and were well prepared for the return clash.

Such preparation being evident in the final score, with Salford winning the game by a massive 29 goals at 43-14.

From the start of the game the writing was on the wall for Deva. After 10 minutes of play Salford had already scored eight goals with Deva only managing to score one in return.

Once again Salford's defence was to be their biggest asset, making it extremely difficult for the Deva attack to formulate any organised routine. Three late goals in the first half did at least allow Deva to go in at half time only 12 goals down at 20-8.

The second half offered no let up for the Cheshire side. With 10 minutes gone into the half Deva still hadn't managed to increase their half time tally, such was the dominance of the Salford defence.

In the same period Salford had notched up another 9 goals and there was no sign of any let up for Deva either. It was only a strong performance from Tom Robertson in the Deva goal that gave some resistance to the Salford onslaught. Even that though wasn't enough to stop Salford notching up their biggest win of the season so far.

Top goalscorers for the game from Salford were Aden Woodall (pictured), Stuart Latchford and Ste Clarke, all with six goals each. For Deva, Ben Tyler scored five and Ste Jameson three.

Salford coach Bill Baillie said at the end of the game: "The result tonight was tantamount to all the hard work the players have put in from July last year.

“This victory was well deserved, but it’s the continued level of performance and dedication that has been put in since pre-season training last year that has been most impressive. Whilst the title for the north is now secure, there's no time to let up and relax.

“We need to keep momentum and concentration for our remaining games to put us in the best possible position for the playoffs to come. We need to make sure were keep our eye on the bigger picture and our longer term objectives."

Eagles Beat Oxford to Maintain Title Hopes

Table-topping Ruislip Eagles secured a 37-25 win over Oxford on Sunday as their bid for the English National League’s southern title continued.

The match had all the attributes of a trap for the Eagles. The weather and driving conditions to reach Northampton where the game took place were difficult, and a few key missing players could have proven detrimental for a game that Oxford badly needed to win to boost their chances of qualifying for the play offs.

However, Ruislip players were ready to make the efforts and showed it right at the start of the game. Defence was solid despite Oxford scoring a few strong nine-metre goals, and attacking movements were played with good confidence.

Despite a man-marking defence on Ruislip playmaker Max Rebelle, the Eagles increased the tempo and Oxford could not stop the likes of in-form Fredrik Charpentier and Xavier Burin (top scorer for the Eagles with 7 goals). Andrius Rinkevicius produced several saves and could find Yohann Lucas for the fast breaks allowing Ruislip to reach halftime with a 5 goal lead (18-13).

The Eagles kept the same commanding attitude in second half making the efforts in the defensive moves symbolized by a great defensive retreat from Azzedine Messis that lifted the spirit of the players. Ruislip could then seize every Oxford attacking mistakes to punish them with several fast break goals which meant a comfortable 12-goal lead at the end of the game.

In other action, reigning champions London GD scraped a narrow 32-31 win over Cambridge.

This Sunday, Ruislip and London GD will play each other at Leyton SCORE Centre in a battle to decide who wins the southern section.

Play-off Hopes on Hold for Wolves

LIVERPOOL Wolves’ hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs will have to be put on hold for another week after they were beaten 25-20 by Leeds Hornets in the National League Northern Section on Sunday.

Both teams kept scoring at the beginning of the match. This wasn't Liverpool Wolves’ plan, who were hoping their previously successful 5:1 defence would bear better results than that.

However, both left half and left winger from Leeds, polish players Ivojciech Bienias and Marcin Cwik proved too difficult to mark for the young Liverpool defence and kept scoring throughout the half with not much opposition.

On the other side of the court, Liverpool Wolves struggled with an old enemy of theirs: missing clear shots on the goal. Both Leeds goalkeepers excelled in the game and stopped Liverpool Wolves from being able to keep up with Leeds scoring run.

Towards the end of the half, Liverpool Wolves switched to a deep defence marking the top Leeds players, and that halted Leeds attack. Unfortunately, sometimes due to an aggressive Leeds defence and sometimes due to their own fault, the Wolves kept missing shots and the goal difference remained three-up for Leeds at half time.

The second half started as the previous one finished. Liverpool Wolves kept marking Leeds’ two best players. Things were not going to get better for Leeds unless the other players in the court stepped up to the occasion and were able to be dangerous and score goals. And so they did.

Kami Katebi and Danial Skuza kept moving without the ball to achieve penetrations against a sometimes paralysed back defence from Liverpool. Leeds kept finding gaps, and so the distance between the teams grew bigger, as Liverpool's attack didn't get much better, with missing shots from almost every position, including line, wing, half, centre and even penalties!

Mid-way through the second half the Leeds players started to get tired and their aggressive defence became sometimes too dangerous. The referees started giving them two minutes with 10 minutes to finish the game, but Liverpool only managed to cut the goal difference by three and the final score was a victory for Leeds: 20-25.

This victory leaves the table very open in the fight for the third place for the play offs. Deva, with three matches to go, and Leeds and Liverpool Wolves, with two each, can all still go through if they win their remaining games.

Nottingham Play-off Hopes Suffer

Nottingham’s hopes of making the play-offs suffered a blow at the weekend when they lost out 35-29 to Liverpool Speke Garston who continue to improve in the National League’s Northern Section.

Dominating the game from the start, they soon established a lead over the free-scoring Nottingham team who appeared shell shocked by Liverpool’s tenacity which helped them lead 13-7 at the break.
The second half turned out to be entertaining as Nottingham closed the score to go ahead mid-way through the second half due to series of poor shooting opportunities not converted by the home team.

However the last ten minutes proved decisive and the Liverpool Speke Garston team defence overwhelmed the Nottingham attack and Speke ran out winners at 35-29.