Great weekend in Varna

Cambridge Handball Club made their way to Bulgaria last weekend to take on Lokomotiv Varna in the 3rd round of the EHF Challenge Cup, representing GBR in Europe for the second time after 2014/2015 . This year Lokomotiv Varna agreed to host both matches, so we were welcomed at the seaside resort at the Black Sea by our gracious hosts on Friday, set up in our hotel and had our final training in the Kamicha sport complex. 

The first match on Saturday truly showed the Olympic legacy in GBR as our scoring was opened with 2 beautiful goals from Tobias Barber, one of 4 players in the squad who had picked up handball after watching it at London 2012. While Cambridge could hold their own for the opening minutes, by 10min into the game Varna has started to pull away despite a valiant effort on our side, and the half-time deficit was 7-19. Vowing to regroup and do better, the team came out of the changing room determined to show what we can do, and that we did, only losing the second half by 2 goals finishing the first match 22-36. Encouraged by the improved performance in the 2nd half, the team started the 2nd match on Sunday highly motivated and this time managed to keep the score tight until 20minutes in (10-9 for Varna at this point). Having lost two of our back players to injuries, we started to flag a little and by half time, Varna’s lead had increased to 18-12. Nevertheless Cambridge never gave up and kept fighting until the end, to a respectable 40-25. This time, especially Florian Stroehl was on fire, scoring 12 goals alone! Sunday night we celebrated our  amazing weekend with a lovely dinner with our hosts, followed by a night out. It is safe to say that despite the clear defeats, everyone had a great time and was proud to represent GBR in international competition, and it only remains to thank Varna for the great hospitality and sportsmanship they displayed throughout the whole weekend and wish them good luck for the next round.

 

 

 

 

Team ready for Challenge Cup encounter against Lokomotiv Varna

The team has arrived in Varna, Bulgaria and greeted by our generous hosts at the airport. We are now all set up for tomorrow’s match, having trained at the venue and going over last minute details of the upcoming match. 

We will take on the top of the league Bulgarian team at 5pm local time (=3pm UK time) and there will be a youtube stream available of the game, we will publish the link here and on our Facebook page as soon as we have it.

You can find our line-up and later results here.
trainingpic

Less than 24h to go now!

Cambridge HC vs HC Lokomotiv Varna

Disappointing results against West London Eagles a week before EHF Challenge Cup in Bulgaria

This weekend was an important one for Cambridge Handball Club, as all three teams faced their West London Eagles HC counterparts: there were two top-of-the-table clashes, as the men looked to go into next week’s European Challenge Cup match on the back of a win.

 

Cambridge Men’s II opened proceedings, looking to secure their first win of a frustrating season. Cambridge started the match uncharacteristically alert, moving the ball well and soon began to exploit gaps in the Eagles’ defence, and entered half-time 15-11 up, thanks to a number of goals from the back-court, largely from centre-player Nicolas Martin. Eagles, however, returned from the break invigorated, and soon began to draw the tie level, at one point pulling into a one-goal lead. Cambridge had begun to panic – their first half patience had all but disappeared, as Cambridge took half-chances instead of waiting for better ones to appear. As coach, Agnes Föglein, called for calm, the attack settled and the defence solidified, helped by another strong performance by goalkeeper Graham Jack, and the match moved towards a tense finish. Cambridge were able to hold out, finishing the match 25-24 winners.

 

The women’s team took to the court next: still in their debut season in the top league, every match was to prove a challenge, although their results so far proved they were up to it. Both teams exchanged goals in an even opening few minutes, but soon, West London’s Eagles hit without reply, as Cambridge suffered several early two-minute suspensions. Cambridge did regroup, particularly in the second half, and kept the deficit close, with Grete Morkvenaite scoring 13 among others. However, the Eagles’ lead was to prove insurmountable, and they went on to take the match 31-27.

