Kev’s Report

Romania.

Cold, and quiet except for the rumble of suitcase wheels on the pavement. It was coming up to 5am on a Friday morning as we all prepared to make our way to the airport.  It was to be the clubs first appearance in European competition since its formation in 2000.

The excitement was there if not being shown due to the early start. Once we met at the airport it really started to dawn that this was happening, the squad all in our new tracksuits all smiles and ready for the challenge.

We arrived at the tiny airport in Transylvania to be greeted by our host’s representative, she set the tone for the weekend as whomever we encountered left us feeling very welcome.  We would arrive in the town a couple of hours later after a really easy journey to check into the comfortable hotel where we would be staying for the duration of the trip.

After a short walk around the quiet town we were staying in we would have training in the evening. It was a chance to familiarise ourselves with the match venue before the crowds would arrive on the first match day. The hall was brilliant! We had a two hour session to get the travel out of our legs and get one last session in before our first European match. As we left there was a great buzz in the squad who were all looking forward to Saturday.

The day of the first match came and went by so fast. The throw off was late afternoon but within no time we were making our way to the venue, only a short walk away. The stands started to fill, the cameras were in place and Cambridge were about to make their European debut. The 1500 strong crowd were brilliant the atmosphere incredible. The home team ran out comfortable winners but Cambridge could be proud to have given a good account of themselves and British amateur handball. The team never gave up and the crowd clearly appreciated this. The squad were in buoyant mood and continued to be enthusiastic even in defeat. There would be another chance tomorrow.

We would receive messages from our friends and family who had been watching the live stream at their home. Everyone was left feeling proud of what the club had achieved so far. We wanted to give it another shot and try to improve our goal scoring and not let our defence slip.

We maybe got ahead of ourselves and celebrated our achievement a little early, there was still another match to play the following evening after all. After some stern words and a productive team talk we would again prepare for the evenings match.

Match two was here and we were ready. We took the lead! Cambridge were winning a European tie! Even if it lasted a few moment it felt good! We achieved our goal of getting more than 20 goals against a professional team and didn’t let in an embarrassing amount to the opposition. At the final whistle we could really celebrate the success we achieved and were applauded by the home fans as we made a lap of appreciation to thank them for their support. The crowd turned out both days and never stopped their vocal support for their club, they even chanted for Cambridge on a couple of occasion.

We had done it, a little amateur club taking on a professional European team with internationals in their ranks. The difference in class was evident but we never gave up and can be hold our heads high knowing we gave it a shot.

If we can transfer the spirit and fight from this adventure we can get into Europe again and even challenge for the league title. The club has it in them to play well and fight for each other it’s now a case of taking this experience into every game. We want to do this again!