Not the best start to the year…

It was the first game of the calendar year for all three of Cambridge handball’s senior clubs, and all three were keen to see it off to a winning start against their opponents, London GD, in London’s Copper Box Arena. Cambridge Men’s II team opened proceedings; in September’s reverse fixture, Cambridge seconds had equalised with virtually the last throw of the game, but were hoping to win this one. The team fielded an attack-minded 5-1 defensive formation, but were unable to disrupt the GD attack, who led by 3 goals, ten minutes in. Cambridge, however, remained calm and played the ball around, which eventually began to pay dividends, with half-backs and line players leading the scoring into the half-time break, with Cambridge leading by one, Ill-discipline and some wayward shooting, however, meant that Cambridge were never able to pull into a convincing lead over GD, and with minutes to go, the teams were level. GD would go on to win the tie by three, a tie that Cambridge should have put to bed much earlier in the game.

The men’s first team followed shortly – in previous years, London GD had always been Super 8 title contenders, and as ever this was to be a hard-fought match. The opening six minutes of the tie were tight, with Cambridge not conceding a goal, and scoring a couple of their own. The tie then opened up, with both teams trading goals, but with Cambridge maintaining a lead throughout. GD fought hard for a comeback, as Cambridge failed to nullify a dynamic GD attack, and with a minute to go, conceded to draw the match level. As play restarted, Cambridge agonisingly hit the post, and so the match finished a draw. Before the match, Cambridge would have wanted a win from this tie, and were certainly disappointed to have not taken points from a game which they led for large parts of.

Finally, the Women’s team took to the field. Cambridge had now been in the top-level Super 7 league for half a season and had an appreciation of the ability of the teams they faced. London GD showed their aptitude from the outset, with a particularly strong left-wing. Not to be outdone, Cambridge attacked well with several fast-break attacks, and goals from the pivot-position. Cambridge went into half-time 5 goals down, but certainly not out of the tie. However, despite some good saves from Kati Retfalvi, and goals from all positions, GD’s attack proved too potent – and even though Cambridge managed to bring it back to within 1 goal 10 minutes before the end, eventually GD took the tie by 3 goals. Overall, a disappointing day for all teams, who will look to secure their lead earlier in future.