 

It fell to the men’s team to brighten spirits, who went into the day as national Super 8 table-toppers. With a full bench, and several key players returning from injury, the team were optimistic – but Eagles demonstrated from the very start that they were worthy opposition. It was the West London Eagles that pulled into an early lead, with a competent back-court performance that the Cambridge defence struggled to contain, going into the half time break 19-13 down. Try as they might, goals from Florian Ströhl and Alejandro Garcos were not enough to swing the match in their favour, with every Cambridge goal instantly replied to with an Eagles goal. The team will go to Europe this weekend at full-strength, but looking for a better performance to defeat their Bulgarian hosts.

Cup draw – 1st round bye for men’s team, women’s facing London GD

Today the draw for the EHA National Cup was released, and our men’s team has been given a bye for the first round, entering the competition only in the second round to host the winner of the Deva/Islington clash.

Our women’s team has been drawn away against London GD for the first round, facing a strong opponent in the early stages already.

The full draw can be found below, and dates will be confirmed in due course:

 

Women’s

Round 1 :

  1. West London Eagles v BYE
  2. Peninsula v Poole
  3. Loughborough v BYE
  4. Olympia v BYE
  5. Coventry v BYE
  6. NEM Hawks v BYE
  7. London GD v Cambridge
  8. London Angels v BYE

 

Round 2 / Quarter Final: 

  1. Match 2 v Olympia
  2. Coventry v Loughborough
  3. London Angels v Match 7
  4. West London Eagles v NEM Hawks

 

Semi Final: 22nd / 23rd April

 

Final: Saturday 20th May

 

Men

 

Round 1

  1. Cambridge v BYE
  2. West London v Nottingham
  3. Carshalton v BYE
  4. Loughborough v BYE
  5. Brighton v BYE
  6. Olympia v BYE
  7. Warrington v Bolton
  8. Southampton v BYE
  9. Poole v Oxford
  10. Coventry v BYE
  11. London GD v BYE
  12. Liverpool v NEM Hawks
  13. Cranfield v BYE
  14. Oly Cats v BYE
  15. Deva v Islington
  16. Manchester v BYE

 

Round 2 

  1. Cambridge v Match 15
  2. Match 7 v Olympia
  3. Match 2 v Cranfield
  4. Carshalton v Manchester
  5. Oly Cats v Match 9
  6. Loughborough v London GD
  7. Match 12 v Brighton
  8. Southampton v Coventry

 

Quarter Final: 4th / 5th March

 

Semi Final: 22nd / 23rd April

 

Final: Saturday 20th May

 

 

Links broken

Unfortunately, some of our links on the website are currently broken. When you click on a specific match day, it brings you to an error message, saying the page is not found, as the plugin handling the fixtures is using faulty links. i.e. if you click on the Coventry fixtures, it takes you to

http://www.cambridgehandball.com/event/2030/

instead of the correct page under the address

http://www.cambridgehandball.com/blog/event/2030/

 

While we cannot manually fix this problem, you can simply enter the missing /blog section into the address and still see the relevant pages. We are hoping to resolve this problem as soon as possible.

Mixed results against Olympia HC

All three senior teams took to the court this weekend, as Cambridge Handball Club faced their counterparts from Olympia HC, at the Score Centre, Leyton. First up were Cambridge Men’s second team, looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat the previous week. Unusually, the first ten minutes saw very few goals, despite two penalty awards for Olympia, with Cambridge breaking their duck 11 minutes in. Both teams found their scoring form, whilst the encounter remained tight throughout, with Cambridge entering the half-time break 12-11 up. Cambridge, however, struggled to contain the strong attacking threat from Olympia half-backs throughout, and despite many goals from right-wing Toby Barber, could not do enough to keep Olympia at bay, eventually losing 28-25. 

