On the last weekend of March the BUCS Handball Championships finally returned their full format following a 2-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The competition was held in Kent, at Medway Park Sports Centre from Friday 25
March until Sunday 27. The weekend was an overall success for the University of Nottingham Handball Club with the men's first team bringing home a national second place finish.
Over the three-day tournament, the men's first and second teams, and the women's team played a total of 16 games collectively. For the women's team, most of the players only started playing handball at the start of the 21/22 season, but despite this, they went toe to toe with some of the best university handball teams in the country including the two eventual finalists, Glasgow and Loughborough, with no fear whatsoever. This resulted in them finishing ninth in the country after beating Imperial 13-10 in their playoff game! Special mentions go to Dagmar Fredborg who played brilliantly all weekend long, and to Carrie Young who was voted as MVP by her teammates after only joining the club in February 2022.
The men's second team endured a difficult start to their competition after losing their first 3 group games, however they used Friday night as a chance to gather themselves and came back stronger for their last 3 games of the competition, of which they won 2 against Brunel's second team and York. There were some standout performances from Max Skene and Ali Jandal, with the former being voted as the team MVP. Both were able to make differences at each end of the court with Max scoring goals, and Ali preventing them at the other end. This helped them to a well-deserved ninth place finish in the Shield competition.
The best result of the weekend came from the men's first team. Following months of hard work in training, they arrived at the competition with high ambitions and confidence that they could go all the way. On the first day of the competition, they faced off against Cambridge and Imperial, two teams who had defeated them in the previous year's competition. Both games were tough, but eventually the team ran out 12-9 and 15-11 winners against Cambridge and Imperial respectively. Day 2 would be another tough day, with fixtures against Edinburgh and Loughborough. Following a tight 7-6 victory against Edinburgh and other results going in their favour, our players knew that they were guaranteed top of the group without even having to beat Loughborough. However, they were more determined than ever to win as a victory against Loughborough would also knock them out of the tournament. After initially going down by 2 goals, they fought back in a very intense and heavily spectated game to win 15-10 and beat Loughborough in a competition for the first time ever! This set up a semi final clash against Oxford in which they ultimately won 8-7 to book a place in the final, and the opponents awaiting in the final were familiar as Imperial had defeated UCL in the other semi final. The team went into the final knowing that they were able to beat their opponent which filled them with a lot of confidence. The game was very hard fought and intense but unfortunately, it was Imperial who prevailed on this occasion with a 13-8 victory. The #GreenandGold gave everything on court over the course of the weekend but unfortunately it wasn't to be, still coming away with a very well deserved silver medal. Veron Medic, Birk Hovland-Sunde and Nathaniel Willmore deserve lots of recognition for their brilliant displays over the course of the competition. Veron was too difficult for many defences to handle, scoring an array of goals of which many were assisted by Birk who also made life difficult for the opposition. At the other end Nathaniel was on fire, making many game-winning saves, most notably against Edinburgh and Oxford.
Speaking about the event, the University of Nottingham Handball Club's President, Charlie Clifford told us that “this year’s BUCS handball competition was by far the most memorable for me as I finally got to take a medal home in my 4th and final year. As a player, every single one of my teammates was brilliant, and we would not have been able to do this without each and every one of them. But as President, I am so happy that I got to spend my final year with these 3 teams. Seeing them develop and improve and most importantly enjoy the game of handball made all of the hard work across the year worthwhile!”
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Posted on Tuesday 5th April 2022