Next saw the second match of the season for Cambridge’s womens team; still new to the league, the quality of the opposition was to prove a difficult challenge. It took both teams some time to get on the score sheet, but eventually the goals began to trickle in. Olympia put up a strong defence, and managed to cancel out the threat from Cambridge’s attacking pivot which proved so fruitful in their first match. Cambridge, however, showed they had more in their attacking arsenal, creating opportunities from the back-court, with goals from Laura Broutier and Niki Rau leading the charge. In the end it was not enough, however, with Cambridge losing 19-15. 

olympiacamws7

It therefore fell to the Men’s first team to brighten spirits within the club. A sizeable crowd had now assembled, who saw both teams start frantically – Cambridge were looking to beat Olympia HC for the first time since 2013. Ten minutes and several counter-attacks in, the game began to settle, with both teams now working carefully in attack. If not for a superb performance from goalkeeper Pierre Larraufie, Cambridge may have found themselves several goals behind, but instead went into the half-time break 14-13 up. A tense second half followed, and as Olympia looked to nullify Cambridge’s strong back-court lineup , Cambridge created goals from the wings instead. With only minutes to go, both teams stood level, but a well organised Cambridge team battled hard, winning the match 35-32. Both the men’s and women’s teams travel to Manchester in two weeks time to face NEM Hawks HC. 

Strong start of the adult season against London GD

The first matchday of the season was against London GD, and the teams started strongly! The 2nd men’s team drew 21-21 in a nailbiting opener against London GD 2, equalising with a last second penalty. The women’s first Super7 game against reigning champions London GD was a close affair with just one goal in it with 5 minutes to spare, but unfortunately the girls run out 22-25 losers. However, the 1st men’s team topped of the days performance, by winning against reigning men’s champions London GD, marking the 3rd unbeaten match against them in a row. The only sad point is that Pepe sustained a serious injury of his ankle, we wish him a quick recovery!

Pictures of the day taken by London GD can be found here:
GD vs Cambridge

 

Next weekend both men’s teams are again in action, the S8 team against Warrington in Manchester, and the 2nd team against Thames in London. The women are only back in action the following weekend on the triple header against Olympia HC.

U18 girls team start their season with a win!

The season was opened this year with an U18 tournament for our newly formed girls team, who took the field in Stoke Mandeville on Sunday in the U18 Southern League.

The first opponents were London Lions HC and through some nice interplay, we went into an early lead of 4-1. However, this wasn’t quite enough to calm the nerves, and after some rushed attacks with unnecessarily lost balls and goal chances missed, the London Lions managed to equalise at 4-4. However, our team picked themselves up and started to create more chances now, regaining the lead to go ahead by 8-7 at half time. We continued where we left of in the second half and in the end recorded the first win in the first match for our U18 team at 13-10.

The second match against Coventry Sharkbite turned out to be more difficult. While our team mainly consists of 14-16 year old players, their team was clearly more mature and aggressive in defence from the throw off. They quickly gained a lead, capitalising on our missed chances by running fast breaks, or using their superiors physicality to break through our somewhat tentative defence. Our girls were fighting until the end, but to no avail as Coventry run out winners 14-4. Somewhat unnecessarily, the opponents didn’t let up on their very physical defence even after the game was clearly won, which mean that a few of our girls got regularly “bulldozed” whenever they had the ball, despite being 20kg lighter than their opponents. We chalk this down as a learning experience, realising we will have to be faster and saver in ball handling to stand a chance against such teams in the future, but overall the first match day provided plenty of reason for optimism and we are looking forward to the next one, which will be in Cranfield on the 16th October.

Meanwhile, there will be the County U16 championship in which our girls and boys teams are participating on the 9.October and we are hoping for similarly positive experiences there.

Keep in mind that we are always happy to welcome new players, so if it sounds like something you might enjoy, get in touch.

Trainings restarting!

This week we are starting up again our Wednesday trainings (6-7pm junior U16, 7-8pm adults development training) in Chesterton, and next week we will have our first ever trainings in Trumpington on Monday, 6.30-8pm U18s, and 8-10pm adults training. We are looking forward to new and returning players in both sessions! More info on trainings, venues etc can be found here.